Restore your audio

Once you have a sound file to work with, you can apply processes to reduce the noise, cut the file into individual tracks, and produce the desired end product. The software on this site is specialised to the tasks of noise reduction. For all other editing tasks, an audio editor, and possibly burning software, is needed. More detailed information about the types of noise is given in another set of pages on this site.

Reduce or remove?

You may wonder why not "remove" the noise rather than "reduce" it. That this is impossible is easy to see. Some of the audio information has been permamently lost either by overwriting short sections with clicks, or by mixing the whole of it with hiss, rumble, etc. Nothing can reconstruct what has been lost with 100% certainty. There is an inevitable trade-off between reducing perceived noise whilst minimising perceived new artefacts that were not present in the original. With probability theory and statistics nothing can be 100% certain unless one already knows the answer - ie, possesses the original!

Audio editors

Just as you need a text editing or word processing application to generate and edit text  or word processing documents, so you need an audio editing application to generate and edit sound files. It need not be expensive. Personally, on Mac OS X, I use the inexpensive shareware application Sound Studio. Windows users will find Gold Wave to be an excellent inexpensive solution. Suitable applications also come bundled with some CD/DVD burning software, such as with Toast (for Mac) and Nero (for Windows). The list could go on indefinitely.

Internal formats

All audio editing and processing software uses its own internal format chosen by the developers for their purpose. This means that all software converts audio stored in a file from the file format to the internal format, when opening the file, and then converts it back to a file format when saving. My restoration software uses 25 bit internal processing, so as to incur no loss of resolution when processing 16 or 24 bit files.

Work flow

The work flow is not complicated, but it does involve several steps, which must be performed carefully if you want to achieve the best results:

• Play the record, with the computer set up to record (capture) to an audio file.
• Declick the audio files next (instructions and reasons are given in the manual).
• Perform other noise reduction, such as hiss, rumble or hum, as necessary.
• Use an audio editor to split the file into individual tracks/songs.
• Archive the tracks to the desired audio format.

Keep in mind that, with only a used record and domestic audio equipment, you cannot expect to duplicate the results of professional re-mastering of the original source material. Nevertheless, you may be surprised at the quality of some of the sample files to this site.