Fwd: Audio Engineering Society Melbourne Section "Acetate record transfer"

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Secretary AES Melbourne Section Inc

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Jun 11, 2017, 12:31:19 AM6/11/17
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We have received a query from somebody wanting some acetate discs transferred.

If any of you do this type of work, or know somebody who does, please respond to me and I will pass the details on to the enquirer.

Thanks,

Peter Smerdon.
Secretary 
AES Melbourne Section 
Ph 0437-422-458
Website    http://www.aesmelbourne.org.au/
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Subject: Acetate record transfer

Message Body:
Dear AES, I would be grateful for your recommendation. I have a series
of acetate records which need to be transferred (raw transfer only, no
editing/declicking/filtering etc). I was going to ask Bill Armstrong,
who has immense experience in this field, but his recent health
setback means that he can't undertake the work. I would like to know
if there is a member of the society with more or less equal experience
who might be interested in taking on the task.
Thank you for your help.


Mark Edwards

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Jun 11, 2017, 12:50:38 AM6/11/17
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Dex Audio?


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Peter Smerdon

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Jun 11, 2017, 1:51:05 AM6/11/17
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Thanks Mark.
I'll pass the suggestion on.

Do you know for sure, or do you just think they might??
I don't think much of the vintage stuff in Daniel's collection is actually set up to be functional.

Anyway Greg Williams or Daniel Desire of dex may know somebody if they don't do it themselves. 

Cheers,
(how are ya, btw?)

Peter Smerdon
Melbourne Australia
0437-422-458


Dex Audio?


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Mark Edwards

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Jun 11, 2017, 2:35:10 AM6/11/17
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not bad mate - strugglin' on! ;-)


Dex Audio?


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Gerald Stewart

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Jun 11, 2017, 4:09:18 AM6/11/17
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Hi All

Pretty sure screensound in Canberra can help with this

Thanks

Gerald

Graeme Huon

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Jun 11, 2017, 8:11:10 AM6/11/17
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Hi Peter, 
National Film and Sound archive (Canberra), Australian Jazz Museum (Wantirna). They both will have a possible interest in the source material archiving. Further details if you need.
Graeme

david briggs

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Jun 11, 2017, 6:04:12 PM6/11/17
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Gil Mathews does transfers.

Peter Smerdon

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Jun 11, 2017, 7:31:14 PM6/11/17
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Thanks David.

Do you have contact details for Gil Matthews?

Regards,

Peter Smerdon
Melbourne Australia
0437-422-458


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david briggs

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Jun 11, 2017, 7:37:55 PM6/11/17
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Hi Peter, He is on facebook as Gil Mathews and also as the Mastering Lab.
Thats all I have.
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Rodney Staples

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Jun 12, 2017, 12:40:44 PM6/12/17
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Hi Folks,

A couple of years ago I had to digitise some 78 disks for my mother. I used this process.

 

  • Play the disk on a standard stereo turntable at 45RPM with a normal stereo microgroove cartridge and capture analogue signal into a .wav file in a DAW.
  • Pitch-shift the digitised recording up by seven or eight semitones in a DAW.
  • Check the region below 50Hz for important sounds. I found this region was mostly rumble that could be filtered out.
  • Listen to the pitch shifted recording to identify a tone or pitch and identify this on a spectral display. You can then perform a fine pitch adjustment to match the speed of the original recording.
  • Appropriately adjust levels and ADD left and right signals. This increases the noise by 3dB and the coherent signal by 6dB, improving the S/N

 

I found the first two steps sufficient for my purposes, with the resulting copies sounding better than I remember the originals on the old 78RPM player. The microgroove stylus seemed to fit into the bottom of the groove that hadn’t been damaged by older styli and the noise in the two channels seemed to be largely uncorrelated so the theoretical improvement of the S/N seemed to be fairly closely achieved. The playing times of the digitised recordings closely matched the time on the label so I didn’t need to use the fine pitch-shift. I was surprised at how much fidelity was retained in these old recordings from the early 1950s. Ok, the record/replay EQ was probably not matched, but it seemed to act like a pre-emphasis improving the apparent fidelity. The resulting digitised sound files sounded at least as good as the 45RPM records I purchased when I started collecting records.

 

The attached sound file is Victor Sylvestor and his Ballroom Orchestra recorded on Parlaphone in about 1947. The label playing time is about 2:40, this recording is 2:59. Victor Sylvestor is famous for his strict ballroom tempo of 72 BPM. The 7 semitone shift gives a bet rate of 75, but this sounds a bit slow when compared to the YouTube reconstruction of this record so the attached file is shifted up to 8 semitones (120BPM). It needs NR of course, but you can hear the uncorrelated noise, and the correlated signal.

 

Regards,

Rod.

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Rodney Staples.

e-mail: rodst...@ozemail.com.au

Telephone: +61 3 9770 2484

Mobile: +61 4 1935 9082

Web: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rodstaples/


Exhibition Swing 8semitones 120bpm.mp3

David Webb

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Jun 12, 2017, 6:54:08 PM6/12/17
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I use Vinyl Studio to restore 78’s (played at 45rpm using an Ortofon 78rpm stylus) or vinyls. Vinyl Studio automatically adjusts for the speed in the case of 78’s and has good noise reduction. However acetate discs are quite fragile, going to Screensound would be the safest option.
<Exhibition Swing 8semitones 120bpm.mp3>

Graeme Huon

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Jun 12, 2017, 7:44:25 PM6/12/17
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Hi Rod - Good work!
One often neglected aspect is to check the groove radius (microscope) and then use a stylus that gets close to bearing on the “correct” (best) area of the groove wall. Most “modern" stylii are smaller than early cutting heads and so just drag and bump along the bottom and miss a fair bit of the recorded information. Shure (for one) made a series of different radii stylii (colour coded) for this purpose. Then as all modern cartridges are stereo, the correct (lateral, or, for earlier, perhaps hill and dale) sum or difference needs to be taken.The archives I mentioned are aware of this.

Graeme

<Exhibition Swing 8semitones 120bpm.mp3>

Secretary AES Melbourne Section Inc

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Jun 14, 2017, 11:47:25 PM6/14/17
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Thanks for that insight into your method, Rod.

Victor Sylvester and His Orchestra - that brings back memories of my early days in radio when such music was just fading from airplay!

What cleaning did you do on the record before playing?
I'm not sure what would be best with 78's (Shellac?)
For critical transfers of vinyl, I always played them wet (using a dilute alcohol/distilled water mix), after a thorough wash with the same liquid.
I'm not sure that'd be advised for 78's.

Probably not for acetates either.

I think our enquirer would be best served using somebody with deep experience of acetate transfers.
They can be very finicky, given how soft the material is.

Cheers,

Peter Smerdon.
Secretary 
AES Melbourne Section 
Ph 0437-422-458
Website    http://www.aesmelbourne.org.au/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MelbAES
Twitter      https://twitter.com/AESMelbourne



On Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 2:38 AM, Rodney Staples <rodst...@ozemail.com.au> wrote:

Hi Folks,

A couple of years ago I had to digitise some 78 disks for my mother. I used this process.

 

  • Play the disk on a standard stereo turntable at 45RPM with a normal stereo microgroove cartridge and capture analogue signal into a .wav file in a DAW.
  • Pitch-shift the digitised recording up by seven or eight semitones in a DAW.
  • Check the region below 50Hz for important sounds. I found this region was mostly rumble that could be filtered out.
  • Listen to the pitch shifted recording to identify a tone or pitch and identify this on a spectral display. You can then perform a fine pitch adjustment to match the speed of the original recording.
  • Appropriately adjust levels and ADD left and right signals. This increases the noise by 3dB and the coherent signal by 6dB, improving the S/N

 

I found the first two steps sufficient for my purposes, with the resulting copies sounding better than I remember the originals on the old 78RPM player. The microgroove stylus seemed to fit into the bottom of the groove that hadn’t been damaged by older styli and the noise in the two channels seemed to be largely uncorrelated so the theoretical improvement of the S/N seemed to be fairly closely achieved. The playing times of the digitised recordings closely matched the time on the label so I didn’t need to use the fine pitch-shift. I was surprised at how much fidelity was retained in these old recordings from the early 1950s. Ok, the record/replay EQ was probably not matched, but it seemed to act like a pre-emphasis improving the apparent fidelity. The resulting digitised sound files sounded at least as good as the 45RPM records I purchased when I started collecting records.

 

The attached sound file is Victor Sylvestor and his Ballroom Orchestra recorded on Parlaphone in about 1947. The label playing time is about 2:40, this recording is 2:59. Victor Sylvestor is famous for his strict ballroom tempo of 72 BPM. The 7 semitone shift gives a bet rate of 75, but this sounds a bit slow when compared to the YouTube reconstruction of this record so the attached file is shifted up to 8 semitones (120BPM). It needs NR of course, but you can hear the uncorrelated noise, and the correlated signal.

 

Regards,

Rod.

 

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Rodney Staples.

e-mail: rodst...@ozemail.com.au

Telephone: +61 3 9770 2484

Mobile: +61 4 1935 9082

Web: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rodstaples/

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Secretary AES Melbourne Section Inc

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Jun 14, 2017, 11:51:08 PM6/14/17
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Thanks Graeme,

Do these organizations do private work, or would the enquirer have to "donate" the material to their collections?

If it's the latter, isn't there a danger that they'd take the material, put it on their to-do pile, and not get to it for a long time?

Regards,



Peter Smerdon.
Secretary 
AES Melbourne Section 
Ph 0437-422-458
Website    http://www.aesmelbourne.org.au/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MelbAES
Twitter      https://twitter.com/AESMelbourne



Graeme
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Graeme Huon

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Jun 15, 2017, 1:16:32 AM6/15/17
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The Jazz museum works on a volunteer basis. If you pay to join, you certainly have a chance at controlling matters. I do not know what the NFSA reaction to a paid job is but they have a bit of a backlog!!
Graeme
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Mick Carrick

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Jun 15, 2017, 3:40:29 AM6/15/17
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It's worth considering the use of  the "Click Repair" software of Brian Davies. Its algorithms go well beyond filters and work extremely well. Some old samples are on his website and demonstrate the effectiveness of his apps. Check them out on click repair www.clickrepair.net/software_info/clickrepair.html.

It is also possible to listen to the noise that has been removed in order to be reassured that no music is being removed.

Good luck with this project.

cheers

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Mick Carrick

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Rodney Staples

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Jun 15, 2017, 12:18:56 PM6/15/17
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Hi Peter,

The records I was working with were the (shellac) collection that my mother and father had had from just after the war, before I was even a twinkle in my Mother’s eye (they were well over 70 years old)! Growing up I recall these records being played on an old mono radio gram that used a needle/stylus in the cartridge that was steel and about an inch long. The stylus needed to be changed every few tens of records because it was worn down so quickly. With this kind of crude player, the disks were well and truly damaged before they ever saw a diamond stereo stylus (which they did as I reached my teenage years and Mum and Dad purchased a new “stereo” radiogram).

 

Many years later Mum was living in Queensland at the time when I started the transfer process, so while on holiday there I purchased a new (but still quite inexpensive) turntable with a built-in preamp which I used to transfer the disks at 45RPM into my DAW. I then calculated the pitch difference between 45RPM and 78RPM and started with that amount of pitch shift, and made fine adjustments to the pitch to get the sound closer to what I remembered, or what I could work out by measuring the pitch of tones in the music and relating that to the musical scale and adjusting the recorded tone to sit on the equal-tempered scale.

 

Graeme is correct. One should use the microscope to find the undamaged part of the groove, and use a stylus with the correct shape and size. Preferably one should also play the disks at 78RPM, but that option wasn’t available to me at the time. Because recordings of this vintage also had slightly variable speeds and somewhat unpredictable equalisation both the pitch and the frequency spectrum was also difficult to be precise about. And the rumble in these old recordings is horrendous.

 

I had tried this transfer many years earlier when I gave some disks to a colleague who had a broadcast turntable with a 78RPM speed, varispeed, and a cartridge and stylus suitable for the transfer. He took the records to make the transfer, but I never saw them again, and Mum was very upset that I had lost her precious memories of earlier times. It took me years of searching and access to the internet (and Amazon) to find suitable replacements (mostly transfers to CD). Neither Mum nor I had a suitable 78RPM turntable, so when I came to recover her remaining 78s I had to try the trick of playing the records at the slower speed, which incidentally preserved some of the high frequencies that we had not heard before, and try to recover the pitch with the DAW. The purpose was not archival quality recovery, just a transfer that helped an elderly person recover memories of an earlier time. It didn’t matter to her that the results were noisy – that was how she remembered them anyway – so the recording I shared was fine when replayed through her domestic HiFi system.

 

The material I was working with was pretty poor! The records had been played for years with a steel toothpick with tens of grams of stylus pressure, so the surface of the grooves was already severely distorted, particularly in the mid to upper part of the track. By using a smaller diamond stylus my hope was that it would get lower in the groove and miss much of the damage, but at the same time, it would be more sensitive to the obvious surface noise of very large particles in the old shellac binder. It was also highly probable as Graeme suggests that the stylus was “drag[ing] and bump[ing] along the bottom of the groove” but this was probably no worse than if the stylus had rested in the higher highly worn areas of the grove – at least in the bottom of the groove most of the noise was from surface noise of the shellac recording material which is relatively easier to remove from the music than correlated distortion. Besides, the noise in the recording I attached to my previous post was only about 30dB below the peak signal, so trying to remove it completely is very difficult – and such removal leaves “musical noise” unless one reinserts some broadband noise. Mick Carrick’s post about the application “Click Repair” seems to offer a good solution to reducing the noise, but I think that my example is just so bad that even this application would have trouble. If one wanted archival quality, then one should go to a much better source, as the two examples of this recording on YouTube have done. The examples on the Click Repair site are all starting from a much better condition than my crude attempts. I have though heard early models of Cedar doing an excellent job of recovering audio from just such poor original material. Perhaps if you are looking for archival quality restoration one should seek those organisations which have this technology.

 

For these transfers I did wash the dust off with lightly soaped water, but that made little difference, and I made the transfer from dry disks. I have used the alcohol and water to clean vinyl but again on any transfers I have let the disk dry first. I wouldn’t try either solution on acetate.

 

Regards,

Rod

 

 

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Rodney Staples.

e-mail: rodst...@ozemail.com.au

Telephone: +61 3 9770 2484

Mobile: +61 4 1935 9082

Web: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rodstaples/

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