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Tricks/tips...maybe just a little advice?

DISCLAIMER: I've already seached on this topic, came up with a few things, but, frankly, I'm just too damn lazy to read through 15+ pages of topics. So, I'm posting it in hopes of an answer. Here's my situation:

I was asked to do some cassete tape transfers to CD for a cancer patient that wishes to distribute these to other's afflicted with this disease. This is pro-bono work for charity so I really can't go beyond what I already have in my studio. The recording is Christian music, recorded in some well-known studios Nashville in the 60's. Problem is, this tape is a copy, and probably a copy of a copy!

So, I dubbed this cassette down to my HD-24, then dumped it into Logic. I used Soundsoap and got rid of quite a few click and crackles (and there are a LOT). I also merged the stereo tracks into one mono, as they were identical. My problem is that, when they made this copy, the distortion is mainly coming out of the right channel. I've tried notching frequencies, using other denoise/decrackle plugs, but it seems it's as "clean" as it's going to get, which isn't to my standards at all. I know I'm not going to get a crystal-clean outcome, but I'm really at a loss just to get rid of the crackles!

Any suggestions would be a tremendous help! Thanks in advance!

Oh, here's what I'm working with:
30 minutes of audio with 7 individual songs, recorded at 48k.
Waves Platinum, TC Powercore, IK T-Racks, Soundsoap Pro and Bias Peak Pro plugs.

Thanks again! 8-)


RemyRAD Wed, 03/07/2007 - 22:14
backinthelab, I think the problem is that you are still in Detroit just north of 8 mile Road?? I think you need to go to Oak Park, off 9 mile and Coolidge?? Or maybe Huntington Woods off of 11 mile Road and Woodward Avenue?? Maybe the Detroit zoo? That's where I'm from. Detroit I mean.

Your explanation of the distortion really makes no sense?? It sounds like you're adding too much drek to an already awful transfer? Are you trying to add too much processing?? Over optimizing?? It almost sounds like you're describing aliasing in one channel? You don't needed no high frequency response. Especially for a lot of dying cancer patients. You want them to be comfortable don't you? Roll the high-end off.

I'm for reel!
Ms. Alexandra Grammy Bell

hueseph Thu, 03/08/2007 - 00:31
So are both waves identical or is there distortion on one side? If the distortion is only on one side, they are not identical. If they are identical aside from the distortion, it's mono. So either you have a problem with your gear and the distortion is a hardware thing or forget the one side and pan your one good side center.

Edit: You mention that you merged the tracks into one stereo but originally the distortion was only on one side. So re-do it using only the good side of the original copy.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 03/08/2007 - 06:39
I know this doesn't make any sense, that's why I've posted it here! LOL When I transferred the tape the waveforms of both left and right channels were identical. This is the reason I merged them. However, merged or not, when I pan the track to the left there is very little distortion, to the right it's horrible. Ths only processing I've done is rolling off the high and using Soundsoap Pro. I've also made an atempt to notch out the frequencies of the cracks. What I'm let with sounds muddy and old.

I can assure you that there are no problems with my gear, as I've done this before without issue.

Regardless or the panning/distortion problem, that's less of an issue for me than just getting some pointers on decreasing clipping/crackling in tape. Any ideas?

Cucco Thu, 03/08/2007 - 07:10's what I would do.

First, take your two tracks, pan them hard left and hard right.

Take the right channel and flip the phase. If you hear nothing at all, then the distortion is happening elsewhere. If you're left with nothing but distortion, then you know it's isolated on only one channel. Work only wth the other channel.

As for the crackling, etc. my personal favorite plug-in for removing all of that is the Waves restoration bundle. If you can't afford it, don't worry about it. Soundsoap certainly is pretty decent on its own.

Next, you'll have to come to terms with what you can and cannot do. Considering, as you mentioned, this is a pro-bono project you are going to have to come to terms with how much work you are willing to do and where you draw the line.

If the project means an awful lot to you, work your ass off and get it sounding as good as possible.

If it means nothing to you, the clients are likely never to deal with you again nor refer you to anyone else, then do the transfer, slap a restoration plug across the bus and have a nice day.

Personally, even pro bono stuff, IMO, is important to me. However, I know my own limitations.

I would strongly suggest you speak with the client and explain to them the limitations of the project. I think you'll find that you probably have already exceeded their expectations and are probably tickled pink by the fact that you would do the work for them in the first place.

Sorry for the long monologue...

Cheers -


Pro Audio Guest Thu, 03/08/2007 - 07:33
Thanks Cucco! I'll test that out tonight.
I want to do a good job, not only because of the standards of quality I set for my studio, but also becasue this project does have some personal attachment to me, with the spread of cancer to quite a few people in my life.

I don't have the Restoration bundle, only the Platinum bundle which unfortunately doesn't give me the "x" plugs. I've also tried decrackle/noise/clip on my Powercore. I think I just need to run it through a few times. I'm just worried that my final product will be one with no life left in it!

Thanks again, I'll keep "pluggin" away, pun intended.