Tuesday, October 25, 2016

D4 and more

I've digitized about 35 vinyl albums since I set up my Numark TTusb turntable next to the desk in my office three weeks ago.

I retrieved my 30-year-old Discwasher system from a box in the garage a couple of weeks ago and have just about exhausted the 1.24 fluid ounce bottle of D4 fluid that was about a third full when I opened it for the first time in three decades. I was happy to discover that D4 Discwasher fluid is still available, the company having been taken over by RCA, and I ordered three bottles of the stuff from Amazon.com. I just got a text message informing me that my purchase has been shipped.

I also got a little deeper into the features of Audacity, the free software that I use to digitize my albums and turn them into mp3 files.

I digitized a crude little six-song album by the Delphi High School swing choir, recorded sometime in 1962. The name of the ensemble was the Top 20 because we (I was in it for my junior and senior years) were presumably the top 20 voices in the school choir. The recording is monaural and very low quality, but I dutifully sent mp3 copies to all of the Top 20 alums who expressed an interest.

I revisited the project this morning and achieved a dramatic improvement in sound quality using the noise reduction feature of Audacity. The I tried a trick my recording engineer son Sean taught me years ago: I copied the single mono track to create a second channel. Then I selected the right channel and inverted the sound waves. The effect is a simulation of stereophonic sound. Pretty cool, huh?

I emailed the cleaned up and stereo-ified tracks to my friends, noting that this is undoubtedly the best that recording ever sounded. I won't rule out further tweaks, but I'd done fiddling with it for now.

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