isolating and re-equalizing the guitar on a 1 track audio file

My grandmother plays in an old timey band, complete with fiddles, guitars and piano. Recently she recorded one of their concerts using a cassette recorder, but they placed the recorder too close to the guitar amp and on the recording the guitar is overpowering the rest of the band.

Now she is asking her geeky grandchild (me) to “fix” it, and I have no idea how. I know I can record the audio to WAV format and remove the hiss through the use of Sound Forge or some other software, but isolating and re-equalizing the guitar on a 1 track audio file? :confused:

Can this be done?

Probably not in a practical sense. A mixer or the digital equivalent in software can separate sounds by frequency or time, but it sounds like you have several instruments at the same time all sharing the same frequency range on the same track. I doubt if this exercise will be worth your time unless you are a glutton for punishment or frustration.

Next time at least record in stereo, with dissimilar instruments on one side (bass and fiddle, for example). Then you might have a fighting chance of separating them for editing. Of course, multitrack is the way to go, and such equipment isn’t expensive nowdays. Consider it if you’re going to do this often.

Yeah, you’re basically SOL. The only thing I can think of that might make it sound a bit better would be the use of multiband dynamics processing. Basically a compressor/limitor that works on specific frequency ranges. Try isolating the guitar frequencies and hard limiting them. I’m not saying it’s going to help much, but if nothing else, you get to learn why never to record everything to a tape like that.

No. Sorry.

If you had the gear I guess you could try what Flander suggests but the result would sound a bit odd.

Your description suggests grannie just used a ghetto-blaster plonked down on the stage(?) If so this was never going to give you a decent recording. Any chance on borrowing some semi-pro kit for her and teaching her how to read a vu meter?

Thanks all.

That’s it exactly. I’ll just take this opportunity to remind everyone that I had nothing to do with the recording… I’m just supposed to “fix it” :slight_smile:

I’ll suggest to her that if her band wants to do some recording in the future, they get some proper equipment or hire someone for the night. However, the average age of this group is 70’ish so they’re doing pretty good just to get some mics and a few amps on stage.

Thanks to all that answered. Time to give grannie a call.

(what everyone else said)…

BUT; it can’t hurt to try, can it? If you’ve got SoundForge there are some very good filters available; get a band-pass filter or other parametric-eq and play around with it. You’re never going to turn it into the most brilliant of recordings but if you can notch out some of the guitar, it may well be an improvement.

The problem with that is that other aspects of the music (the vocals mainly) more than likely share someof the same frequency range as the guitar. Notching the guitar will also affect the vocals in the same way(and anthing else such as snare sound and stuff). It’s worth a try, if nothing else, to familiarize yourself with your favorite audio app. The best way to start would be to output the recorders headphones jack into your soundcard and record from there. If possible, set your application to record to at least 44.1/32 bit. The higher bit depth will save your audio when doing effects processing. Once you’re done playing, you could just burn it to a CD or something, preferabley .wav format, though there are other lossless compression formats. But whatever.

Remember: “You can’t polish a turd into a diamond”.