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About Me

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Folk & Jazz fan, specialising in vinyl restoration. Although I would prefer to only post albums that I have paid for, or those of close friends, I am open to suggestions and offers of rare Folk items that need tender care and restoration, provided the supplier has the right of ownership of the physical item. NOT JUST an MP3 COPY of it. To give you an idea, I am prepared to restore vinyl belonging to another person, IF I receive a decent quality scan of the front, back and any relevant information that comes with the LP, preferably at least 2400 by 2400 quality, (600DPI scans for back) along with the sound files in FLAC format as waves are a bit too large to transfer. Then I will check their suitability for restoration. I try to maintain the requirement for a decent set of scans for each item, where possible, as I feel the music is incomplete without it. Sometimes this is just not possible as a lot of my stock came from broadcasting organisations that had their own heavy card sleeves, with information relevant to their prime function, that of providing the disc-jockies with basic details to pass on to listeners. I do wonder what happened to all the original artwork?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Anyone Remember THIS? Chris Barber 1959 Lansdown Volume 1

I dug this from my collection after 30 years it had not been played until now, in that period it has been stored in various places, and none too suitable for vinyl's either, as you can guess it was in quite a bad state, the cover is the best bit of the album, this seems to have survived the bad treatment very well, such was the advantage of having all my LP's in a heavy outer plastic cover.

I am preparing this album for the British Jazz blog that specialises in music from the 1950's however in the process of restoration of this extremely noisy LP I became aware of how important a good wet cleaning was in the restoration of vinyl's.  you can only do so much in the digital de-noising department, if you have a clean LP, freshly washed, the job becomes very much easier, and the results far superior, especially if you use any of the auto-declickers, these tend to smear the sound, and the harder they have to work, the more likely it is the music will lose vital components.

I am not going to post the album here, far too much jazz already, I want to redress the balance to Folk as soon as I can, but folk or jazz the cleaning process is the same, so these examples of "Before, During and After" taken on one specific track will show what can be achieved.


Vinyl cleaning demo Chris Barber Band Box (Lansdowne vol 1) 1959

This LP has been played on many different systems, but fortunately it has not been played with a worn stylus and has always been handled carefully when being played. There are a few minor light scratches and a few of the usual foreign bodies stuck fast in the grooves that have so far resisting the wet washing operation and look like requiring local treatment with solvents.

So at this stage to check the improvment after a wet wash, I did the first rip after the use of an ordinary dust-bug to remove years of dust. (Rip 1: Raw)

The second rip was done after a fist stage wet clean, the LP was soaked an a warm detergent solution, the lable protected with two large washers and a bolt (rather like a huge pot mender) Who remembers those? after 5 minutes soaking, the playing surfaces were sponged down with a micro-fibre cloth, wetted in the detergent solution, the sponging followed the grooves a few times round on each side, then the LP was rinsed off with cold water and allowed to dry in a warm room. (Rip 2:)

The third rip was after the application of noise reduction using Adobe Audition, and Sound forge with the glitch finder to locate the unwanted clicks, these were then manually re-drawn to approximate the waveform by comparing with adjacent waveforms. Finally intensive listening to locate any other oddities like noise bursts from detritus in the grooves and thumps caused by click editing, after this fine tuning the track was converted to MP3 with LAME 3.90 (this has the best frequency response) at 320k full stereo. (Rip 3:)

All rips were given a pass over with the rumble filter also a slight reduction of residual hum from the pre-amp to ensure there was no rolling in the waveform level due to low frequency artifacts.

The final release comes after a deep level click/glitch analysis and removal. (Rip 4:)

What Next:

I think a detailed look at the remaining detritus in the grooves that has resisted the wet clean, perhaps some gentle solvents, and a soft artists brush applied to the grooves while the turntable is rotating, angle the brush like a chisel so it's bristles gently dig into the groove tends to get the last bits out and reduce the amount of digital work required for the final copy.

Compare the recordings, specially 1 & 2, you should hear the vast improvment the wet wash makes, compare these with the 3rd & 4th rips and enjoy an almost CD like quality, from this 50 year old LP.

No tweeking, no fiddles, just cleaning, both physical and electronic, and the way the LP was recorded, a Joe Meek special.
LP Cleaning DEMO  Download:- Here

1 comment:

cvllos said...

Dear friend Gonzo,
aside the quality of the theme, I aplaude your iniciative to show to us both sides of diggiting before and after.
BTW, a friend of mine, prefers to clean the vinyl by aplying antistatic fluid. Laura Dearborn mentions this too and recommends one named Nitty Gritty, if I'm not wrong.