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Old 01-29-2020, 11:03 AM   #8
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 9,011

I've worked on old recordings before that, in short, sound closer to what the source (pre destructive transfers) would have sounded like with the dolby not decoded than with the hardware circuits decoder in the deck. With all the variables of the high end attenuation damage and everything else, some of the dolby eq boosts done on the way in ended up preserving some of the content a little stronger. Seven wrongs making a right of sorts. And even when there are artifacts breathing around from the dolby encoding moving the dynamics around in that scenario, it still might be closer to what the original recording might have sounded like than the wool blanket covered result the decoder would give.

I've used parameter modulation with ReaEQ in Reaper to try to simulate the decoder where dolby moves the crossover frequency keying off the source.
It's always tricky and case by case though. I don't feel like I have created a universal dolby decoder that I can just plunk down in any project and just push a button. Maybe this speaks to the damage in the recording and why the hardware dolby is also struggling? I still think I'm missing something at the same time though with the decoding technique.

A tape that someone already digitized to 16 bit CD and presumably with a budget interface (or maybe even worse with a circa 1990 CDR recorder or DAT deck with shit AD stages) is most unfortunate. The transfer in those examples incurs more loss than the tape format itself caused. Stuff you might have been able to work with or repair was left on the cutting room floor in the AD transfer.
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