Probably a very simple question about remastering

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Unique Username, Aug 24, 2019.

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  1. Unique Username

    Unique Username Active Member

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    Hello!

    I know nothing about audio recording, so please forgive my ignorance if this question is, from a professional's perspective, rather dumb. I'm here because this is where the pros are, and thank you for your consideration and any answers you might offer.

    I have an old audio recording--it is an old band demo, 30 odd minutes long, which was originally recorded on a cassette tape and transfered to a digital format (mp3). The cassette didn't do so well over the years and as a result, the mp3 sounds bad in places (instruments drop, the sound level during some songs is inconsistent, etc.) I would like to correct this in the following ways:

    Break (I know there is a better word for this, but I don't know it) the single audio track (containing all instruments playing simultaneously) into separate tracks--in other words, take the song as it is heard and split it into sound components (bass, guitar, drums, vocals, etc.) so I can correct the audio defects and re-create a better sounding end product.

    (Edit: I should have mentioned that the audio damage is significant enough in some parts of the mp3 to warrant this sort of closer attention. I've tried audo "toolbox" programs which promise to fix hiss, volume irregularities, etc., and they cannot produce what I'm imagining I should be able to produce. If it's helpful, I think its possible (given the overall quality of the mp3) to restore it to a point of sound quality similar to what you hear in "Free as a Bird" by the Beatles--where it's clear that some work was done on the track, purely to achieve a specific end sound-wise.)

    Is this sort of process possible? If it is, what software would I need to use to do it? I'd be grateful if these two questions were answered and even moreso if anyone offers any simple advice to get this process started. Thank you again!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Sorry, but it's not possible, at least not in a useful way. It's a bit like walking into a baker's shop with a package under your arm and asking if they could un-bake a cake for you.

    The best you might be able to do is patch up the inconsistencies in the overall sound level in the places where you say it has dropped. Unfortunately, such corrections can sound pretty ugly, and the original may be less distressing on the ear. That said, I would seriously consider having a new transfer from the tape carried out before it deteriorates any further. This time, ask for a .bwav file (24 bit) so you preserve as much as possible, just in case someone invents a magic process in the future that can restore it to full glory.

    Meanwhile, it's a vintage recording - accept it as it is, and enjoy the music!
     
  3. Unique Username

    Unique Username Active Member

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    Boswell, thank you for the reply. This is very discouraging, but I understand why it cannot be done. I suppose if it is impossible to split the tracks in the way I described, it is probably also impossible to isolate the vocals, strip them from the track, and re-record them over a new performance of the instrumental parts of the songs. Sad.

    I'm grateful for what I have, and enjoy it for what it is, but cannot help but wish the mp3 didn't sound like it was being reproduced through a speaker which was underwater.

    .bwav is a new format to me. Thank you for this new knowledge and for your insights!
     
  4. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

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    There are some programs that handle polyphonic tracks that allow some individual editing of instrument waveforms (Melodyne) and I’ve no doubt that 20 or so years from now we’ll be able to do exactly what you’re asking.... we just are not there yet.
     
  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I'm not sure we will break the laws of physics soon.. ;)

    Izotope Ozone included a kind of remix after the mix tool, you can explore this too...
     
  6. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

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    I think that as algorithms become more complex, and computing power more accessible, they will develop all kinds of audio and video tools that with be able to "un-sum" what today is impossible to deconstruct... but I'd imagine this will be decades away but the digital frontier of the end of the century will seem like magic today.
     
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  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    What would be a blast is if audio listening devices would play songs stems and the listener could choose to hear the mix as he/she pleases. Then all the music would be sold in stems !! :sneaky:
     
  8. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Well-Known Member

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    I have been thinking thisw for a while and I do anticipate this - particularly as remixes became a thing.... how else will they leverage the value in the old catalogues eh?
     
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