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Reconstruction of Mechanically Recorded Sound by Image Processing

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Audio information stored in the undulations of grooves in a medium such as a phonograph record may be reconstructed, with no or minimal contact, by measuring the groove shape using precision metrology methods and digital image processing. The effects of damage, wear, and contamination may be compensated, in many cases, through image processing and analysis methods. The speed and data-handling capacity of available computing hardware make this approach practical. Various aspects of this approach are discussed. A feasibility test is reported which used a general-purpose optical metrology system to study a 50-year-old 78- rpm phonograph record. Comparisons are presented with stylus playback of the record and with a digitally remastered version of the original magnetic recording. A more extensive implementation of this approach, with dedicated hardware and software, is considered.

JAES Volume 51 Issue 12 pp. 1172-1185; December 2003
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AES - Audio Engineering Society