Meeting Topic: Audio Restoration in the 21st Century
Moderator Name: Robert Auld, Auldworks
Speaker Name: Doug Pomeroy, Seth B. Winner, Andreas Meyer and Bob Shuster
Meeting Location: The New School, NYC
To close out the season of meetings for the AES NY Section, a very lively and jam-packed room at The New School participated in a very interesting discussion. In attendance were many of the professional audio industry's leaders, including Jerry Bruck, Jim Anderson, Dave Hewitt and Don Wershba.
Jonathan Abrams, incoming AES NY Section Chairman, introduced the host, AES NY Committee member Robert Auld, who in turn introduced the distinguished panel: Doug Pomeroy, Seth B. Winner, Andreas Meyer and Bob Shuster, all of whom have been vital contributors to the recording and audio restoration communities for many years.
Mr. Auld began with a brief demonstration, playing an orchestral recording that had been picked up with one mediocre microphone at the rear of the venue, with severe noise and EQ problems. He then showed how effective the Har-Bal equalizer software program was in resolving the EQ problems of the original recording.
Next was Doug Pomeroy's turn. He explained everything from checking the pitch on a Louis Armstrong recording to tightening up splices on a John Hammond master. Doug also explained the benefits of sum and difference monitoring for determining the best playback of an archived recording.
Then came Seth B. Winner, with an audio and visual demonstration of the clean-up and transfer process of a Vitaphone disk from the 1920's, using the Keith Monks machine, Kodak's "Photo Flow" chemicals , and a bevy of other items which are now becoming increasingly difficult to acquire, in order to do audio restoration work.
Andreas Meyer presented a somewhat different perspective, as a classically trained musician, turned engineer and a record company employee during the hey-day of Sony Music Studios.
Mr. Meyer spoke of the importance of documentation, as well as playing examples of restored classical, jazz and pop recordings.
Another very interesting perspective was offered by Bob Shuster, who has provided technical maintenance services over the years to an impressive list of world-renowned studios, including Media Sound and Power Station, as well as Sony. He explained the difficulties in maintaining the equipment, some of which has not been manufactured in more than 20 years.
The meeting concluded with a very interesting Q and A. It is apparent that our need to restore and preserve our audio treasures is not only important and vital to our culture, but requires all the resources we can provide.
Written By: James Williamson, Chairman Emeritus, AES NY Section