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From the Higgs Boson Particle to Leadbelly

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the looking-for-particles-in-the-songs dept.

Music 194

Roland Piquepaille writes "Physicists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are using the same methods to search for the elusive Higgs Boson particle and to digitally restore audio recordings from the past. Berkeley Lab signed an agreement with the Library of Congress to digitize the many thousands of early blues or jazz recordings it has in its archives. And the results are spectacular. Compare for example, these two versions of "Good Bye Irene", before and after being optically reconstructed (WAV format, 18 and 19 seconds). This news release describes the method used by the physicists. This overview contains other details and extra references about this project." We also covered finding Higgs Boson recently as well.

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fuck me (0, Troll)

News For Turds (580751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903124)

just a little too late.

2nd pr0st33z.

i hate you all! fuck all of you!

Slackware rules! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903128)

Slackware Linux: fast, stable, secure and well designed. Try it today!

They should have used Open Source! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903131)

OS X is closed source. This means that it is the work of the devil - its purpose is to make the end users eat babies.

Linux is the only free OS. Yes the BSD lincenses may appear more free, but as they have no restrictions, they are actually less free than the GPL. You see, restricting the end user more actually makes them more free than not putting restrictions on them. You must be a dumb luser for not understanding this.

And you obviously dont have a real job. A real job involves being a student or professional academic. You see, academics are the ones who know all about productivity - if you work for a commercial organisation you obviously do not know anything about computers. Usability is stupid. Whats wrong with the command line? If you cant use the command line then you shouldnt be using a computer. vi should be the standard word processor - you are such a luser if you want to use Word. Installing software should have to involve recompiling the kernel of the OS. If you dont know how to do this, you are a stupid luser who should RTFM. Or go to a Linux irc channel or newsgroup. After all, they are soooo friendly. If you dont know how the latest 2.6 kernel scheduling algorithm works then they will tell you to stop wasting their time, but they really are quite supportive.

Oh, and M$ is just as evil as Apple. Take LookOUT for instance. You could just as easily use Eudora. Who needs groupware anyway, a simple email client should be all we use (thats all we use as academics, why cant businesses be any different).

And trend setters - Linux is the trend setter. It may appear KDE is a ripoff from XP, but thats because M$ stole the KDE code. We all know they have GPL'ed code hidden in there somewhere (but not the things that dont work, only the things that work could possibly have GPL'ed code in it).

And Apple is the suxor because they charge people for their product. We all know that its a much better business model to give all your products away for free. If you charge for anything, then you are allied with M$ and will burn in hell.

Re:They should have used Open Source! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903153)

Good post. Not troll. Truth.
They just won't deal with it. It hits too close to home.

Re:They should have used Open Source! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903260)

Dont forget, its also OK to steal copyrighted material! After all, by stealing their music, you are helping the artists!

Stop searching.. (-1, Offtopic)

maharg (182366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903134)

Clapton is God.

Yes!! (5, Funny)

clifgriffin (676199) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903148)

I can't wait to place this new digitally restored version next to my old Good Bye Irene CD, and right under my Good Bye Irene poster.

REMEMBER THE CENSORWARE PROJECT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903149)

Michael tried to kill it

Does this mean (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903152)

DRMed quarks will be just around the corner?

RIAA-MGM? (3, Insightful)

numbski (515011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903157)

So out of the goodness of their little hearts the RIAA is sponsoring this restoration, or are they going through and copyrighting all of this material?

Re:RIAA-MGM? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903168)

So out of the goodness of their little hearts the RIAA is sponsoring this restoration, or are they going through and copyrighting all of this material?
Record companies steal royalties copyrights from deceased blues musicians? Inconceiveable!

Re:RIAA-MGM? (4, Funny)

viking099 (70446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903410)

You use that word.
Are you sure it means what you think it means?

Re:RIAA-MGM? (5, Insightful)

aboyko (16319) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903659)

"RIAA" there is probably referring to the RIAA equalization curve [wikipedia.org] . Simplified, you have to post-process the raw signal on a record according to that curve, because the original signal was written to the record with the inverse of that curve.

quality loss (4, Insightful)

Mister Coffee (771513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903158)

Even if a lot of quality of the songs are improved a bit of authenticity of the songs is lost. The cracks and the spikes in a song can give it a certain charm.

Re:quality loss (4, Interesting)

jchawk (127686) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903182)

"The cracks and the spikes in a song can give it a certain charm"

I would agree with this comment however the point of this project isn't to just improve music quality, but to enable the Library of Congress to save many 1000's of recordings that are so delicate that even putting a record needle on them could cause unrepairable damage to the record!

Re:quality loss (4, Interesting)

Mister Coffee (771513) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903272)

Nowadays one can buy grammophone players with lasers instead of needles.

Re:quality loss (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903323)

...and cleaning a record so that it can be played with a laser is far more damaging than playing it with a needle.

Re:quality loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903336)

It may time to return to the Nixon tapes, and see if we can restore the mysterious 18.5 minute gap. Perhaps it is not permanently gone as some have thought. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/09/21/national /main235341.shtml

Re:quality loss (1, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903493)

Ironically moving them from a medium that (however fragile now) has lasted scores of years to some format that will probably be outdated in 3 years, and stored digitally on optical storage media which, if it's not eaten by that South American fungus, will have a lifespan of a decade tops?

Progress, anyone?

Bullshit. (4, Insightful)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903843)

I've got images of the Windows 95B CD in my home directory. I don't see that going anywhere anytime soon, and I'm not even trying for preservation.

Listen, you can by an SDAT tape drive that can read DAT tapes that were invented 15 years ago, and consolidate 10 of them into one new cartridge. And if you want to be safe, you make a copy and send that to a different site. And in 10 years there'll be a new generational standard that's backwards compatible, so you'll do another transfer then. Hell, you should be making multigenerational copies every few years and checking checksums between generations of media to make sure you're not propogating errors.

And why will this be possible? Because companies NEED THIS. They need to keep records for ages for various purposes. So the situation you detail will never happen if the custodians of the digital archive are just SLIGHTLY aware of the marketplace. Better than just leaving them to rot, eh?

Re:quality loss (1)

Legume (257598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903856)

They'll probably do something crazy like make a perfect digital copy before the media dies.

Re:quality loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903192)

Disagree, I don't mind poor fidelity recording in some cases, if that was how the master was made. Witness my massive collection of (decent) Dead bootlegs. But cracks and spikes are distracting and take away from the recording.

Re:quality loss (4, Interesting)

image (13487) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903279)

Also, listen to the examples if you can. The first one is so covered in hiss and scratches from the old record that it is very hard to make out much detail to the music. The new technique seems to render a fantastic amount of fidelity. But don't worry, there is plenty of character left -- the original analog recording techniques were more than warm enough. The difference is that you can now hear the cylinder going around (when it was being recorded), rather than it being obscured by playback artifacts.

Noise != charm (4, Insightful)

tweakt (325224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903307)

Even if a lot of quality of the songs are improved a bit of authenticity of the songs is lost. The cracks and the spikes in a song can give it a certain charm.
Sorry, I disagree. The spikes and pops are merely a function of poor recording quality, and doesn't represent anything about the original performance Actually, it's far more likely due to higher noise floor, subtle nuances in the music are actually lost forever. The only reason you feel it sounds more "authentic" is you're used to hearing it that way. When it comes to acoustic music (classical, jazz), the closer to capturing the sound as if you were sitting right there with the musician, the better. The only coloring of the sound that's sometimes desirable is from the acoustic properties of the venue in which they were performed if it was a live show.

Re:Noise != charm (2, Insightful)

nanojath (265940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903734)

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I agree that excess noise is not signal, and the idea that something is more authentic because it's showing the age and limitations of its media is very questionable. I think it is true though that many methods of eliminating noise also end up eliminating some of the signal. I have a number of early CDs with relatively noise free but unfortunately flat, lifeless recordings that don't sound half as good as an old LP, scratches and all.


But it seems like the methods for this are getting better and better. You're always walking a line, I think, when you start "extrapolating" information, and the more damaged a recording, the more of this you end up doing. It's all artifice in the end, I guess, but it does get you into interesting territory about recording... once it becomes digital it becomes totally fungible and who's to say what it "really" sounds like?

Re:quality loss (5, Funny)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903624)

The cracks and the spikes in a song can give it a certain charm.

You can always put them back, if you really want to.

Re:quality loss (2, Funny)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903728)

Even if a lot of quality of the songs are improved a bit of authenticity of the songs is lost. The cracks and the spikes in a song can give it a certain charm.

Can't they be digitally added back in? Instant authenticity!

Re:quality loss (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903773)

No, the charm is an entirely different particle.

Yes, but consider that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903160)

You faggie fucking wankers make me sick.

This may help (3, Interesting)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903163)

with the digital image restoration in the previous article, image is only half the equasion, having the sound properly restored would make a world of difference.

Higgs Boson? You fools! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903164)

Haven't these maniacs ever watched Lexx?! Detecting the Higgs Boson particle will shrink the world to an ultradense particle, about the size of a pea!

TV doesn't lie to me!

Re:Higgs Boson? You fools! (2, Funny)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903478)

No, it won't! It'll just allow instantaneous interstellar travel when coupled with a computer that can calculate the timeshift differentials!

Sheesh, all this wonderful anime [amazon.com] and nobody learns anything from it...

Re:Higgs Boson? You fools! (1)

Naffer (720686) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903801)

I'm going to venture a guess that you're refering to "Martian Successor Nadedesico" without even clicking your link! I just watched it a few weeks ago and it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the headline.
Lets Gekiga In! [snollygoster.com]

baka baka. (2, Funny)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903868)

STFU
- ruri

Why WAV? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903165)

Not a very good choice.

Re:Why WAV? (5, Insightful)

Gollum (35049) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903226)

Why not? Would you prefer MP3, perhaps or Ogg Vorbis?

What's better than an uncompressed format for this sort of archival work? I don't think there was any mention of the sample rate in the article, but it seems to me that they could make it as high as they want to, given that they are generating it from a model of an analogue system.

Obviously they are limited by the resolution of their scans, and the quality of their model, but it seems from the story that they have got both right already.

Re:Why WAV? (1)

ajaxxx (209422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903318)

What's better than an uncompressed format for this sort of archival work?

FLAC [sf.net] .

IYTM "better than a lossless format".

Re:Why WAV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903573)

Why not? Would you prefer MP3, perhaps or Ogg Vorbis? What's better than an uncompressed format for this sort of archival work?
How about a free lossless compressed format [sourceforge.net] that's also streamable?

Re:Why WAV? (1)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903761)

ARCHIVAL.

You NEVER compress your archival files if you're serious about it.

Re:Why WAV? (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903662)

Uncompressed is the best form for storage. 1 damaged bit in a compressed file will destroy much more data than 1 damaged bit in an uncompressed file. Of course, mp3 and ogg are not only compressed, they are lossy.

If there will be compression, let it be on the hardware storage level and not the file level.

Re:Why WAV? (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903663)

Why not [WAV]? Would you prefer MP3, perhaps or Ogg Vorbis?

16-bit sampling is not the be-all, end-all of audio resolution. Hopefully whatever format they use for archiving is, at a minimum, 96k/24 bit, just like the movie digitizers are scanning for 4000 line resolution even though they make DVDs with 1/8 that resolution.

Re:Why WAV? (2, Informative)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903736)

WAV is not necessarily 16 bit. There are 8, 16, 24, and 32 bit WAVs (that I've seen) and I suspect the format can handle higher bitdepths. I know it can handle 192/24.

How about digital? (2, Funny)

PacoTaco (577292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903173)

I wonder if these guys can help me with this cheap batch of DVD-Rs I bought.

Re:How about digital? (0, Redundant)

jepaton (662235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903232)

I can't imagine what data you might need to restore... oh wait, this is slashdot and your data is flesh tone pink.

Expensive record player (3, Insightful)

OwlWhacker (758974) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903197)

It seems a bit sad to think that the Higgs boson detector has been demoted to a record player.

Re:Expensive record player (1)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903962)

I don't know, but I'm sure the good people over at Stereophile [stereophile.com] would see it the other way round...

"The curious drop-out in the fifth bar turns out not to be Schnabel sneezing, but a rare neutrino interaction. Of course an inferior cartridge would just miss it completely..."

Re:Expensive record player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903977)

Urr? Sad to think the Higgs Boson particle is reduced to restoring fidelity to really early-tech audio recordings?

Gimme a break! This is old-hat...we achieve breakthrus in our technology, and put 'em to use.

I like flicking a button on a portable device, and finding that flame shoots out from one end...I gave up my flint & tinder a long ago.
Being an audiophile & also a human-centric kinda guy, this invention seems OK to me.

I only hope that physics begins to explore the secrets of Plato's Ideals sometime soon, so I can rediscover the joys of Ringo Starr's voice.

While we're at it, maybe we can restore my 47-yr-old girlfriend's bod to its more natural & bodacious state?

Improved quality? (4, Insightful)

Mike Morgan (9565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903199)

Perhaps the Library of Congress should have hired some acoustic engineers to do this job. The Berkeley Lab seems to have replaced one type of noise with another (random static with a pulsating hiss.) I'm not sure which is more distracting.

Re:Improved quality? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903249)

Exactly. While the cracking noise is almost gone, there is an audible loss in high-tone harmonics, which is pretty bad.

They also ruined the whole EQ (2, Interesting)

tentimestwenty (693290) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903724)

The "clean" version they've made is really a disgrace to any historian or music lover. The original was actually recorded very well and has a near perfect equalization. It sounds very natural and it's rare to hear the treble so extended on early recordings. The new version has no highs and the mid range is filled with gaussian noise and is far too prominent. Even a half-deaf recording engineer would notice that right away. Sure, the clicks and pops are reduced, but the music is completely ruined as well. I just hope they're keeping high resolution originals as well as these hacked versions.

Sheesh - All Around Wrong (5, Informative)

pendragon (119435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903207)

1). It's "Ledbelly"
2). It's "Good Night Irene"

Re:Sheesh - All Around Wrong (1)

shine (1502) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903344)

I'd think that Pete Seger, who knew Leadbelly, would know. On the title of his book he says Leadbelly:

http://www.hlmusic.com/petesoakbook.htm

1 for 2 is not so bad.

~S

Nice try (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903402)

1). It's "Dexy's Midnight Runners" 2). It's "Come on Eileen"

Re:Sheesh - All Around Wrong (5, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903458)

And Ledbelly is, of course, the moniker of Huddie Ledbetter. That's why it's spelled that way. He got the knickname during his tenure in Sugerland Prison, for manslaughter. That would be his first tenure for manslaughter. Part of the Ledbelly legend is the way he got out of prison by singing.

Huddie died in poverty in December of 1949. One month later Goodnight Irene hit number one on the charts (as recorded by The Weavers) and stayed there for longer than any song has since.

Since that time other Ledbelly songs that have had great sucess on the charts include Black Betty, Midnight Special (written while in Sugerland, the Midnight Special was an actual train running out of Houston and prison legend had it that if it's headlight shone on you in your cell you would be released the next day. This was rather like saying that if you stuck your elbow in your ear you would be released the next day) and The Rock Island Line. Ledbelly was also a friend of Woody Guthrie. Woody's Roll on Columbia was written to the tune of Goodnight Irene (although Woody didn't realize this until Pete Seeger pointed it out to him).

I really pissed off a barmaid one night when I ended my first set with that song. Her name was Irene. She hates that song. I found out why.

Nice girl otherwise.

Good night.

KFG

Re:Sheesh - All Around Wrong (4, Informative)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904003)

Since that time other Ledbelly songs that have had great sucess

But perhaps the most telling Leadbelly song is about the time when Huddie Ledbetter, beter known as Leadbelly, came to Washington D.C. to record for Library of Congress's Archive of American Folk Song.

Huddie and Alan Lomax were denied accomodation at several hotels because the hotels wouldn't rent to an interracial group: Huddie was black and Lomax, co-founder with his father of the Library's Archive, and, was white.

So Huddie, with Lomax's help, wrote "Bourgeois Blues", which begins:

Gather round people, listen to me
Don't try to make a home in Washington, D.C.

It's a bourgeois town, it's a bourgeois town,
I've got the bourgeois blues, I'm going to spread the news around.


Huddie's gone now, and Alan Lomax died two tears ago, but the song, and their work, live on.

And even after desegregtion, Washington D.C.'s still a bourgeois town, it's a bourgeois town.

Goodnight.... (1)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904014)

Her name was Irene. She hates that song. I found out why.

You mean her mother doesn't let her seen guys?

Re:Sheesh - All Around Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903468)

In any restoration there is a certain amount of guesswork that goes on. Adding a letter or two to the title is certainly acceptable.

Re:Sheesh - All Around Wrong (4, Informative)

Siener (139990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903600)

1). It's "Ledbelly"

No it's not. His surname was Ledbetter, but his nickname was Leadbelly. More info about his life can be found here [duke.edu] . If you still think it's Ledbelly, look at the photo of his gravestone at the bottom of the page.

If there are any slashdotters who don't know who the hell he is, you might know at least one song he wrote : Where did you sleep last night which was sung by Nirvana on MTV Unplugged

Re:Sheesh - All Around Wrong (3, Informative)

skwm (581559) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903991)

Many of his Library of Congress [allmusic.com] recordings have been released as "Lead Belly". Document Records "Complete Recordings of... [allmusic.com] " series are under the name "Leadbelly" His gravestone [deltablues.net] says "HUDDIE (LEAD BELLY) LEDBETTER"

Good thing(TM) (5, Interesting)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903227)

It's great that they have come up with a non-destructive way of digitizing these recordings. This will make the recordings easier to distribute, and I hope that many people who could not otherwise hear these recordings will get to do so via their local library or something other method.

On a related note, why does the "after" filename contain the word RIAA? What the hell do they have to do with this? The Library of Congress recordings were made by Alan Lomax (another great american folk singer), somewhere around 1940. If the RIAA gets to make money off this, I think I'm going to be sick. Though actually, now that I think about it, I believe the RIAA has some "standards" for music formats. Hopefully that's all this is.

Re:Good thing(TM) (1)

azaris (699901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903342)

The Library of Congress recordings were made by Alan Lomax (another great american folk singer), somewhere around 1940

1940?!? I wonder what they were recorded on - acetate? There's much better quality recordings done in the 1920's that have been remastered using technology we've had for years.

Or maybe the LOC hasn't stored these records properly?

Re:Good thing(TM) (4, Insightful)

jdreed1024 (443938) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903464)

I wonder what they were recorded on - acetate? There's much better quality recordings done in the 1920's that have been remastered using technology we've had for years.

That's precisely what they were recorded on, according to the article. That, and shellac, and wax. And it's not that we can't remaster them now. In fact, I have a CD of Leadbelly's LOC recordings. It's that this is a non-destructive way of remastering them. Prior to this, remastering them was merely playing them again. Granted it was in a controlled environment, with a near-perfect stylus and the record was painstakingly cleaned, but it was still playing them, and that is by definition destructive. Think of how this will change things. You can remaster something merely by taking a picture of it (yes, i'm oversimplifying). It will make remastering these recordings cheaper and more copies will be available (since the LOC doesn't have to worry about each remastering destroying the original)

RIAA Equalization (5, Informative)

north.coaster (136450) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903435)

Back in the good old days of vinyl records, RIAA Equalization [wikipedia.org] was/is an industry standard for how music that is recorded on vinyl records is played back. The idea is to compensate for the fact that vinyl does not have a flat audio frequncy response.

The link above explains it much better (and in more detail) that I can.

\/Don

Re:Good thing(TM) (3, Interesting)

Hater's Leaving, The (322238) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903667)

"come up with", eh?

Why do I remember seeing exactly this technology (as in non-contact vinyl
reading) demonstrated on BBC's /Tomorrow's World/ back in the 1980s?
We saw it actually demonstrated live, it wasn't just a theoretical idea.
IIRC they played a Cliff Richard album, and IIRC they also, with great
humour, scratched the fuck out of it for a second test, which the reader
passed admirably.

That was nigh on 20 years ago. It appears that the wheel has been
reinvented...

THL.

Mirror of WAV (2, Informative)

paragon_au (730772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903228)

0 posts and it down to going at 6kbps.
Sure it'll be slashdoted soon.

Orignal [netspace.net.au] & Digital version [netspace.net.au]

I still hear static (3, Interesting)

donbrock (705779) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903230)

The after version does have a much fuller and richer sound but I still heard a lot of background static. Can't this be filtered out?

Re:I still hear static (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903589)

if you filter out the noise, you also filter out part of the signal - since this is an archival project, it's more important to preserve the exact state of the current media than to try to improve the perceived sound quality. the sound quality part is is a research area where small incremental advances are made every year, and big ones some years; the preservation part is well understood.

Re:I still hear static (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903731)

Well, the idea is to pull out ever bit of audio information possible and archive it. If you want to post-process the data locally to remove that hiss (and any other audio in that frequency band), you can still do so, but the original should be kept pristine. After all, noise filtering is dramatically better now than it was 20 years ago. In another 50 years, I don't want an audiologist complaining about how great those 2004 re-masterings could have been if only they'd known about the Transflugian Transform and hadn't wrecked the archives with ham-fisted turn-of-the-millenium binary methods.

Woot! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903235)

Slashdotted a .gov! Soon we'll be able to hold the world's governments for ransome!

Re:Woot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903504)

Nothing can Possiblye go Wrong!!

Better, but far from perfect... (4, Insightful)

TheRealStyro (233246) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903237)

Granted, it is better without all the static. But the flutter (shwush, shwush, shwush...) introduced is still distracting and a serious quality problem. Actually, the new version gives me a low scale headache from the constant flutter.

Re:Better, but far from perfect... (1, Funny)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903476)

Actually, the new version gives me a low scale headache from the constant flutter.

You sound like you're fun to hang out with.

It has been said before. (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903241)


Before the song is "Good Bye Irene".

After the song is "Good By Webserver".

The sound of this new song is unusually pure and quiet. My congratulations to the Berkeley team.

Big Deal (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903244)

I ran the first sample through noise reduction with an old copy of Cool Edit and got better results. None of that lame pulsing background noise either.

mod parent up (4, Interesting)

mcbevin (450303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903470)

While the news release makes what they're doing sound impressive, theres little to be proud of inventing a complicated expensive method to create something worse than a simple computer program can achieve.

The 'lame pulsing background noise' or whatever you call it is really quite bad. I haven't tried putting the original through Cool Edit but it wouldn't surprise me it all if it does produce better results as the parent claims.

Perhaps the technique will be improved, but the article should have been a bit more honest about the current state of the technology - its claimed results really don't match what you hear when you listen to the wavs. Reminds me of some wavs Microsoft supplied demonstrating the superiority of wma to some other format. Despite being samples picked by Microsoft to suite wma, the wma's sounded much _worse_ than the other format's. But their marketing obviously realised the simple fact that 99% of the readers wouldn't bother listening to the samples, but just assume that since the samples were there, the corresponding write-up must be credible.

Re:mod parent up (3, Insightful)

Peale (9155) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903598)

That 'lame pulsing sound' is the sound from when it was originally recorded. It's the sound of the wax cylinder spinning.

Re:mod parent up (1)

mcbevin (450303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903765)

That would explain it nicely, however do you have any references for this?

I read the paper published by the researchers and it contained this, which seems to be saying they don't know the cause of the 'lame pulsing sound':

A background continuous noise (hiss) is present in the optical sample. The hiss is also slightly modulated by a signal at about 4 Hz. The origin of this is not completely known but it may be related to the particular differentiation algorithm, imaging fluctuations in the edge finding process, or to a latent physical feature of the record itself. A hiss signal is also present in the groove shape data before differentiation which may underlie the signal heard in the differentiated audio clip.

link to the paper (1)

mcbevin (450303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903782)

Heres the link to the PDF and some more samples they provide:

http://www-cdf.lbl.gov/%7Eav/

Mod parent down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903926)

for he is a moron.

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903902)

Cool edit destroys the original signal in an attempt to filter out noise. For archival purposes, they don't want to do that. This process gets rid of noise without altering the original signal.

Re:Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8904129)

I can vouch for this. I ran this through Buzz. Simply an interpolation (noise reduction) and some EQ (graphic and parametric) take care of this nicely. It leaves a few pops, but it sounds better than the fancy schmancy one, and none of that nasty background crap either.

Digital Needle (5, Informative)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903257)

This reminds me of this project [huji.ac.il] (which has been Slashdotted before) which can be done with a home scanner. But this new Berkeley method is obviously much more advanced.

Same Methods? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903319)

By colliding two audio recordings together at near-lightspeed in an underground tunnel, physicists hope to uncover the much anticipated Higgs boson, or at the very least produce a half-decent Britney album.

interestingly (3, Interesting)

eclectro (227083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903326)


There is the laser record player [elpj.com] .

The cost is only $10k, plus $500 for a record cleaner.

Anybody in slashdot land know of a cheaper version that us mere mortals might buy?

Scanning records (3, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903347)

This reminds me of a project posted quite a while back. Somebody used a plain old scanner to scan old LP's and try to convert the picture to sound. Can't remember how successful he was, I know he got some sound, but I don't reallt think it was that close to the original.

It's way too long ago to even thing of finding a link, but if anyone has it feel free to post it.

big news (4, Informative)

NixterAg (198468) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903399)

Besides the neat way the archiving is being done, this will help out the Library of Congress immensely in getting their archives digitized before the originals deteriorate to the point they cannot be archived at all. A few years ago, PBS (maybe on Nova) had a special about the digital restoration project at the Library of Congress. They were having to take special care to prioritize the works they wanted to save, as they didn't have enough manpower to digitize all of them before the original recordings completely rotted. Most of the recordings were one-of-a-kind, so much of the archives was expected to eventually be lost forever.

They also emphasized about how they wanted digital version of the original recording, with all of the noise, clicks, and dropouts intact. After all, they are digitally archiving what they have, not restoring it.

One of the biggest finds was an original recording of "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie with the following stanza intact:

Was a big high wall there that tried to stop me,
Was a great big sign that said, "Private Property,"
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.


I believe it's a one-of-a-kind and it was found on accident, as the archives literally have dozens of different "This Land is Your Land" recordings and it had previously been digitized before this version was found.

Re:big news (2, Interesting)

NixterAg (198468) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903427)

Here's a link with more information about the uniqueness of the recording:
Woody Guthrie - This Land Is Your Land [edu-cyberpg.com]

Re:big news (2, Informative)

north.coaster (136450) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903689)

It's not a one of a kind, in the sense that the folk music community has known all along about Woody's alternative lyrics to the song. In fact Woody wrote several additional verses, as this link [geocities.com] shows. Considering the state of politics back in the 1950's and 1960's, it's not surprising that these lyrics were not widely published (or performed). In fact, I know of some musicians in my own community today who refuse to sing these verses because of concern that they would offend some members of the audience.

/Don

Where can I get the recordings ? (1)

modipodio (556587) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903447)

Anyone know if they are planning on selling them or if they will be available for download on archive.org or something?

A filtered version, and what RIAA really means. (5, Interesting)

Ndr_Amigo (533266) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903565)

I ran the resampled version through a quick noise removal and bass boost in Audacity to come up with this:

http://www.enderboi.com/Ender_Filtered.mp3

Obviously this was a quick job, as the sample was too short to come up with a decent noise profile.

And to answer a quick question about the presence of RIAA in the filename.. Whilst conspiracy theories are fun here at /., and we all know Cowboy Neal did it anyway..

I believe that 'RIAA' was a type of amplification method in old vaccum tube kits. I assume the RIAA in the filename is implying it was normalised based on the RIAA response curve.

Disclaimer: I'm not old enough to know what I'm talking about. I'm sure there are some old-timer audiophiles around here that know the details tho :)

Re:A filtered version, and what RIAA really means. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903778)

Yes I believe you used to use an expander coupled with a equalizer to get a better SNR. It was called a RIAA amplifier, and thats why you need a special phono input on an amplifier.

Th eRIAA response (2, Informative)

the_twisted_pair (741815) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904159)

..is fundamental to the ability to record music on vinyl.

Basically, it involves the master being equalised with the bass rolled-off by (up to 20dB) and the treble boosted by a similar amount. On playback, the 'phono' input on your amplifier ampplies inverse EQ to re-create the original signal.

The reasons are two-fold:

The initial treble emphasis followed by roll-off reduces the contribution of record surface noise from the mechanical transcribing.

The bass rolloff means that the excurions required by the cutter (and the sylus in playback) are kept within reasonable limits - and enable closer groove spacing, allowing a useful recording time. Note there's a direct tradeoff in LP mastering between playback time per side and sound quality, depending on how 'hot' the signal to be cut - more groove excursion requires more space.

The RIAA's contribution was to declare a standard for the EQ curves, when before c.1948 each record company would do more-or-less its own thing.

Star Trek (2, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903657)

Anybody remember the episode of the original Star Trek where somebody was drunk and driving everyone crazy singing
Good Night Irene thru the intercom.
Now that's TV!

A little info re: that LoC collection (5, Informative)

Onan The Librarian (126666) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903660)

The LoC collection of American folk music was certainly one of the strangest ventures ever carried out by the US government. In a way, it paralleled the ancient Chinese venture that resulted in the Shih Ching (Book Of Odes). Both govs sent recording agents into the country with the directive to collect the songs of the people. The Chinese had only ink & paper (or whatever they used for paper circa 800 BC), while their US counterparts (beginning in the 1920s, I think) utilized their day's equivalent of direct-to-disk recording, i.e., big in-field acetate disc cutters with acoustic recording gear. For the most part these intrepid researchers are unknown, but they collected an incredible mass of disparate music. Black & white music from the deep South and the Appalachians, cowboy music from the plains states, music from native American tribes... The impression I have is that they were told something like "Go ye forth, collect their songs so we may know the mind of the the people". Well, that's what the Chinese collectors did anyway...

There are some well-known LoC recordings that have gained some fame, including a series of recordings by Leadbelly and an awesome set of music and reminiscences by Jelly Roll Morton. However, both those sets were recorded "in studio" and are not field recordings. They are magnificent though.

Btw, I should make special mention of the Lomax family. Father John and son Alan were responsible for some remarkable recordings, including the work by Leadbelly and Jelly Roll. Alan also made the earliest recordings of Muddy Waters and some excellent recordings of Son House while working for the LoC. John was something of a Texas cracker (check out his dialog with Willie McTell on the LoC recordings), but he was a brave man going into some of the places he visited. He also wrote a very weird account of his acquaintance with Leadbelly in a book he wrote about the great self-proclaimed King of the 12-string Guitar..

Some of the catalog has been available to the public for quite a while, but I doubt that catalog has listed anything close to the amount of material the LoC must have in their vaults. Those acetate masters won't last forever, and I'm glad to learn that an attempt will be made to save those recordings.

Btw, I doubt copyright is an issue with this material. Unless I'm mistaken I believe all of it is in the public domain now. Perhaps someone else can clarify ?

No recent US administration would dream of doing such a project now. They definitely would *not* want to do it to know the collective mind of the people...

This is important work (3, Informative)

Siener (139990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903777)

Whether you like rock, blues, jazz or R&B they all have their roots in the early part of the 20th century among the poor black population in the southern parts of America. A big part of that history is already lost for ever.

I am a big fan of early blues. My favourites are Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Jordan

Indecently, Robert Jordan is the guy who supposedly sold his soul to the devil one night at the crossroads in exchange for his guitar playing skills. This story gave rise to the whole blues, rock etc. comes from the devil story.

You can find a lot of their music on p2p networks - it's worth checking out. You'll be surprised how many songs you recognise - they have been copied and covered so many times.

Re:This is important work (3, Informative)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903964)

I might be mistaken, but are you referring to Robert Johnson? As in the same Mr. Johnson who went to the cross road and sold his soul to the devil. The legend goes that he couldn't play a lick. Then suddenly one day Johnson shows up and is able to play some amazing blues. The movie cross roads uses that legend. Many modern blues musician refer to Robert Johnson, like Eric Clapton's "Me and Mr. Johnson".

Robert Johnson was an innovator of blues guitar and did lots of things like open tunings. Many musicians try to immitate him. Some are successful and most are not. Robert Johnson's style of blues is still unique today, because of how he sang, tapped his feat and played the guitar.

Johnson not Jordon (1)

Siener (139990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904171)

Sorry .. very embarrased by that one. Of course it's Robert Johnson. Robert Jorden is the author of the Wheel of Time books ... nothing to do with the blues

Only Step One (3, Informative)

arjay-tea (471877) | more than 10 years ago | (#8903894)

Removing the noise is only the first step.
A complete restoration would compensate for the transfer functions of the microphone and other recording equipment used for the particular recording. Need to archive and preserve all the recording equipment also!

Re:Only Step One: MOD UP! (1)

Onan The Librarian (126666) | more than 10 years ago | (#8904087)

Excellent points and suggestions. Do you know where that gear can be seen these days ? I wonder if the LoC displays it ...

In the 1970s someone published a series of small paperbacks about interesting aspects of blues history. The series included John Fahey's graduate thesis on the music of Charley Patton. It also included a volume focused on the blues labels, and how and by whom the material was collected, recorded, and distributed. Interesting history...

mod! 3own (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8903957)

by clicking here surprise to the Metadiscussion5 *BSD is dying Yet
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