Friday, January 29, 2010

Noisy to Nice - How I Fix Up My Music Files

Maybe you have reached my blog from clicking on a link in EBAY or my eStore at www.vintagemusicroom.com where I sell my CDs containing music from my personal collection of songs, many taken from 78 rpm records, 45 rpm records, cylinder recordings, a few LP 33 rpm records, and some cassette tape recordings. Most 78 rpm records, 45 rpms records, 33 rpm records and wax cylinder recordings have been used and therefore have developed deterioration of the sound. In many cases a great deal of noise, pops, crackle, and other problems significantly affect the quality of the music.

I have had many people ask me what I do to my music files to make them sound so nice. First let me say that I remove all of the noise that I possibly can, without distorting the spirit of the original recording, because I like to hear them that way. I know some folks like the "natural" noise that comes from listening to old records and cylinders, but I like to think that removing the noise makes them more like they would have been when they were new. I also listen to my Christmas music files all through the Christmas season, and listening to them over and over with the noise in them is just plain irritating to my ear. So that's the WHY of the question.

Many of my music files come from records, especially 78 rpm records, that I own. Since mostly these records were made during the 1920s through the 1950s (with some being made both before and after that time frame), that makes them 50 to 90 years old. And some of the records were played many times over the years and not taken the best care of, so they can be really full of pops, scratches, and other noise. I also get files from free downloads on the internet. I do a lot of searching to find the oldest and rarest recordings for my collection. And since many of the files that I download in this way are in their "noisy" form, I also do my noise reduction on them.

Here are some samples of files (just short clips) in the "noisy" stage. You will hear several types of noise and some are really bad, others less so.
PLAYING THESE FILES:

1. Click on the link by the title and a message will pop up asking if you want to navigate away from this site. Click YES.
2. A new window will open. You can choose to download or play the file.
3. After either playing or downloading the file, click your browser's BACK button to come back to this page.

FILE SAMPLES WITHOUT NOISE REDUCTION

Trinity Male Choir - Christians, Awake, Salute the Happy Morn 1922 http://www.box.net/shared/oznxgida0j

Tascott - You Must Think I'm Santa Claus 1906 http://www.box.net/shared/og79gdx2bh

Prince's Orchestra - On a Christmas Morn 1911 http://www.box.net/shared/hle55sym8f

Dinah Shore - You Meet the Nicest People 1957 http://www.box.net/shared/75f0flgvs8

As you can tell when you play these clips, they could use a little TLC and noise reduction. So I put them through several steps of an audio application to remove impulse noises (pops and clicks) and then the other noises, including hum, buzz, SSSS, machine noise, and general hiss. Once that is complete, sometimes taking much longer than other times, I may do some enhancement to put back a little of the far ranges of sound that the first steps may have removed. I also clip the noise off of the start and end of the file. Then I make the sound level correct to match my other files.

FILE SAMPLES WITH NOISE REDUCTION

Here are the same songs as above, but AFTER all the necessary steps have been completed.

Trinity Male Choir - Christians, Awake, Salute the Happy Morn 1922 FINAL (fixed)
http://www.box.net/shared/3ybv1b704q

Tascott - You Must Think I'm Santa Claus 1906 FINAL (fixed)
http://www.box.net/shared/oe2h4e639r

Prince's Orchestra - On a Christmas Morn 1911 FINAL (fixed) http://www.box.net/shared/218kp1bds0

Dinah Shore - You Meet the Nicest People 1957 FINAL (fixed) http://www.box.net/shared/ln38f0l8du


Did you notice that not all noise has been removed? Listen to "Trinity Male Choir - Christians, Awake, Salute the Happy Morn 1922 FINAL (fixed)" to hear what I had to leave in order to keep the sound from getting distorted. Sometimes the noise and the music are so close together that one cannot be removed without affecting the other.

Also listen to "Tascott - You Must Think I'm Santa Claus 1906 FINAL (fixed)" and you will notice that there is still noise, but now you can tell what the music sounds like even so. In the original file, the noise was so bad that it hurt my ears to listen to it more than once. I think you will agree that the corrected file sounds much nicer and you could stand to listen to it over and over.

THE RESULTS
As you can see, I put a lot of work into each music file so that the result will be pleasant to hear, with the original sound kept true, and as homogenous as possible. It is a labor of love, as this is my hobby. I hope you enjoy my music also.


You can go to my web store to purchase CDs here: http://vintagemusicroom.com/










1 comment:

Jassnaround said...

Google translates the above to mean "I have confidence in ourselves has exceeded my evaluation of others".