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Making Old Sound Recordings Audible Again

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the does-it-work-on-8-track dept.

Music 172

orgelspieler writes "NPR is running a story on a safe way to reproduce sound from ancient phonographs that would otherwise be unplayable. The system, called IRENE, was installed in the Library of Congress last year. It can be used to replay records that are scratched, worn, broken, or just too fragile to play with a needle. It scans the groves optically and processes them into a sound file at speeds approaching real time. IRENE is great at removing pops and skips, but can add some hiss. Researchers are also working on a 3D model that is better at removing hiss."

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Yawn (-1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909073)

The japanese have been doing this for a while now

http://www.laserturntable.com/ [laserturntable.com]

Re:Yawn (0)

DJ_Maiko (1044980) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909149)

The fact that the Japanese have been doing this (had technology) for a while still doesn't diminish the fact that this is awesome. It has tons of uses, from preserving history to listening to great, original music. As a DJ, I know this to be a great tool for preserving & restoring some of our best timepieces (music). NPR, like these technologies, is the gift that keeps on giving!

Re:Yawn (4, Informative)

evilgrug (915703) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909165)

And the National Library of Canada has had one of those units since 1992.

Re:Yawn (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909553)

While I have no doubts that this is innovative product - personally I am satisfied with have a googlephonic stereo with a moon-rock needle. it's OK for a car stereo, but I wouldn't want it in my house.

apologies to Mr. Steve Martin.

Re:Yawn (1, Funny)

Xeirxes (908329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909921)

Yeah, we've had one since 1992 as well, but it took the designers 15 years to come up with the name "IRENE" before we could start using it.

Yes, the above guys already have been doing this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909331)

As mentioned by the company in the link above, they mention how their laser turntable can scan in groove areas that are undamaged. Nothing new to see here, except claiming previous art as new.

Check this page: http://www.laserturntable.com/about/sound.html [laserturntable.com]

Re:Yawn (2, Insightful)

semiotec (948062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909359)

and some guy also tried it years ago with just commercial scanners (http://www.cs.huji.ac.il/~springer/), although the results weren't that great, but at least it's a proof of the concept.

Re:Yawn (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909409)

RTFA!!!

I don't know about the Canadian system, but the Japanese system is different, and if I understand it correctly, much less capable. The Japanese system spins the disk and replaces the mechanical stylus with two lasers, if I read the description correctly. The IRENE system takes a picture of the surface and reconstructs the groove pattern from the image. The record surface does not move. This is why IRENE can scan a record even if it is broken. In the NPR article, they describe how they input an old recording that had a broken section. They just fit the two pieces together and scanned the surface. IRENE can also scan cylinders as well as disks, which the Japanese system cannot do for mechanical reasons.

Well at least ArchieBunker lived up to his pseudonym: ignorant and proud of it. When you are incapable of reading and understanding an article, I guess you have to compensate by trying to demean creative people who do worthwhile work. Instead of yawning, Archie should stay off Slashdot and go back to watching reruns of old TV shows, where no mental activity is required.

You must be new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909539)

how dumb are you, seriously? don't tell me you are slashdot-terminal

Re:Yawn (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19910059)

*I* myself don't get it, but maybe that's because this seems unsophisticated to me since you should be able to do this with commonplace tools already available to the process and design market.

For example, in the higher end engineering and process control world, they do laser scanning of surfaces to reverse engineer, for quality control, etc., and they can get down to micron levels regularly. There are a number of hobbiest projects where they laser scan surfaces and based on the reflection, can reconstruct a surface upon multiple reads. You can get very good resolution this way. There are various other techniques as well that can achieve similar results.

Likewise, I'm not sure why they just don't stuff these in the various medical tomography machines out there, whether optical, MRI, or CT, depending on material type. A tech could give you better info than I, but it seems for 30 minutes, you could do a stack of them (like when an MRI or CT machine scans your head down to the top of your lungs) quickly and inexpensively by coordinating with health groups that always have a gap or two in their schedules and can fit you in (you get cheaper rates typically). Get the data, and generate the records in full 3d, find a plane, and process the 3d data, and have a full representation economically. If the disks are 1cm or less in thickness, this would work out to around $30 a disk ($1200/16 inches per scan = $1,200/16*2.54cm = $30). This would be similar to those fellows that scanned the Mac Cube or whatever when it came out to get the details of its innards without opening it up first.

Re:Yawn -- how weary you are (1)

darnoKonrad (1123209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909413)

Has surfing the internet made you so jaded? "I read about a technology years ago that is not in the least related to the story, might I show my world weariness." Really, download the samples on the website. The technology is really good. -- although the site seems to be slashdoted at the moment. I grabbed some samples from the site after I heard the story on NPR, and they are quite amazing. I can't find the link at the moment, but I know I read somehting (from a U.S. distributer) about how the ELP laser turntable ain't as good as the company says it is - as far as build quality or sound reproduction -- and the records need to be ridiculously clean. This story uses a completely different technology anyway. When I heard this story I was delighted and impressed with the results. There are a lot of "one of a kind" recordings out there that will benefit our collective culture. Maybe this will become a[n] (affordable) consumer product in the future. The ELP is uber expensive and quite old besides.

FUCK YOU MICHAEL VICK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909079)

I hope the GNAA fuck Michael-Mike Vick in his stupid asshole for fucking up poor defenseless doggies!!! Fuck you Vick!!!

Re:FUCK YOU MICHAEL VICK (-1, Troll)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909221)

Wait... I want to know: why are any of you actually posting this nonsense? What's the goal? I'm genuinely interested.

Keep in mind: if you reply with just more random insults and garbage I'll ignore it. If you spam my Slashdot account, I'll just change it. So only bother if you want to say something sensible.

Re:FUCK YOU MICHAEL VICK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909415)

Personally, I posted it because I am drunk and found it funny. Can't speak for anyone else though, you fucking cocklicking, pube smoking, turd wrangling, shit-slurping tea-bagged honky.

reproduce sound from ancient pornography?! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909091)

Oh wait, never mind...

(but i swear that's what my mind picked up initially!!)

Re:reproduce sound from ancient pornography?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19911517)

I read "photographs".

In My Day . . . (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909113)

I remember a few years back some guy had some way of using a laser to play the needle; is this the same thing improved?

Re:In My Day . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909189)

is this the same thing improved?
No, this isn't the same thing improved. (it's not improved.)

Re:In My Day . . . (4, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911065)

No, not improved. Just totally different.

This is not a laser-distance-based modeling system. That sort of system tracks along the grove mechanically (without touching, but still moves the lasers, much like a CD) and models the surface by reading the distance from the laser to the disk surface.

This system takes an image of the entire disk surface in one pass, with no moving parts. That image is then processed to construct a 3D model of the surface, and that model can then be processed to follow the groove track, much like the laser-based system physically scans the disk surface.

After the 3D model is constructed both systems work much the same way, but the construction of the model is significantly different. The laser-based system can only play flat disks (not say, wax cylinders), and cannot pre-process the disk to construct an accurate model from pieces of a disk. Also the image-based system could be used with any set of images of a disk sufficient to reconstruct the surface -- it would not be necessary to physically transport the disk in order to process it with such a system, so long as the necessary images can be produced at the disk's current location.

ELP Optical Turntable (1)

Paul_Hindt (1129979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910709)

Here is a link to a Japanese optical turntable [elpj.com] called ELP. I too heard about an optical turntable a few years back...don't know if this is the same one. Sounds like a pretty neat idea though.

Re:ELP Optical Turntable (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910747)

Emerson, Lake and Palmer?

Source code? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909137)

Can anyone find a link to source code for this?

Re:Source code? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909273)

open source is teh gay

Re:Source code? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19910825)

Someone actually wasted a mod point to mod this as troll? Jesus Christ people, get a life.

And to complete the irony, I'll be modded down.

Re:Source code? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19911775)

Goes to prove my thesis that a lot of the moderators are fucking useless wankers who shouldn't have got out of bed, because they are likely to hurt themselves on the irony...

Re:Source code? (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909855)

That is what they try to recover here; the analog source code information of the audio on the broken phonograph.

I was not able to find any transcodings of the audio, to answer your question.

Re:Source code? (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911441)

That is what they try to recover here; the analog source code information of the audio on the broken phonograph.

I was not able to find any transcodings of the audio, to answer your question.
He's not talking about that kind of code I think. He's talking about the image processing code that detects what's happening on the record.

I'd be very interested in this code too. Image processing is not for the faint of heart.

Not your grandfather's Hi-Fi (1, Insightful)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909167)

IRENE is great at removing pops and skips, but can add some hiss

Can add some hiss to what? To the perfect Hi-Fi quality you are expected to get out of a century old phonograph?

Re:Not your grandfather's Hi-Fi (2, Informative)

og_shift8 (949137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909217)

looks like 3d noise reduction is done in the image domain - not in the audio.

Re:Not your grandfather's Hi-Fi (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909237)

Can add some hiss to what? To the perfect Hi-Fi quality you are expected to get out of a century old phonograph?

To the level of his that the recording itself actually contains.

Old recordings actually did a very good job of making a record of the actual sound. But dust on and damage to the surface produced artifacts in the output signal when played with a needle.

Optical techniques can identify the actual flat surface of the groove and ignore the artifacts. But digital approaches to performing this scan and/or encoding the result add errors from quantization and digitizer nonlinearity, which appears as added hiss - the amount depending on the resolution and quality of the converter and/or scanner.

Re:Not your grandfather's Hi-Fi (2, Interesting)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909373)

Interesting. I didn't RTFA, but my first thought was that the optical technique was picking up hiss (high frequency) that existed on the originally produced media, but that was smoothed out (i.e. not reproduced) by the mechanical arm-and-needle.

Re:Not your grandfather's Hi-Fi (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909619)

Nah, that would be dead simple to correct for. Just create a lowpass filter that matches the response of a really good physical turntable. If the sampled data is accurate, then that would be all you would have to run it through to get beautiful reproduction. But if the sampling process has errors, you're slightly more screwed :)

Re:Not your grandfather's Hi-Fi (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909839)

There is probably just noise in the depth measurement. That is technical information-loss; even if the source is of bad quality.

So what does pop music sound like... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910199)

... if all the pop is removed?

Re:So what does pop music sound like... (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910327)

It continues to sound like shit ;-)

Re:So what does pop music sound like... (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910553)

It's probably like rocket science, without rockets or science.

Change your Expectations. (2, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910263)

the perfect Hi-Fi quality you are expected to get out of a century old phonograph?

Surprise, surprise, listen to the fine samples. The first collection sounds like it was recorded yesterday. The technique is unbelievably excellent. This is very good news for music preservation.

Re:Change your Expectations. (1)

javaman235 (461502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911073)

Awesome! I love this kind of technology. A) Its good to see a generations information going into the void, B) its awesome to see new ways to collect data about real world objects (like records) for future generations.

Re:Change your Expectations. (1)

Wolfrider (856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912061)

--They could do something similar for preserving obsolete data formats.

o Convert the existing data to UTF8 -> binary.

o Find a rock sheet (thin enough to be fairly light, but not thin enough to break easily.)

o Permanently etch the binary into the rock sheet with a frickin' laser beam. (Wielded by a shark of course.)

o Store the rock in a cool, dry place. Preferably out of sight, and armored against the inevitable barbarian/Zombie hordes.

o ???

o Profit!

--You heard it here 1st.

ancient mp3s (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909211)

these audio recordings aren't degraded, they just have some sort of ancient DRM on them. many years from now they'll find some ancient music cds of ours with DRM on them and think they are degraded too.

Re:ancient mp3s (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909323)

doom9 to the rescue!

Re:ancient mp3s (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911025)

I'd mod you up, but your AC, so why bother.

Fidelity costs money, ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909243)

how fidel do you want to be?

OK, so the real quote is "Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?" and is usually applied to hot rods. The analogy to sound is pretty accurate though.

At some point, you can't just pop a disk or cylinder into a machine and have everything automatic. Expensive people have to get involved. In theory, as long as the signal is there, you can re-construct it in the face of a huge amount of noise. The process is not dissimilar to getting the data off a trashed hard drive. In fact, some reconstructions have noise deliberately added to make them sound more 'authentic' to the listening audience.

Re:Fidelity costs money, ... (2, Funny)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909569)

how fidel do you want to be?
A Castro level or better please.

Re:Fidelity costs money, ... (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909803)

*chuckles* I thought the same thing when I saw that.

Cool. When do we get them? (2, Informative)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909247)

I've been a fan of ancient public domain music for a while now. I hope they are kind enough to post these on a website for our listening pleasure.

In 2067 (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909695)

I've been a fan of ancient public domain music for a while now. I hope they are kind enough to post these on a website for our listening pleasure.
In 1972, when the U.S. Congress phased out state law copyright in sound recordings, Congress allowed these copyrights to continue for one full federal copyright term. This term ends in 2067.

Re:In 2067 (1)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910231)

It is indeed a very sad state of affairs in the US with regards to recordings. I was shocked when I learned of it. But perhaps the original poster is from other shores.

Re:Cool. When do we get them? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911041)

I've been a fan of ancient public domain music for a while now. I hope they are kind enough to post these on a website for our listening pleasure.

Public domain ? These recordings are barely a century old, they are hardly in public domain yet. In fact I expect the people who invented this device to be sued for bypassing an effective copy prevention device; after all, these things are not that dissimilar to the limited-time degrading DVDs, now are they ?

oranges! (1)

Bootle (816136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909249)

I bet a lot of floridian orange growers do a lot of "grove scanning" as well.

NPR on /., again? (2, Insightful)

aethera (248722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909283)

Now I know that my local NPR station [wuky.org] is skewing towards a younger market. Heck, they dropped the classical years ago and play a decent mix of non-mainstream, non-corporate, though I wouldn't go so far as to say indie rock during the day. But when I started reading on slashdot regularly ten ( 10!) years ago I would have never expected the relatively common recurrence of NPR articles making the front page. Are we all getting that old, or am I just getting old enough to notice it?

No offense to some of the bright high school students and undergrads who comment here...you're appreciated, sometimes for you're youthful naivety, but appreciated nonetheless.

might be a reason for that. (1)

darnoKonrad (1123209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909497)

http://www.npr.org/about/growth.html [npr.org]

"The audience for NPR programming has doubled in the last ten years to 26 million weekly listeners."

They still play classical around here tho.

Re:NPR on /., again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909521)

No. It's that NPR are a vaguely decent news service and thence usually don't have the flooding of crap.

Whatever you think of NPR, it's miles better than most others. And that's probably not a good thing, when you think about it

Re:NPR on /., again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909817)

No, it's not. It's widely biased - against the current government, which is amusing, considering it's government funded. But then again, there were rumblings about politically motivated hirings at NPR so apparently they're not appointed.

In any case, it's so liberally biased that it's not worth listening to. I wouldn't mind quite as much if it weren't government funded. You'd think government funded radio would attempt to cover all listeners, but it doesn't. It just sticks with liberals, and leaves the majority of Americans out in the cold.

Re:NPR on /., again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19910203)

It's funny when I read or hear someone complain about a media outlet being too liberal or too conservative, they don't really stop and ask themselves if it's not them who are more liberal or conservative than the majority. Listening to NPR, I find it quite neutral, although it's leaning a little bit on the liberal side. But what do I know? I must be one of those communists.

Re:NPR on /., again? (4, Insightful)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910651)

It just sticks with liberals, and leaves the majority of Americans out in the cold.

You do realize that the majority of Americans identify the speaker as a right-wing nut whenever they hear someone called a "liberal", right?

"Conservatives" -- that is, the vocal right -- are as much a minority as "liberals" -- that is, the vocal left. Most Americans just wish we'd all shut up and spend half as much time improving the country as we do fighting with each other.

(It's really, REALLY easy to get a majority when you make the other minority look crazy.)

Second "you're" "your" (1)

aethera (248722) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909549)

D'oh

Re:NPR on /., again? (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909629)

Dude, I was enjoying some Chemical Brothers on NPR last sunday. I though I tuned to the MSU student radio station but noticed that I was on the Statewide NPR station (they transmit on 4 different frequencies at incredibly high power to cover almost all of lower michigan).

They also played some newer Information Society and then finished with some DonJuan Dracula before they broke.

I was freaked to hear some really progressive music played on NPR. They either must be desperate to attract new listeners or don't care they will turn off the old farts who grimace at hearing that "pounding hippy music"

Re:NPR on /., again? (3, Insightful)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911457)

Dude, I was enjoying some Chemical Brothers on NPR last sunday. I though I tuned to the MSU student radio station but noticed that I was on the Statewide NPR station (they transmit on 4 different frequencies at incredibly high power to cover almost all of lower michigan).

They also played some newer Information Society and then finished with some DonJuan Dracula before they broke.

I was freaked to hear some really progressive music played on NPR. They either must be desperate to attract new listeners or don't care they will turn off the old farts who grimace at hearing that "pounding hippy music"
I applaud them for this.

There's a time when you stop listening to music to feel and start listening for entertainment. At this same point, you realize most of the MTV music sucks.

When your motivation for listening to the music is entertainment, I would define that as simply searching for something new...a new outlook on the old chord progressions, if you will. Or out of the ordinary chord progressions, etc.

Hence again NPR caters to the intellectual type. First they did it with Classical music, now they do it with anything different that they think will catch an inquisitive listener (and therefor thinker).

Public radio has to move with the times (offtopic) (2, Informative)

simong (32944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912035)

I think it's partially a generational thing. Here in the UK, our national general music station, BBC Radio 2, long had a reputation of playing sixties music by day and jazz and big band music by night. Its target audience was generally the over 40s. These days it has pulled its audience back to the over 30s and has actually paid attention to what the over 30s listen to, and has become the best station in the country. But then again, I'm well over 30.

Re:NPR on /., again? (1)

megabeck42 (45659) | more than 7 years ago | (#19912019)

U of M's Michigan Radio or WCMU from Central?

Hiss. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909285)

" Researchers are also working on a 3D model that is better at removing hiss.""

I found your problem. You have a snake trapped in the machine.

sigh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909295)

Big deal. Wake me up when they can turn my girlfriend's farts into something a little easier on the ears, and make them smell like raspberries.

Hmm... (5, Funny)

Masato (567927) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909401)

I wonder if they can help this guy [youtube.com] ?

This works for me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909427)

I record bacon frying on a hot skillet. Then I reverse the polarity of the sound by hooking up my speakers backwards. I superimpose this over the phonograph and it all balances out.

Oh yeah, I almost left out the part about firing up a large doobie.

Dupe! (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909429)

I don't know what slashdot is coming to, this is a total dupe [slashdot.org] ! OK, so that story is from 2005, so what? OK, so I remember slashdot stories from two years ago. So what? Doesn't mean I don't have a life. Right? Right?
(Actually that other story is pretty cool, has some neat pictures and goes more in depth on the technology. And theres a nice thread [slashdot.org] talking about three-grooved records).
--
Looking for a C/C++ job in Silicon Valley? [slashdot.org]

Re:Dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19910353)

Five years ago, actually: it was posted in 2002.

I remembered it too, though, so I don't have a life either! :) (The slashdot story was actually the first thing I thought of when I heard about this on NPR!)

Near real time...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909601)

So, if you use this system and want to digitize 10 albums, consisting of a total of five hours of music, it will take you almost five hours. Now imagine...

Re:Near real time...? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910597)

How many libraries of congress can you scan in a minute?

Not many, apparently.

I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (4, Interesting)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909673)

I'm on the lookout for a system that will make new recordings audible again.

Virtually every new recording is compressed to the Nth degree with no sense of dynamics and utterly bereft of feeling and life. MP3 compression only makes bad recordings worse.

-S

Re:I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909957)

This product [apple.com] when combined with the included listening devices does exactly that.

/sarcasm

Re:I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910615)

It's funny you should suggest the mp3 player which historically has had the worst SNR.

Re:I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911485)

It's funny you should suggest the mp3 player which historically has had the worst SNR.
Perhaps he meant this [apple.com] ?

Technically the best SNR and the most accurate response of all audio players out there.

Re:I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911687)

While it's damn near impossible to get a hold of new music recorded in a high resolution, digital format, it's pretty safe to say that most music is widely available at a 44.1khz sample, 16 bit sound, with no compression. Music, in this fashion, can be digitally ripped from its source, with error correction, and then compressed to a lossless format, such as FLAC or WMA Lossless.

I don't settle for anything else when I don't have to, but when I do, it's 320k mp3.

Unless, of course, you're bitching about the professionals that record and mix the tracks? I find it hard to believe that they would use lossy compression techniques.

Re:I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (3, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911809)

While it's damn near impossible to get a hold of new music recorded in a high resolution, digital format, it's pretty safe to say that most music is widely available at a 44.1khz sample, 16 bit sound, with no compression.

Wrong sort of compression. All audio CDs are compressed heavily so that this week's Best Thing Ever sounds just that little bit louder than last week's Best Thing Ever.

Re:I want -NEW- recordings to be audible again (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911911)

Wrong sort of compression. All audio CDs are compressed heavily so that this week's Best Thing Ever sounds just that little bit louder than last week's Best Thing Ever.

That's one way to explain the declining trend in the quality of music over the last several years.

I'm used to music sounding pretty good, but I go out of my way to do so. Care to elaborate?

But these already exist (1)

jtgd (807477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909731)

Re:But these already exist (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910047)

Completely different technology. RTFA.

looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909767)

They are trying to find a way around the net radio tax situation. Tax evaders....UNITE!

Double-sided scanner (0, Redundant)

Limited Vision (234684) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909783)

I'd like to see a double-sided scanner.

- slide in your LP, both sides get scanned simultaneously -- maybe two passes and a slightly different angle to get the benefit of 3-D
- the software converts the grooves into mp3 / m4a, figures out where the tracks are
- pings CDDB with the name of the album and artist to get the track names (while CDDB and vinyl is flaky due to the track length varying between the vinyl and CD versions, I'm sure you could constrain the search)
- slide in the album cover, both images get scanned (and maybe use OCR to get the text, and perhaps even the track names...)

Ta da, your records are in iTunes, tracks and album art. And the RIAA is livid. Everyone wins!

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909841)

Feh, this system doesn't compare with my Panasonic H401 and Pickering XV15-E750 (30 bucks on eBay...)

Seriously though, this is a great piece of technology that should find its way into commercial versions. I remember reading a Boston Globe article about the care NPR needed to take when reproducing a 1906 rare recording by the BSO. With this system, they wouldn't have to worry, plus they'd get better sound. Also the cool thing is the system will reproduce any format (center-starting records, Edison wax cylinders etc.)

Contrary to general belief, some acoustic and early electric recordings sound very decent even on acoustic reproductors (e.g. Victrola.) You can check the videos of Victolas playing on Youtube. There's a lot of rare stuff out there worth preserving.

Been there, done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19909927)

When I was a little kid I never could hear my mother. I can't hear her now either, but for a different reason.

Too fragile to play with a needle (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910017)

And they don't just pick up an off-the-shelf laser turntable because...?

Re:Too fragile to play with a needle (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910809)

... because it was recorded on cylinders?

Re:Too fragile to play with a needle (3, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911019)

Because you didn't read the article! Laser record scanners have to spin the record around, this one scans it in place, so you can scan broken records or old Edison cylinders.

Now if ya have a pair of headphones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19910169)

...ya better get 'em out and get 'em cranked up, 'cause they're really gonna help ya on this one!

there is a recording of abe lincoln (1)

the0ther (720331) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910261)

speaking of old recordings... i do not recall the details to the story, but it was a very early audio recording device. i did not rtfa but i doubt it was recovered using the same technique. . still, how cool is that, lincoln is almost like a god in america. what a president! and we have his voice!

I'm so not impressed (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910319)

The digital reproduction just isn't as warm as the analog original we're no longer able to hear in comparison. By the way, have I told you how wonderful my gold-plated connectors are? You can practically hear the money I spent!

Re:I'm so not impressed (2)

sssssss27 (1117705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910817)

It was always my understanding that the gold plated connectors are not better because of their fidelity but because they don't corrode. Silver is the best choice for connectivity isn't it but it corrodes fairly easily.

Send in the nanobots (1)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910447)

Thousands of them, in ur grooves, scurrying around making measurements, then going home to compare notes.

Not bad. (2)

Saurian_Overlord (983144) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910591)

Cool idea. I hadn't heard about the guy using a scanner to do something like this, so this was a new one to me. If they're successful in the effort to reduce the hiss, this could indeed mean a lot in terms of preserving recordings (as a previous commenter mentioned, and TFA implied).

Since a lot of people (who obviously didn't RTFA) are confusing this idea with laser turntables, I'm assuming a number of you have experience with them. I am, of course, familiar with the concept, but I've never had the opportunity to play with one. Does anyone have a recording from such a unit, or know where one is posted? I'd be interested to hear a comparison on that type of machine.

Re:Not bad. (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910923)

It's a cool idea. I hadn't heard about the guy scanning disks for archival format, so this is new to me. This could mean a lot in terms of preserving recordings.

A lot of people are experienced with laser turntables. In fact, a recent Spin Magazine survey indicates that laser turntables have overtaken conventional turntables by a ratio of 2:1. By comparison, conventional turntables have a much lower treble range, weaker bass, and higher overall cost. It's the CD generation that is holding music back.

Saw this on Tomorrow's World (UK) in the early 90s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19911345)

I'm sure I saw this being demonstrated on the now-defunct UK science show Tomorrow's World back in the early 90's.

The lawyers from the RIAA called. (0, Flamebait)

jon287 (977520) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911443)

Turns out, "antiquated recording schemes" and "broken media" are actually forms of copy protection. Scanning in this manner clearly violates the DMCA. Of course they will be asking for around 2.5 times the economic output of the entire planet in damages to make sure the original artists (who are of course dead) are fairly compensated.

On a side note, I wonder if the poor souls recorded on these mediums will now finally be able to pay back their record company advances... minus packaging and distibution fees of course.

Real examples of converted audio (2, Informative)

ambanmba (857022) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911487)

Coincidentally, I just spent the last weekend converting some old 78s using a modern (albeit not laser-based) record player. I wrote a little article about it here: http://www.ambor.com/public/78rpm/78rpm.html [ambor.com] , including some sample audio clips that show what the raw recording sounds like and then shows what some open source audio restoration software can do.

Funny... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911539)

I saw this done years ago at an art exhibit in Seattle at 911 Media Arts. I thought it was cool (in that industrial sense) but I didn't expect to be reading about it as news something like 15 years later.
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