New York AES Section Blog

Past Event: Audio Restoration in the 21st Century

June 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Location: The New School for Jazz Performance, 5th floor 55 West 13 Street, New York, NY, USA

Moderated by: Robert Auld, AuldWorks

Speaker(s): Doug Pomeroy, Pomeroy Audio; Seth B.Winner, Seth B. Winner Studios; Andreas Meyer, Meyer Media; Bob Shuster, Shuster Sound

 Join us for a Meet & Greet at 6:30pm

Presentation at 7:00pm
The New School for Jazz Performance
5th floor
55 West 13 Street
between 5th & 6th Avenues
New York, NY

When it comes to audio restoration, it is the best of times and it is the worst of times (with apologies to Charles Dickens). The increasing capabilities of computers and audio software make it possible to restore historical and damaged sound recordings in ways that were not possible before.  Not only can we remove clicks, pops and hiss (while producing less in the way of unwanted artifacts than previously), but now even discrete, unwanted sounds, like audience coughs in live concerts or other background noises, can be excised with little or no effect on desired program material.  Previously insoluble problems with pitch can be fixed, even the frequency response and phase issues of old microphones and recording methods can be addressed to a surprising degree.  Compared to the limitations of analog methods of restoration, the digital revolution is a big improvement.

And yet, we are in danger of losing access to our recorded heritage.  The tape and disc  players that allowed high quality playback of older audio formats are no longer made, are becoming older, replacement parts are becoming unavailable and, most important, the expertise to keep the machines running is dying off as the generation that built and maintained them passes from the scene.  The major record labels that made most analog recordings have been reorganized out of recognition, with most of the institutional memory of giants like RCA, Columbia, EMI, etc., disappearing into faceless corporate conglomerates. In the United States, existing copyright law makes the issuing of newly discovered historical material a legal nightmare.  Copyright issues are handled somewhat better in the European Union, but we don't live there.

Join us on June 11th, when the monthly meeting of the New York AES section will discuss these issues, with the help of an expert panel of audio engineers from varied corners of the industry. 

View Official Meeting Report

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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