Restoration is improving the subjective quality of a (usually old) recording. This is usually about removing unwanted artefacts, but could also be about changing aspects of the wanted sound.
Typically, recordings that need restoration come from 78rpm discs, 33/45rpm vinyl, or analogue tape (including cassette). However, restoration may also benefit recordings from damaged CDs or DATs, or recordings mangled by some other process, such as mp3, ISDN or POTS (Plain Old Telephone System).
Problems such as clicks, crackle, pops, thumps, hum, hiss, distortion, dropouts and speed variation can all be remedied using a variety of sophisticated software from Cedar, Dcart and Soundforge.
Most importantly of all, we have a great deal of experience restoring old recordings for CD release, for broadcast and for private collections. Much of the skill of restoration is about understanding the trade-offs involved. Although some noises can be removed completely and inaudibly, many processes can produce unnatural sounding artefacts when over-used. Balancing noise-reduction against introduction of artefacts is key to good-sounding restoration, and this balance can vary with the timbre and dynamics of the recording, as well as other things. While modern software tools allow significant reduction of unwanted noises, it’s all too easy to get carried away and mangle a recording with them.
In the last few years, a truly remarkable new tool called Retouch has been developed by those experts at Cedar, opening up new possibilities in restoration - [CEDAR RE-TOUCH]