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Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

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Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby jellyjim » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:52 pm

Hello

So, a lovely, lovely man who teaches me to sing and has helped me find confidence in my voice I never imagined I'd have - by inviting me to join his choir - asked me if I could clean up his old audio recordings.

He's given me an enormous amount of his time, most without charge, and he's a hugely talented and natural musician (whose musical legacy deserves to be documented) so I said of course I'd love to ... only then did it occur to me that he's been making music for at least 40 years and that there's probably an awful lot of it.

Sure enough there's hundreds of tracks! Fortunately they're all in the digital domain though some are just tape dumps so they need to be cut up, but that's straightforward enough.

The real challenge is normalising, reducing noise (in terms of original recording medium they pretty much cover everything since the wax cylinder) and then some kind of mastering polish and finally export to wav and mp3.

I couldn't possibly spend the amount of time it really takes per track (and he wouldn't expect me to) but I'd love to help him out in some way so I'm wondering if there's any software that will do a pretty good job at the click of a button.

I took one track and just used Audacity's built-in normalise and noise reduction filters and a mastering compressor preset and he was impressed by that so his expectations are realistic but it was a pretty clean track anyway and I reckon I can do better than Audacity.

Any help much appreciated.

Jim
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:25 pm

Izotope RX7's Repair Assistant is possibly going to be the closest to an automated solution for the restoration side. I don't know whether Ozone offers anything similar for mastering but I'm not sure that mastering is a particularly good idea for historical material anyway. RX has all the basic eq and normalising functions as well as very good restoration algorithms.
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby uuhh » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:42 pm

audacity's batch processing is actually pretty good and sounds ideal for your usecase. you could probably add some light compression into the chain as well, taking some 'reasonable' values that would work across the material.
https://ttmanual.audacityteam.org/o/man ... ssing.html
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby The Elf » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:56 pm

In these instances it's more often the case of accepting things for what they are... Genuinely 'improving' them is unlikely to involve a one-size-fits-all solution.
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby Tim Gillett » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:38 am

With lots of material it can get tricky. Does he know how much time it might take? Do you? Preservation and presentation are different. What digital format are the recordings on? Just migrating (making copies of) all the files might be a good first move.
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby jellyjim » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:26 am

Thanks all

The sources are wavs exported (ages ago) from an ancient version of Cubase where Cubase was used just as a stereo recorder from various physical formats.

He wants to host them on his website. I think the important issues for him are volume levels and noise.

Yes I take the point about mastering. He hears modern recordings and they’re ‘shiny’’. He’s pretty techy and appreciates the complexity.

As for the time I spend on it; I’m imagining a couple of evenings a week over a few weeks.

Let’s call it two working days.

Jim
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby Tim Gillett » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:07 pm

That sounds manageable. I'd thought they might have been originally recorded to DAT. If they're not great recordings, and as Elf alluded, they may not easily be transformed into something pristine.
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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:19 pm

jellyjim wrote:As for the time I spend on it; I’m imagining a couple of evenings a week over a few weeks.

Let’s call it two working days.

Jim

That does sound like a realistic proposition, and a very fair timescale considering everything he has already done for you :thumbup:


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Re: Normalise, noise reduction, mastering and export one stop shop?

Postby Mixedup » Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:27 am

What they said.

If you're planning on denoising the stuff that's dumped from tape — as in removing tape hiss — do it before you cut the files up. It will save time.
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