You are encountering what's called print-through. There is little you can do in the analog domain
aside from fast-winding the tape back and forth before playing (there is research to indicate this
can reduce print-through by a few dB).
Once you make your transfer, you can do a couple of things in the digital domain (or you can use
analog equipment between the tape machine and the ADC). You can try a gate/expander, which may slap
down the print-through a bit without effecting the quality of the singing. However, if it pumps the
print-through up and down in level, it will be more noticeable to most ears than if it were left at
a constant level. This is my big beef with over-aggressive "noise reduction" on disk sources --
spank down the surface noise between bursts of content too much and it's more noticeable because it
pumps up behind the bursts of content. So you have to use your ears and good taste with a gate or NR
You can also try EQ, see if you can find frequencies in the print-through content that aren't needed
in the vocal content. This probably needs to be done conservatively since the print-through is an
echo of the vocal content. However, because it's much lower in level, you might be able to EQ some
of it down low enough not to be noticeable.
There won't be a total fix to this, but you can mess with EQ and dynamics control and maybe come up
with something acceptable.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Josh May" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:02 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Advice needed on removing / minimizing tape bleed-through
> Hello ARSC,
> I'm new to the list, so please excuse me if this request is out of line.
> I'll get right to the crux: I'm working on a digital transfer from a 40
> year old 1/2" master audio tape. The recording is unaccompanied singing,
> and in the transfer I've noticed a very faint bleed-through / pre-echo that
> peaks at about -36 dB. The bleed-through is only minimally noticeable in
> the silence before or after a very loud note, but due to the dynamic nature
> of the recording, I've had trouble making a gate work and sound natural.
> So my question is, how could I correct or minimize this problem without
> affecting the original recording, if at all? I'm hoping there are some
> tricks out there I'm not familiar with.
> Thanks in advance for any and all help!
> Josh May
> June Appal Recordings