Monday, February 26, 2007

Unscratch That

Interesting things happen on the fringes, ecologically, culturally. The most interesting things to have happened in one narrow corner of the narrow world of sound restoration--which is of excruciating importance to those who practice it--have come from International Falls, Minnesota, where the young inventor Jeffery Klein produced his near-miraculous ClickFix, an add-on for Adobe Audition that is vastly superior to the larger program's native abilities. I've found, through digitizing and repairing dozens of scratched LPs, most more than 30 years old, that ClickFix seldom errs (and then on the conservative side), while other add-ons of its kind tend to strip off high end sounds as well as clicks and pops.

This flaw has clearly engaged Australian inventor Brian Davies, a mathematician by day, who applied his skills to an algorithm-driven goodie called Click Repair. Watching it work on a Mac is an exercise in applied theology, at least of a kind: there on the spectroscope, good sound surrounds bad, overwhelms it, chews it up, spits it out--all neatly summarized by a numerical report at the end of the process. The high end remains high, and Click Repair includes a setting for pitch protection for extra care in dealing with brass and other surging sounds.

I've been using both with great success, reviving near-extinct music that I haven't listened to in decades and that now resides on CDs, iPods, and other modern wizardry.

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