Old 03-19-2015, 06:35 PM   #1
KMFrye
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Default Old 78s and Reaper

Is Reaper a good tool for cleaning up old 78's from the 1940s? I have just obtained the acetate masters (I think they're acetate) from the one album my mother released in 1943. There are simply zero copies of the album out there (been trying for years), and these are all I have to try and begin a restoration project.

One Master- Begin the Beguine- has a crack in the disk that runs all the way across. It comes up as a loud "click" 78 times a minute during playback. Then there is the condition of the acetate, lots of hiss and some crackle- this one wasn't properly stored, sadly.

I downloaded all four with a USB turntable and the files have been digitized. I am starting the project with the worst one. I've also made multiple copies as a little mental security.

Does Reaper lend itself to the repair of something like this??

Last edited by KMFrye; 03-19-2015 at 06:38 PM. Reason: update
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:44 PM   #2
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Frankly, with something that irreplaceable and with such a personal value I'd bite the bullet and hand the lot over to a professional who specialises in the restoration of vintage records and recordings. It won't be cheap but the cost of getting it wrong is much, much higher.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
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You might want to check out Spectro by Stillwell. Reaper doesn't have anything comparable built in but there is a discount for reaper owners.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by wiggy View Post
Frankly, with something that irreplaceable and with such a personal value I'd bite the bullet and hand the lot over to a professional who specialises in the restoration of vintage records and recordings. It won't be cheap but the cost of getting it wrong is much, much higher.
He has them digitized already, so there won't be a cost to doing it wrong.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMFrye View Post
Is Reaper a good tool for cleaning up old 78's from the 1940s? I have just obtained the acetate masters (I think they're acetate) from the one album my mother released in 1943. There are simply zero copies of the album out there (been trying for years), and these are all I have to try and begin a restoration project.

One Master- Begin the Beguine- has a crack in the disk that runs all the way across. It comes up as a loud "click" 78 times a minute during playback. Then there is the condition of the acetate, lots of hiss and some crackle- this one wasn't properly stored, sadly.

I downloaded all four with a USB turntable and the files have been digitized. I am starting the project with the worst one. I've also made multiple copies as a little mental security.

Does Reaper lend itself to the repair of something like this??
Oh yeah, absolutely, but this is a labor of love, you're going to have to spend a lot of time on this.

But Reaper is absolutely up to the task. It is a brilliant program when it comes to audio editing, much easier to use than Pro Tools.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:32 PM   #6
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A lot of people sing the praises of Isotope's RX4, but its not cheap.

There is a 10 day uncrippled demo, maybe give it a try.

https://www.izotope.com/en/support/p...downloads/rx-4.

Good luck.


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Old 03-19-2015, 09:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMFrye View Post
Is Reaper a good tool for cleaning up old 78's from the 1940s? I have just obtained the acetate masters (I think they're acetate) from the one album my mother released in 1943. There are simply zero copies of the album out there (been trying for years), and these are all I have to try and begin a restoration project.

One Master- Begin the Beguine- has a crack in the disk that runs all the way across. It comes up as a loud "click" 78 times a minute during playback. Then there is the condition of the acetate, lots of hiss and some crackle- this one wasn't properly stored, sadly.

I downloaded all four with a USB turntable and the files have been digitized. I am starting the project with the worst one. I've also made multiple copies as a little mental security.

Does Reaper lend itself to the repair of something like this??
The biggest issue would be with the cheapness of the USB turntable and resulting low grade transfer. Yes, yes, being VERY snobby with that kind of comment but this is challenging sound preservation we're talking about. And that's the weak link. *

Beyond that, Reaper is a fine DAW for working on anything from live sound to mixing to mastering and certainly my choice. That's not going to help you with any specific noise reduction or artifact removal of course.

My recommendations are:
A more pro transfer.
Izotope RX noise reduction and spectral editor plugins for any clean up you should decide to do.

If that just isn't going to happen, just do the best you can right now and keep the originals around in case you get the opportunity later on.

* At least every USB turntable I've ever seen has been a very crude device. This sounds silly to fuss over with the fidelity in question of course. But the problem is that the crude transfer adds another big generation loss to an already compromised source (ever photo copied a photo copy?). And if we're trying to preserve something as opposed to just hearing it well enough today...

Anyway, the transfer is the challenge.
Reaper is a great choice for DAW to do the mastering job.
Izotope RX plugins can let you get away with some serious magic when needed.
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Old 03-20-2015, 12:17 AM   #8
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serr is - unfortunately - correct. The USB turntable is not the right tool for this. Is there a vinyl mastering studio anywhere close to where you live? They usually have the best pickups, preamps and converters. Or maybe even a "high end" HiFi store who will let you use their equipment (I once did that for vinyl transfer) - you'd need an AD converter though, pretty uncommon for home HiFi...

But it sounds like a great project. "Begin the Beguine" by my mother ... wow! Good luck!
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:21 AM   #9
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And even if you have a good turntable, the stylus required for 33/45s is quite the wrong size for 78s.
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:05 AM   #10
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Default Restoring old 78s

I am becoming aware of some of the issues as I go along here. Looks like a bit off a lot, However, I am patient and willing to try so we'll see how it goes.

First- the turntable. No, it's not high-end, and compares quite badly to a mid-range audiophile's rig, but it is the most expensive, AC-powered one on the market in this area and the specs are at least as good as the old Phillips they were originally intended for. But then there is..

The needle- 'way too small, and bounces from side-to-side in the oversize grooves. Also, the arm itself is far too light for the job, and has no weight adjustment. In the old days, we used to tape a dime to the arm to help it out, but with these masters, I worry about damage. Prob'ly won't do that.

Then comes the problem of 70 years worth of poor (as in non dust-proof) storage. These acetates were actually hanging on the wall in Mom's study for over thirty years! Before that they were simply in the open top paper sleeves they came in. Dad got the idea that Mom should have her "gold records" on the wall, but the frames he had made up for her birthday in the mid 1970s were not archive quality units and let air and dust in. They looked good, but the grooves are caked with the dust of nearly 70 years. THAT is not good for fidelity.

I looked at RX4, but that's pretty dear for this old pensioner, as is the cost of having a pro do it. There are no shops in Victoria that advertise the service (there are some who will transfer your 33-1/3 LP's and even your 8trax, but not these. There may be one in Vancouver, and it may come to that...

We shall see. If anyone has any hints for me about noise reduction, click removal and the like, I am open to trying pretty much anything with Reaper, so long as I know where to go to start.

So please...er... tell me where to go? (Probably shouldn't have said that...)
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:46 AM   #11
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2 interesting links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl_d...s_preservation
http://www.discogs.com/groups/topic/160178

EDIT:
This might be the way to go. Careful though with the chemical composition of the glue. I just read that even the BBC uses this method for ages, just make sure it's polyvinyl acetate (PVA). The brand Titebond was recommended, but there's lots of others as well.
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Old 03-20-2015, 12:03 PM   #12
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I will say that this does seem like a fun project and I hope that you have success in getting it done. I have purchased all sorts of tools/plugins over the last few years and yet to get a chance to really dig in and try restoration.

Everyone has given such good advice, especially when it comes to digitizing the tracks. I had this Rod McKuen record that I recently became a big fan of and wanted to get it into reaper, using a cheap turntable so I just routed the signal from the headphone jack of the player and into my interface. I spent hours playing around, getting rid of cracks and pops, trying to build good noise profiles to elimate the hiss. In the end, I was happy with what I had done.

Then a few months later I ran across an almost mint copy of the same album and bought it. This one of course took way less time to clean up and sounds amazing now, as if I've remastered it for our times.

Fairly pointless post that I've just typed up. I was just remembering how much fun I actually had learning during the initial clean up job. There's a great feeling of accomplishment to be had.

If you're ok with sharing the tracks, maybe you can email me one just so I could see if it is something that I can help out with?
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:25 AM   #13
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Found this - 20 day trial!

WOW! Especially chapter 4 is super interesting!
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:10 AM   #14
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I'm not sure how well Capstan would work with hiss and pops, but it is reputed to do well with correcting wow and flutter. It's a bit pricey though, unless one aspires to clean up old recordings as a profession.

http://www.celemony.com/en/capstan
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcrisman View Post
I'm not sure how well Capstan would work with hiss and pops, but it is reputed to do well with correcting wow and flutter. It's a bit pricey though, unless one aspires to clean up old recordings as a profession.

http://www.celemony.com/en/capstan
It wouldn't work since it needs the bias frequency from actual tape.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:47 AM   #16
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If you have 'wow' going on from the hole not perfectly centered in the album, stop and re-transfer it. Pull the spindle off the table and center the album manually. It will only take 5 minutes or less of fussing over it. (You've hit center when the tone arm stops oscillating back and forth.)

You do NOT want to torture yourself trying to correct this after the fact when the fix is so simple and removes the problem 100%.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:02 PM   #17
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Sorry- no point fixing the wow with an off centre disc on a crappy USB turntable - that turntable is introducing it's own mess.

There must be 78 enthusiasts who would help you do this - you live near a big city, right? So play it on a turntable optimised for 78s and convert to WAV so you don't go near mp3. Some guy with a turntable would love to help out on a project like this.

I reckon you might find some fixing will be cleaner to do in an audio file editor like Audacity. Don't clean it too much - stripping out everything can make it sound sterile and over processed - it does on cassette tape restoration.
Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2015, 06:38 PM   #18
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To add to this, there is a French company which restores old classical shellack 78 rpm recording of classical masters and performances from anywhere between 1920 and 1950. Somebody sent me the hyperlink earlier this week, well worth checking out.
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