Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Indulgence

Once again, you'll have to pardon my straying from the pure and simple and into the realm of whatever distracts me for the moment.  I ripped another 78 tonight, and this one is a whole horse of a different color from last night's affair.  Pinning down a date for this one is a bit tough, though.  I found 1908, 1910 and 1911, all of which I'm sure are correct, but I'm not certain exactly which release or take I've got here.  This is a massive single-sided 12" record that spins at 78 RPM on the Victrola label.  After I'd played with the EQ, I did a bit of compression on it, so it plays at something closer to a uniform volume all the way through.  Before I did that, the quiet parts were really too quiet, and the two loud spots were too loud and had what I think was some sort of groove wear in them, too.  I think it sounds better now.  But I just can't get over the fact that this record is 100 years old and I played it!  And to think I almost didn't pay the exorbitant sum of $3 when I found this at the thrift store.  That's way too much for an old 78!  Please be my guest and download a sample copy of Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Contralto With Orchestra-Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night) (Christmas Hymn) (Victrola 88138).  Again, comments, critiques, suggestions, complaints, concerns, all are welcome.


Big thanks to all of you who gave me some feedback on yesterday's post.  I tried using the EQ software from the ClickRepair folks, but I didn't think it sounded as good as the stuff from Audacity.  I didn't know enough about it to change the default settings, so I'll have to go back to it at some point once I have a better idea of what I'm doing.  I did notice that when I ran this file through ClickRepair, it had to do a lot less work than the one from yesterday, so maybe that crack was adding to the noise.  I still need to work on cleaning these things before I record them.  I'm still a little afraid of them, so I am treating them like eggshells.  I think I have the tracking force set at 2.5 grams.  The needle itself on the tonearm looks to my eyes to be cocked a little to one side, but I don't see a way to adjust that.  I wonder if the tonearm itself is bent?  That's what I get for buying pawn shop record players.  And as far as taking pictures of the labels instead of scanning them, I'll have to give it a try.  Maybe I can make it work for something that small.  Shooting LP covers that way never works out very satisfactorily.  I'll try to post a before and after sample soon, too, as soon as I get a better handle on what I'm doing.


Mr Walker said...

Wow... 100 years old.
It really sounds good. When she hit those high notes, they jumped right out at me.

Buster said...

Sounds good, but there is quite a bit of low frequency noise - probably hum and rumble. Do you have the turntable grounded? Also, it could stand some more boost from about 1K to 4K, at which point the frequency response rolls off. This will make the surface noise more evident, but it also will sound more open. See what you think of this:

Lee Hartsfeld said...

I agree with Buster--a little muffled and too much rumble. Buster's reworking works for me.

Best to cut the low-frequencies as a matter of course on acoustical (and early electric) 78s. I cut just about everything from 80 Hz and below. I think it's essential to EQ with headphones and to up the volume on quieter spots as a rumble check. I use "rumble" as a catch-all term for any unwatned low-freq. gunk.

For a second attempt, fabulous!

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Osop. I mean, oops.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Oh, and 2.5 seems way too light for 78s. Do you know the vertical tracking force range on your 78 stylus? I speak as one who tracks at about 8 (!) grams for shellac.