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Transferring 78rpm records

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Transferring 78rpm records

Postby Ramirez » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:49 am

Afternoon all,

I've got a bunch of old Welsh language 78s here that I'd like to transfer digitally. I've fitted a suitable stylus to my Pro-Ject turntable, and did a test recording of the first out of the box. Here we are:

https://soundcloud.com/sbrigynymborth/g ... ve/s-xiUlu

Clearly, the noise and crackle are quite extreme. Is this part and parcel of transferring such old shellac records, or are there great improvements to be had by cleaning the records some way or other? Could it be that the turntable/tonearm/cartridge is not setup correctly?

The recordings are mono, but the cartridge outputs stereo. Naturally, there is only noise/crackle present in the sides signal, so removing that has made a fair bit of difference, but as you can hear it is still very present!

I'm not expecting miracles, I'd just like to know what's realistically feasible with these things before resorting to software processing.

Aled
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby James Perrett » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:10 pm

It doesn't sound too bad (for a 78) to me. Much of that noise is above the useful frequency range of a 78 so a simple low pass filter would help if you don't have any decent software processing. However, I seem to remember that you have a copy of Audition and, if so, it should be able to remove most of those crackles for you.
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby Ramirez » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:20 pm

James Perrett wrote:It doesn't sound too bad (for a 78) to me. Much of that noise is above the useful frequency range of a 78 so a simple low pass filter would help if you don't have any decent software processing. However, I seem to remember that you have a copy of Audition and, if so, it should be able to remove most of those crackles for you.

Thanks James. A low-pass set around 8kHz does indeed improve things, without getting in the way of the wanted audio too much.

I don't have Audition, but I'll have a look at what Reaper has beyond what I normally use.

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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby James Perrett » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:56 pm

Ramirez wrote:I don't have Audition, but I'll have a look at what Reaper has beyond what I normally use.

I don't think that Reaper has anything that would help. RX Elements is probably the cheapest way to get decent de-click software at the moment (I think they're doing a $99 offer at the moment although it goes even cheaper sometimes).
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby ken long » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:38 pm

Agree with James: it sounds good!

I would simply suggest keeping a master file of the unprocessed transfer should you have access to better NR in future.
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby ken long » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:51 pm

Ramirez wrote: Could it be that the turntable/tonearm/cartridge is not setup correctly?


You could play them back using the correct EQ. Search for Decca EQ turnover values.
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby Ramirez » Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:05 pm

Thank you gents. I'm reasonably happy as is, and I'm not doing anything destructive to the original transfers, so I can always go back.

I'm enjopying listening to them anyway - here's a series of 3 records of Welsh folk: https://soundcloud.com/sbrigynymborth/s ... ry/s-bC13X

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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby Dynamic Mike » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:12 am

Try to imagine it's the crackling sound of a welcoming Welsh fireside hearth & it ceases to be annoying. Unless you've been visited by Meibion Glyndŵr...

I'd leave it as is personally, there's plently on the Vocalion label in this condition, but also some restored versions that have had the life 'restored' out of them. Now where's that Pennies from Heaven DVD boxed set?
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby ef37a » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:46 am

If the Samplitude Pro X3 Bargain Bundle is still on offer there is some stonking cleanup software in that.

Had a harken and a bit of a play with Sam's de-crackler but I don't have the experience not to alter the original sound . To be honest the noises did not bother me so much as the distortion on peaks? Might be a tracking error but IIRC 78s were pretty hot! Maybe the pre amp front end is overloading? Job for a Quad valve jobbie?

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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby John Willett » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:22 am

ef37a wrote:If the Samplitude Pro X3 Bargain Bundle is still on offer there is some stonking cleanup software in that.

Yes, it's still on offer - I got another e-mail from them yesterday. :thumbup:
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:54 am

I agree the basic transfer sounds fine. Declicking really helps though. It's the basic "restoration" tool for 78's and these days can be bought for very little. Declick first before any low pass filtering. Maybe try a couple of demo Declickers.
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:21 pm

I recently cleaned up some old cassette tapes that sounded very hissy and crackly quite well using RX Elements plugins, it's pretty effective for the price. You could always download and use it in trial mode for free:

For the first 10 days after installation, an unauthorized plug-in can run in Trial mode, which offers full functionality with no restrictions*. After 10 days, the plug-in will continue to run in Demo mode. In Demo mode, the plug-in's output will mute briefly every 40 seconds. Aside from this periodic silence, there are no other limitations in Demo mode, and both Trial and Demo mode offer the same feature set as the authorized plug-in.

*Saving and Exporting will be disabled for standalone applications, such as RX 6 and Ozone 7, in Trial and Demo mode.

But I agree that you've done very well so far and there's some lovely music there, thanks for the link.

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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby Ramirez » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:12 pm

I think this is my favourite so far! https://soundcloud.com/sbrigynymborth/s ... es/s-WzPuw

They're all tunes I remember from my childhood... to hear them played by the LSO is quite something! Magic.

I wonder how much hassle it would be to get them re-released on my own little label...

Thanks for the further comments - I think iZotope RX Elements could be a worthwhile investment.

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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby jimjazzdad » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:43 pm

If you want to dabble in Reaper, try the ReaFir plug in. Use the "Subtract" mode and grab a sample of the record noise by itself (lead-in or lead-out grooves). Subtractive EQ, used judiciously, can be quite effective. There are several YouTube videos about ReaFir. The best free click removal tool I have found is in Audacity. You could process the crackle in Reaper and then master in Audacity for pop/click removal and final normalization. I do this quite a bit when digitizing records for broadcast on my community radio station. Best of luck!
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:45 pm

Andrew Rose has been transferring 78's and selling the digital version for a few years now. There's even an SOS article about him at

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... recordings
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Re: Transferring 78rpm records

Postby forumuser840717 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:08 pm

Ramirez wrote:I think this is my favourite so far! https://soundcloud.com/sbrigynymborth/s ... es/s-WzPuw

They're all tunes I remember from my childhood... to hear them played by the LSO is quite something! Magic.

If you like the piece there's quite a good vinyl version of the Williams on a record from MFP in 1969 by the NYOW with Arthur Davison. And another by Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by Andrew Penny on Marco Polo from about 1999/2000ish.

The LSO/Mansell Thomas version is public domain and available all over the place but there's also a 1974 LSO version with Charles Groves which was on HMV but might be easier to find on a 1995 Lyrita CD re-issue.

The Beeb also had a good version available from a live concert at St David's Hall a couple of years ago with the BBCNoW under Tecwyn Evans. They also did a rather good performance of her Trumpet Concerto and and not so great performance of the Missa Cambrensis.

Not that I'm a bit of a Grace Williams fan or anything. :beamup:
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