I just got hired for the coolest project!

My reputation as an audio restoration pro is getting around. In the last week, I’ve been called out of the blue by two different people to transfer records to CD. The first was a religious album by Brook Benton which had never been reissued since 1961, and has never been on CD. This fellow had been searching for it since then, and finally found one on eBay, and he called me on the recommendation of someone whom I don’t even know personally! When he came to hear the results, his eyes got all misty.

Today, I got another call from a studio in town, run by a guy I worked with a few years ago. He was unequipped to do this project, but he thought of me right away. Someone asked him if they could get three tracks recorded in the early 1950s on 78 RPM acetate discs, by their grandfather, restored and transferred to CD. So now I’m working on removing all the noises from these discs. They are one-of-a-kind recordings of a fellow playing the piano. I doubt anyone has heard them in four decades. Acetates are extremely fragile, and start to wear out after about two plays. These are in pretty rough shape.

The first one took almost three hours to remove all of the scratches, pops and clicks. It sounds pretty darn nice now. The second side is in abysmal shape, and it skips several times because the grooves are damaged. On the bright side, I’ve been able to make clean edits over those areas by taking an identical passage from elsewhere in the song and pasting them in the bad spots. They’ll never know the difference. Somebody is going to be very happy. I hope the old gentleman is still with us to hear the results. I’m not going to get to see his reaction, though. Too bad. I bet it’ll be an emotional scene.

I love my job.

That’s really nifty. I’m not an audio person, and don’t even like music, but someone has to.

Cool story. Make us proud, dammit.

I know the feeling.

I work in a museum, and part of my job is cleaning artifacts. An elderly gentleman donated a car to us from the early 1900s. (Helluva gift, because it’s the only one of its model known to exist.) It was in pretty ratty shape.

We had some local experts strip off the layers of modern paint (when we got it, it was painted with a gawd-awful blue, sparkly paint) and they discovered the original paint at the bottom, and restored it to that color.

I was assigned the brass work. My nickname around work is Buffy the Tarnish Slayer because I’m the Chosen One in these situations, being the only employee who has the patience to do such work. We use an extremely non-abrasive cleaner, so each lamp took about six weeks to clean.

The old man actually wept when he saw the results. All he could say was, “It’s beautiful. Beautiful!” For the past year since it was finished, he’s brought dozens of people to the museum to see it, and whenever I’m there, he points to me with his cane and says, “There’s the little girl who made the brass so shiny.”

For whatever it’s worth, you make me happy. That’s my kind of thing, something I’ve always wanted to be able to do - screw around with analog music. Something from the 365 A Day project or something.

Keep up the good work amigo!

That’s so cool! :cool:

I’m still waiting to find someone around here who has a reel-to-reel that will record to some other source – I have some stuff from my college radio days that I’d love to be able to hear again.

Thanks for the kind words, everybody. Being able to give somebody back a piece of their history is really humbling.

Lissa, you have a really cool job. It sounds like you love it, too.

Misnomer, my e-mail is in my profile. I have a couple of Otari open reel machines at my disposal, if you’re interested.

Whaaaaaa? That’s like saying “I don’t even like food”, or that you don’t like air! I suspect you haven’t been given the right stuff. Hearken thee to Cafe Society.

To the OP:
Coolio. It’s nice having a job you have fun doing. :slight_smile:

I have a ton of vynils and tapes I want to get transferred to CD. Some of them are out in CD version, but I already paid for them, thanks! Plus, sometimes the CD doesn’t have all the songs from the original edition (heathens! heretics!).

Finding someone who’s actually got the patience to do whatever fixing is possible on the bad parts would be amazing!

Thank you, fishbycicle and Lissa. Restoration was my first choice for a career - I’ve never been able to do it except tiny-scale, but I still admire your line of work.

Fishbicycle, you are amazing.
Slight hijack:
Lissa the Tarnish Slayer, you are amazing.

Pretty cool. Enjoy your new gig.

Lissa makes old men cry.

And me too.

Very cool. I’m sure there’s enough work out there to keep you busy like…forever. Hey, do you transfer from reel-to-reel to CD?

Thanks. Yes, there’s an awful lot of work I could be doing. I wish it was for the major labels who are putting out incredibly bad remasters from vinyl as bonus tracks on box sets. That’s where I really want to work. And yes, I do transfers from just about any format (except Edison cylinders - don’t have a player) to CD. If you’d like something transferred, my e-mail is in my profile. I’d be happy to hear from you.

(Someone started a thread on this subject a couple years ago. I was amazed at how many people don’t like music.)

Oh. My. God. This is so awesome. My dad has a bunch of stuff on reel-to-reel (family stuff…nostalgia) and cassette. Be looking for me in your email. Thanks!

Note to Nava: you might be able to find someone to transfer records that are commonly available on CD, but it’s a giant waste of time. You know, why spend hours restoring your original Dark Side Of The Moon when you can pick it up new for $14? It’s an ethics thing. I couldn’t do a project like that for somebody if they could just go buy the CD from the master tapes in pristine quality. On the other hand, if it’s a record that has been out of print for decades and you can’t buy it on CD, that’s project-worthy material.

Thanks for the offer, but I’m hoping to find someone local so that I can hear the source material first and then decide what’s worth transferring. But if I can ever simply listen to this stuff again, I may take you up on it someday. :slight_smile:

Here’s a suggestion on how you might get to hear your tapes, Misnomer. I’m not totally familiar with the radio market near D.C., but is there a public radio station that isn’t WAMU in the area? I’m thinking if it was a somewhat smaller operation, and you called and said you worked in radio X number of years ago, and have some tapes that you have no way to hear. Would they happen to have an open reel machine where you might audition them one afternoon? That might do it for you. Failing that, try a university’s campus station. They may still have an OR machine or two (they are rapidly going the way of the dodo…).

fishbicycle - incredibly cool - sounds like a ton of fun. My drummer, who is also a record producer, has a particular skill at converting normal tracks into 5.1 Surround Sound - he can take the mixes and spread them out in a way that holds onto the essential sound of the song while taking advantage of the extra “space” in the mix of a 5.1.

He is working on The Cure’s Disintegration right now - very fun to be in the studio as he takes apart Pieces of You and then puts it back together…

It’s not that hard to do yourself. I’m old and pretty techno-dumb. I have an iMac™ G-5. I got and iMic™ to hook my turntable and amp to my 'puter. Then I used I used Spin Doctor™ that came bundled with Toast 6 Titanium™. Then I just followed the directions.
The only problem I had was I didn’t change the pause setting in toast, so on the first couple CDs, the last two seconds of each song are at the beginning of the next.
I’m sure someone could walk you through the PC path to the same place.
Good Luck.