Removing pops from old records

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jkowtko
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Removing pops from old records

Post by jkowtko »

I recorded an old LP from the 50's -- had lots of scratches and pops on it. The pop/click tool in Goldwave seems to do an okay job at reducing these ... was wondering if anyone out there knows of better ways to deal with this.

Thanks. John
JackH
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Post by JackH »

There are many different programs that deal with pops and clicks. Everyone has their favorites; I use DC6 along with GoldWave, but there are many others. I recommend searching this forum, and doing some general internet searching on the subject.

One thing I've found that's true of audio restoration in general, not just click/pop removal... every recording is different, and no one solution works on everything.
audioman
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Post by audioman »

Hi,
One that works very for me is called DePopper (www.depopper.com) it depops AND decliks. Not only is it good but it's reasonably priced as well---around $18.00.
For general noise reduction and other actions, GoldWave is the best, so you may want to use DePopper in conjunction with GoldWave.
Hope this helps,
Fred
DougDbug
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Post by DougDbug »

I use Wave Repair ($30 USD). It can do an amazing job of removing "ticks" and "pops", by replacing the defect with the just-preceeding few-milliseconds of sound (and a couple of other tricks). If a particular defect shows-up in only one stereo-channel, it can replace the defect with a few milliseconds from the opposite channel. This usually works quite well with stereo records, and if your older record is mono, it should work even better (assuming you've recorded it in stereo).

The only downside to Wave Repair is that it can be very time consuming. For best results, you need to find and select all of the defects manually. More than once, I've spent a full weekend fixing-up an LP.

The worst defects can be eliminated or reduced, but it's not perfect. And, the results are never quite "CD quality". There can be some background crackle, repair artifacts, etc. (The big defects are often easier to find & repair than the small defects.).

The author of Wave repair also has another website with lots of advice about transfering records, and he even recommends a few other de-popping tools.

P.S.
Over the weekend, I read a review of an audio restoration program called iZotope. The reviewer was very impressed, but the "home version" is $350 USD!!!!! :shock:
DewDude420
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Post by DewDude420 »

iZotope is not a program persay...but they're a company that makes a lot of audio plugins. They've had a vinyl-simulator that's been fun to play with in the past.

I have however played with the Izotope RX package and I will say...it's utterly amazing. It has some of THE BEST noise-reduction I've ever messed with..the spectral repair function isn't bad either.

I've tried it's click removal...but it wasn't something that I jumped up and down for joy over.

Quite honestly...my personal favorite vinyl declicker is an Audition plugin called ClickFix. It cost $35 for the plugin (or 10% of the cost of the application needed to run it), and it's the fastest and most accurate click-repair I've ever used, sure, I have to go and do some additonal clean-up after it, but that's never been a big issue..it doesn't miss much.

Goldwave's auto pop/click is rather simplistic..it uses interpolation to remove a click where as ClickFix (and probably some other applications) attempt to "repair" the actual wave..and it does a pretty good job of creating a section of waveform to repair it.

I have, in the past, been able to fix a record in about an hour using a combo of ClickFix processing and then stuffing the Sony NR package and a few other things into mastering rack...took it down to a basically two-step process (apply clickfix, run mastering rack). The results were mixed...and euventually I changed my method by doing pop/click filtering on the entire file, and then applying NR only on the fading and silent sections because, most of the time the volume of the music is much higher than the noise-floor.

Sadly to say, I've had this "new" laptop for about a month or so and I've yet to install my audio applications...I just now got the RAM upgrade for it so I should be able to start screwing around with stuff soon (I hate editing audio on less than 2 gigs)
mh
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Post by mh »

You've probably guessed by now that there is no single best way, and that every one of us who does this has our own personal favourites, that are tried and tested for us.

I tend towards a combination of methods, and have recently been doing the same as DewDude - only NR'ing the silent bits. I also focus only on the major defects, with the reasoning being that a transfer of a noisy LP would have so many minor defects that it would be too difficult (or even impossible) to fix them without ruining the sound.

Couple of things I do:

- I never Pop/Click the entire file. I've found that certain instrumental passages (particularly in the late 70s/early 80s post-punk 45s and LPs I mainly work on) have serious distortion and artefacts introduced.

- I always use a 40 Hz Steepness 5 Highpass on the entire file - I find this can be helpful in opening up the sound (again, bearing in mind that my musical choice is not known for it's stellar production values), and it reduces a lot of visual "fuzz" in the waveform, allowing me to home in on the real defects without being distracted by things I won't even hear anyway.

- Manual repair of individual big pops is the only way. There is no "one size fits all" solution. Sometimes I copy from one channel to another, sometimes GW's Interpolate works fine, sometimes I crossfade and mix before/after the pop, sometimes Pop/Click works fine, sometimes I just delete the section containing the pop, sometimes I can copy from elsewhere in the song. It's different for each one, and you need to practice, listen and compare.

- Scanning for volume maximums can help you find pops, but some of the most annoying ones can peak nowhere near the maximum, you need to listen.

- Learn to trust your ears; if it sounds alright that's probably because it is, no matter how the wave appears on-screen.

- Get a decent pair of headphones and listen on those, crappy PC speakers just do not cut it where this job is concerned.

- When doing NR I tend to remove frequencies above about 1 KHz from the noise pattern. NR can do serious damage to high frequencies if applied clumsily.

- Small and subtle filtering in incremental steps is far far better than a single big heavy filter; the tonal quality of the original will have a better chance of surviving the process.

- A clean record (get a good cleaning machine if you can), a good TT, good cartridge and clean stylus, and a decent phono stage will give you much better results than any amount of digital filtering applied to a transfer from an el-cheapo source.


Something I don't do yet but will be trying: Boosting the treble will accentuate the noise. So run an inverse RIAA, then clean that (as above), then bring the treble back down.


Finally, I'd recommend getting your ears checked out. Seriously. How good your hearing is will have a large bearing on how effectively you can do this job, and it will be beneficial elsewhere in life as well! :D
DewDude420
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Post by DewDude420 »

One thing I've found that's true of audio restoration in general, not just click/pop removal... every recording is different, and no one solution works on everything.
i meant to respond to this a few days ago....but..seriously..the same goes for mastering. hell...even the type of tape used calles for sometimes much different approaches.
Learn to trust your ears; if it sounds alright that's probably because it is, no matter how the wave appears on-screen.
This is so true..however, I've found often times there are slight pops or imperfections you will NEVER be able to isolate looking at the waveform...I would know, I've spent many many hours trying to get some little low-frequency pop out of a file that i could hear but couldn't isolate.

The truth is..sometimes waveform doesn't cut it, and this is where goldwave kind of lacks as it only gives you a waveform to edit by...audition is much more suited for any "serious/hardcore" restoration becuase it lets you view by not only a spectrial display, but phase variations as well..and sometimes that little sound you can hear but can't see will show up in these view modes.

Filtering below 40hz is a good idea..and often times, if you can do phase-processing on lower frequencies only, you can remove a lot of turntable associated rumble and noise.

If at all possible...get a preamp that does not do RIAA equalization, and apply an FFT or EQ filter that will allow you to run a modified curve...a lot of times analog preamps aren't exactly 100% accurate in thier curves.
I never Pop/Click the entire file. I've found that certain instrumental passages (particularly in the late 70s/early 80s post-punk 45s and LPs I mainly work on) have serious distortion and artefacts introduced.
This is the same for ANY declicker. Most of the good ones come with a musical-transient rejection filter for this purpose...when you start doing REAL agressive filtering, it starts thinking that transients need to be removed. I quite commonly run the ENTIRE FILE using a gentle filter and then going after the areas that need more agressive stuff.

if anyone wants to hear a sample of my work..just say so..i'll find a place to upload it.
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