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Old 2005-07-19, 03:59 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Astro Intergalactic Infinity
Re: An urgent message about digital noise reduction

Originally Posted by tungarbulb
De-noising is a balancing act. The object is to find the point at which de-noising starts doing more harm than good. Think of it like planing a door to fit a particular doorway. If you very carefully shave off a little wood at a time, you’ll eventually make the door fit properly. Shave off too much wood, and the door will be too small to close properly. Plane the door too fast, and you might gouge the wood. Your digital de-noiser should be set JUST at the point where noise is reduced to a tolerable level and no artifacts have surfaced. A good sound card, amp and headphones will help you a lot. (Most “computer speakers” and built-in sound cards are not suitable for serious audio work, but you already know that.).

Keep the good stuff coming, guys. And I implore you once more, please don’t try to make an old analog recording “sound like a CD”.
Very well said, tungarbulb. It should be noted that booters can be just as bad as us "amateurs": I have a "silver" of a Byrds show that was denoised so heavily it sounds like they are playing underwater! Just completely unlistenable.

I once had somebody send me a tape of a show (Wavy Gravy's 50th Birthday) with a request for me to digitize it. The tape was very high-gen, the hiss made it almost unbearable to listen to, so the first step is to try and locate a better source. Unfortunately in this case it turned out that the show was barely circulated, and the best I could do was to trade for two other tapes, which turned out to be just as bad or worse. I had a decent set-up (Naks, good A/Ds, choice of Samplitude, Cool Edit or Sourceforge), but since Side A was a loud Jorma set followed by an acoustic Garcia and Kahn set, it was a real balancing act. My patron was very happy with the results, but I was upset with with slight "wavery" degradation in Jerry's delicate fingerpicking caused by the denoising. I've never circulated this show because of this, as I am torn as whether to release it in all of it's hissy glory, or to release the denoised version (which I agonized over for about 100 hours), or to wait for (or write myself) some kind of new type of denoising software that does a better job of preserving the underlying music.
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