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How to improve old vintage recording?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Unregistered, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Hello,
    I am not sure if this forum is the right place to ask, but I'll give it a try...
    I have some old vintage music recordings (live recordings) WAV files, but they are really awful in terms of sound quality (real tinty sounding, sounds almost like all bass was stripped off them). I figure I'm very limited to what I can actually do to improve these kind of recordings, but I would like some suggestions if possible. If this is not the place to ask, perhaps you could give me some advice where to ask?
    I have tried playing around with the EQ in SoundForge, but I am not happy with the results. It seems once I attempt to fix one bad aspect, it sounds bad in another way instead.
    Please any advice would be welcome. I am not a wiz when it comes to this, so please try to explain so I can understand. If you need audio samples I can upload some (but I will wait until I even know if this is the right forum to ask for help on this topic). Thank you for reading.
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Audio restoration and enhancement can be a tricky affair. It's not impossible but it is challenging. No single equalization adjustment can generally rectify this problem. One of the techniques we frequently utilize is known as spectral processing. This is a type of compression that is split into different frequency segments. Each segment receives its own compression. It is then all added together and in a crude sense, remixes the sound file. Radio and TV stations utilize hardware spectral processors to make varying different audio mixes more consistent overall. Mastering Engineers utilize similar techniques in the Mastering process. There are numerous pieces of software also designed to do just that. One of my favorites is from an Italian company called IK Multimedia. Their product is known as T-Racks. It's available as a standalone program or as a VST plug-in. It features a tube emulation of an equalizer, a broadband compressor and a 3 band spectral limiter along with a peak clipper. They also throw in a stereo width control and a second harmonic distortion generator. My only objection to that product are there included presets. I find their presets to be generally too over the top. As a result, I tweak everything manually. You also have the opportunity to select which order of each individual process to be. Sometimes, I'll switch the spectral peak limiter to be the first. Then the equalizer and then the broadband compressor. I frequently don't utilize the peak clipper. I'll sometimes dial in some extra second harmonic distortion or on occasion, reduce it. And on occasion, I will vary this stereo width wider or more narrow. Sometimes I even dial back the output level so as not to make the signal too hot. This entire process can also be achieved within Sound Forage which will require numerous passes and is a little more difficult to contend with. Sound Forage also offers a multi-band compressor/limiter which really has not impressed me much. And I've had that program since version 4 or was that 3? Either way, I don't like their Multi-band feature. And there are a lot of other software manufacturers that also makes some pretty sophisticated processing, much of which can do more harm than good. All of which including my suggestion will set you back a few hundred dollars. But if you do a lot of this kind of work, it's worth the investment. I have found that T-Racks works best for me. But that's just me. Other folks will pooh-pooh that product and recommend others. Because what you are asking about is 100% subjective. You did not indicate what kind of monitoring you are utilizing nor what your environment that you are monitoring is like. Your question was a little bit like " Dr. it hurts when I do this ". To which the answer is normally " don't do that ", from the doctor. LOL. But you did in fact come to the right place to ask your question. Now let's see what everybody else has to say when they chime in and make their offerings. You're likely to get a whole lot of suggestions. Don't let them confuse you just listen to me. LMAO No really I'm serious. I've had to do a lot of what you just asked for, for a lot of other people.

    I'm pretty good at this
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     

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