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ARSCLIST  October 2012

ARSCLIST October 2012

Subject:

Re: Reducing crackle from 78 rpm records the analogue way on 70's reissue LP's

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 2 Oct 2012 06:39:49 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Hi Ted:

I think both optimal source and excellent playback are only "givens" among the best engineers, and 
it's always been thus. MANY if not MOST CDs made from disk source sound TERRIBLE. The ones that 
sound good stand out like the gems that they are.

That said, I will say that, generally, the WORST use of junky sources, poor playback and 
heavy-handed/tin-eared digital messing is with the gray-market "reissues" of stuff from LP source. 
These terrible things, not worth owning (track down a good copy of the original LP, or borrow one 
and make your own digital transfer), tend to originate from the Spanish and nearby jazz "reissuers." 
They also sometimes originate in England. They also plague the "golden era" classical material, 
because the major labels keep so much material out of print as to drive demand for interior "dubs" 
of scratched LPs on gray-market "labels."

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ted Kendall" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 5:54 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Reducing crackle from 78 rpm records the analogue way on 70's reissue LP's


> On 02/10/2012 10:01, Don Cox wrote:
>> On 02/10/2012, Jon Samuels wrote:
>>
>>> Tom,
>>> Different transfer engineers have different philosophies. Some believe
>>> any noise reduction is an unacceptable compromise by definition,
>>> others denoise aggressively, in the belief that the buying public
>>> can't stand surface noise, and that the engineer can EQ the denoised
>>> results to make the final product sound as good as ever.
>> Judging from many reviews on Amazon, the customers who complain about
>> noise are those who have never before heard an old recording. A small
>> minority of the buying public for CDs made from 78s.
>>
>>> My approach
>>> is to remove as much noise as I can without audibly affecting the
>>> signal.
>> The big difficuly seems to be, not to avoid affecting the sounds of the
>> instruments, but to preserve the acoustic of the studio. In the best
>> transfers from single-microphone jazz recordings, you are aware that the
>> piano is further away. In a less good transfer, it just sounds quiet.
>>
>>> No decent engineer/producer should accept digital artifacts.
>>> That's just a given. You and I are on the same page here. Everything
>>> should be done for optimal analog playback first. When digital
>>> deticking is required, I prefer what I call manual deticking (what you
>>> call re-writing the waveform), to real time or background deticking or
>>> decrackling, though the time commitment can be huge. When the source
>>> material is very noisy or in poor condition and can't be upgraded, I
>>> decide the acceptable level of retained noise on a case-by-case basis,
>>> erring on the side of leaving a little too much noise, as opposed to a
>>> little too much signal loss. Other engineers can and do differ in
>>> their approaches. Jon Samuels
>> I found when doing some LP material that the "smoothing" function in the
>> WAV Repair program was a good way to redraw the waveform, especially if
>> repeated a few times (this can be a script).
>>
>> http://www.waverepair.com
>>
>> Regards
> Well, my two bits' worth is this.
>
> It should go without saying that you find the best possible source. I know from personal 
> experience that Mosaic, for example, are very hot on this. Sometimes the best source is an old 
> transfer of an original now destroyed, and then you have to do your best to repair the damage done 
> by the garden shears and curve benders wielded by a guy who was doing his best when what we now 
> have was science fiction.
>
> Optimal transfer should also be a given. Correct stylus size, playback speed (although this is not 
> as critical at this stage as it used to be), playback characteristic and centreing, which last is 
> hugely important and so often neglected. Also, metal parts show a huge top lift over vinyl and a 
> large one over shellac, owing to the hardness of the material, and this should be allowed for, now 
> or later. I now go into digits at this stage for disc material, to give the CEDAR the best shot at 
> sorting the muck out.
>
> DSP must be carefully driven, as hard as necessary and no more. The acid test is whether your 
> treatment sounds as if the recording had not been damaged in the first place. If not, it is better 
> to leave comprehensible analogue faults for the ear to listen through than bamboozle ear and brain 
> with space monkeys. Broadband de-hissing, in general, should be avoided. Most of the objectionable 
> noise on disc is in the few kHz range, above most of the ambient clues to the recording 
> environment, which you want to leave intact. CEDAR NR software allows you to remove this without 
> damaging the ambience.
>
> Bear in mind that not all DSP is not created equal. Some of it, even now, is ghastly. CEDAR costs, 
> undoubtedly, but at least you get what you pay for.
>
> The worst excesses usually result from somebody leaving CEDAR decrackle in "detect" mode, which is 
> purely an aid to adjustment, not an operating mode. The effect is as has been described - no hiss 
> at all, but it all sounds two feet under Shoeberry Ness.
>
> And yes, John RT did use an M44, as do I for coarse groove. The relative humility of the device is 
> far from being a limiting factor in this application. Also, many a click did I scrape under his 
> tutelage - the technique was the best available at the time, although demanding and utterly 
> tedious.
>
> In an ideal world, restoration would be unnecessary. But this isn't and it is.
> 

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