Bonanza-Studios - restoration and archive in association with AppleCrackers = Mac savvy presents BSR Turntable circa 1970

Home Recording Workshop

Vinyl, Tape, and Cassette Restoration Why? There are a lot of interesting records which for various reasons have not been commercially restored. These can be quite cheap. How? Turntable, Reel to Reel, Computer, sound card, amplifier, CDWR
Disclaimer: Copyright is not at issue here. Conversion of material for personal use is accepted. The ownership and liability of its use
(i.e. the material to be encoded) is strictly placed with the original source.
Retro - Record PlayerHave Vinyl
Listen with the New:

Steepletone Retro
Record Player with  33/45/78 rpm turntable
MW/FM stereo radio

R.R.P 60 see CPC

An example - Instrumental groups from the 1950/60s. "The Fentones"  The group made several 45 rpm singles but they are difficult to find. Some are now available on CD, but if you have the original 45 rpm record - Answer - have the ability to restore it. Another interesting area is the restoration of 78 rpm disks, assuming you have a player. I believe this is an area which can be ligitmately approached by the restorer.

There are many records which are available cheap from charity shops in the UK and with a little work can be returned to a qualititative specification.  Mel Blanc singing "I'm glad to be Bugs Bunny", This one in my view is worth the effort as the end product can give tremendous pleasure to those who remember the man and great fun to a generation who don't yet know of his skill. See the Sample Sounds folder.
So far I have some experience (17 years) in digitising and converting analogue sound to most audio formats. Restoring demonstration discs from the original (shellac or vinyl) 78 / 45/ 33 rpm. Cassette and Reel to Reel (3 , 7, 15 ips).

Once digitised and restored conversion to different audio formats can be useful, depending on how you intend to play back your restored file. However, for the serious archivist reduction to mp3 seems to me useful and has be come the default. Items such as home concerts, school plays which are often lengthy are best stored in an encrypted manner. Mp3 is powerful encryption tool for just this purpose.

Some Hints / Tips for the would be sound archivist

You will need some form of audio editing program

If you don't want to get another mortgage for the program. Consider the following:
CoolEdit 96, CoolEditPro2.1, CoolEdit Pro2.1
(still works under XP probably Vista/Win7)
Note: Cool Edit pro has now been bought out by Adobe and rebadged as "Audition".

DART pro, (30 day evaluation)

Anvil Studio ™  A free full featured audio/midi studio for the PC. See Sample Sounds for demo.

Macintosh machines come with Garage Band installed.

ID3 is a metadata container most often used in conjunction with the MP3 audio file format. Although there are some prorgams to enable you to do this in bulk, under MS Windows, the properties box suffices.

An alternative
metadata container
The Radio Industry Standard (RIFF).
But be warned not all users can read it.

Graphic/display file use, under the Windows system, it is possible to place a graphic file in the folder containing your mp3 files to display. Using Windows Media Player all that is required is a suitable size (500 x 500 pixels avg.) and the file renamed to "folder", e.g. folder.jpg.
Set WMP to Album Art. It is also possible to embed the graphic file into each mp3 file. Tho this can be time consuming.

You can not make a silk purse out of a sows ear. The better the quality you can start with the less you will have to do to restore it to achieve reasonable sound quality.

The aim of the restorer is to reproduce the original with fidelity, not add to it. (It will take time there are no short cuts!)

When digitising an analogue source start with the highest possible sound quality e.g. a 78 record may be very scratchy and sound awfully low fidelity. But it is easier to reduce the band width later than to attempt to raise it.

Where  possible create a stereo image (same data on both tracks) for compatibility (for use on modern equipment.)
*In some cases it is possible to improve mono records to stereo, however, be careful, it does not always work well; be selective.

Mp3 comes into its own
100Mb file will often only take up 10Mb.
A 2 min file (40Mb wav) may only take up 2Mb at a suitable compression rate.
128 kbps (Internet usage),

160Kbps (Near CD quality),

192Kbps (CD quailty),
256Kbps (slight over kill)
320Kbps (definate over kill)
Avoid VBR (Variable Bit Rate) unless you have good reason for wanting a small file.
Remember to insert your ID3 tags - so much more fun!

Most modern sound cards will digitise at 44 or 48 kilocycles ("Hertz" if it you prefer) at 16/32 bits.

If you are lucky enough to own a Mac digitise your sound files to AIFF.

If you have a PC limited to WAV format, find a codec. AIFF still has an edge, in my opinon.
  1. Remember Tidy up the Beginning and the End first (It's amazing how tolerant the human ear is if these two are ok)
  2. Look for any big clicks/pops and tidy these up next, then work your way through the sound file carefully.
  3. Don't be tempted to a wholesale noise reduction, despite what the programmers say. The best results are achieved through manual detective work.
  4. Save regularly - Yes I know its obvious, but there is nothing worse than losing several hours work.
  5. When you are satisfied and you can not remove any further pops/clicks, then look at what filtering might be applied to re-dress any losses. (This is often where old records really do come to life).
  6. Happy with the result? Archive it, AIFF or WAV. See *
  7. Only when you are satisfied; compress to MP3.
Mp3 = MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (Moving Picture Experts Group) Kbps = Kilobits per second

Bonanza Studios - Essex  - UK (updated 01/02/2013)