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Particle physicists rescue rare records

Related threads:
Digital turntable for vinyl records (32)
Sound restoration (10)
Sound archives decaying (35)
Restoring Old Recordings (4)


Wolfgang 21 Apr 04 - 03:13 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Apr 04 - 04:54 PM
JohnInKansas 21 Apr 04 - 07:02 PM
Wolfgang 22 Apr 04 - 08:20 AM
Steve Parkes 22 Apr 04 - 09:20 AM
Steve Parkes 22 Apr 04 - 09:26 AM
Roger the Skiffler 22 Apr 04 - 09:36 AM
Wolfgang 22 Apr 04 - 10:10 AM
Steve Parkes 22 Apr 04 - 11:00 AM
Geoff the Duck 22 Apr 04 - 01:53 PM
GUEST,Shlio 22 Apr 04 - 04:59 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 04 - 05:55 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 04 - 06:01 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 04 - 06:17 PM
Wolfgang 22 Apr 04 - 06:29 PM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 04 - 08:05 PM
Joe Offer 23 Apr 04 - 12:16 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Apr 04 - 12:50 AM
Amos 23 Apr 04 - 01:03 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Apr 04 - 01:26 AM
Steve Parkes 23 Apr 04 - 04:06 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Apr 04 - 04:48 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Apr 04 - 05:29 AM
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Subject: Tech: Modern Physics and old recordings
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 03:13 PM

Scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory use optical (touch free) scanning to play old pre LP Shellac (I use the German word and hope you understand) recordings. It will even be possible to play broken records this way.

If you want to compare the traditional (analog) and the new (digital) sound go here. The site is in German, but you can scroll for 'Goodnight Irene' to start the audios.

Museums are eager to use this technique for old recordings of which the only remaining disk is broken.

Wolfgang
Messages from multiple threads combined. If you want to know which message came from which thread, watch the message titles.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Modern Physics and old recordings
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 04:54 PM

Someone already started a thread on this. I don't remember what it was called, but the information there (and here) is quite hopeful for those of us who like some of the really old recordings of things.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Modern Physics and old recordings
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Apr 04 - 07:02 PM

Actually, the report that the site linked in the other page was talking about was delivered - I don't know if it was for the first time then - about two years ago. I've got a partial copy of the "speech" archived from a link in a much earlier thread, but inexplicably I didn't save the thread id. The thread was probably 2001 or 2002, or possibly earlier.

The optical scan is nothing new. That dates back to attempts, more or less successful, at least a decade or two ago. The point of the article, and the related research, is that they have been able to use the signal analysis methods (high powered arithmetic) developed for "extracting particle tracks" from surrounding noise in photographs to separate by analysis the "pure signal" from the surrounding noise. It's mostly a process of "teaching" the computer to "recognize" the particular parts of the "picture" that are signal and to remove the rest that is "noise."

It's not really the optics, it's the computer program, and the way it's used that's significant.

To some extent, this is the same computational technology, adapted after it's development largely in atomic physics, that extracts the individual camouflaged people from satellite photos or extracts the picture of a tumor or a ruptured blood vessel from a tomographic scan. It's the number crunching that does it.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Modern Physics and old recordings
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 08:20 AM

Funny that they did publish this as news in Germany.

Yes, there is an old thread: Sound restoration

Wolfgang


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Subject: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 09:20 AM

In this week's New Scientist there is an article describing how the optical system used to make extremely delicate alignments to the ATLAS experiment for the Large hadron Collider (don't ask!) has been used to clean up recordings from old warped and scratched discs.

Briefly, the playing surface is scanned, and scratches removed from the image; the needle groove shape is then converted into a digital audio file by some clever software. They've been wiorking with the US Library of Congress, and there is a couple of WAV file extracts from Leadbelly's Goodnight Irene before and after you can download (very short).

I don't know how long it will be before this service is available commercially, or when we'll be able to buy our own kit!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 09:26 AM

BTW, a useful by-product of all this is they might find the Higgs boson. Whatever that is.


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 09:36 AM

Ah, yes, the Higgs Bosun (U Steve not O). The SS Higgs was sailing along on a clear day, no sea at all, light winds when the Bosun just disappeared, alien abduction, Bermuda Triangle, particle physics, who knows....

RtS
(I'll get me lab coat...)


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 10:10 AM

The title here is much better than mine:

Modern physics and old recordings

A case for thread merging

Wolfgang (envious)
Messages from multiple threads combined.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Modern Physics and old recordings
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 11:00 AM

Sorry Wolfgang: don't know how I missed your thread. I picked up the New Scientist one today because it comes out on Thursdays.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, you can buy record decks that use a laser to read the groove instead of making physical contact, but these still rotate the disc in the conventional way. The new system (I belive) scans the stationary disc. The optical resolution is around 1/1,000 millimetre (about 2.5 millionths of an inch), which is a bit better than most flatbed scanners. As you say, it's possible to scan the pieces of a broken record and have the software knit them back together.

I think it ought to be possible to do a reasonable job of extracting the sound from an image made on a conventional scanner at conventionally high resolution (around 1,000-3,000 dpi), if they make the software available to us. You'd have to scan the record in two goes if it was wider than the scanner bed (which 10" & 12" discs would be).

this is rather exciting! We must keep each other informed of developments. (My thread: Particle physicists rescue rare records)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 01:53 PM

Before you can merge the threads, remember to scan them and delete the scratches, then take the bloken parts and.....
Hang on Roger! I'll get my lab coat as well...
Quack!
GtD.
(or you can ask Joe Offer)


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: GUEST,Shlio
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 04:59 PM

Always knew them physicists were good for something


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 05:55 PM

In, I think, order of appearance, we have recently:

1. Restoring Old Recordings – news (GUEST,pattyClink 16 Apr 04 - 11:21 AM)

2. Tech: Modern Physics and old recordings (Wolfgang 21 Apr 04 - 03:13 PM)(merged with this thread)

3. Particle physicists rescue rare records (Steve Parkes 22 Apr 04 - 09:20 AM) (This thread)

Obviously a lot of us are interested in this – or a few of us think we should be interested.

In (2) above, Wolfgang gave us a link to Physiker retten Schellack-Aufnahmen which I think is probably a "der Spiegel"(?) page, with links to sample sound clips.

In (3) above, Steve Parks, gave a link to Particle physicists rescue rare vinyl recordings 11:11 20 April 04 from "New Scientist," which also has links to what are probably the same clips (I didn't check, sorry).

(1) above gave a link to http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/Phys-quarks-to-blues.html - and who knows who these guys are - where another version of the recent report is up. This link gives the most detailed additional information.

There are a couple of downloadable .wav files there, at the lin from (1)and that page has a link to:

Sound Reproduction R & D Home Page

The R & D "Home" page has approximately 9 soundclips that may be interesting. Unless you have a fast connection, I'd suggest right-clicking the link and "Save Target As" to get and save a full download, and then play them from "your own" file. My player(s) had minor trouble "streaming" them, but I have a very slow connection, especially the last few days. The files are 1.2MB to about 2MB each.

The "Home" page also has a link to the Final Report Submitted to JAES ( March 2003). This one is about 1.2 MB, .pdf, 21 pages, and does include quite a few pretty pictures, lots of citations (including links, if they work, to info on some of the sound equipment they used). It might be of interest to the "machine nuts" among us who are looking for leads on "top of the line(?) equipment," even if they're not curious about the particular technology.

The "Home" page also links to the Final Version of Library of Congress Presentation June 2003. This is a PowerPoint file, and is 7.4 MB. Again I would recommend a Right-Click and "Save Target As." This was a 30+ minute download on my connection. My experience has been that PowerPoint files don't "stream" well (view as they download).

Many people with Office Home, or with recent versions of Office Pro, may not have PowerPoint, since it only comes with "selected versions" of Office. You can download a free PowerPoint Viewer that will let you view, but not create or edit, PowerPoint files. For those not familiar with viewing PowerPoint, click anywhere on the screen to go to the next "slide."

The third "maybe interesting but probably not to most" major link on the "Home" page is to the (internal?) Recent Presentation to LBL Research Progress Meeting, Sept 2003. This is a 9+ MB .pdf. so above recommendations on download apply. This one actually has the most detailed information, including some comparisons to "other methods" and a brief list of other recent and historical attempts (not really complete). It was apparently intended to have "built in" links to the sound samples you can also get from the site, but the links are not functional in the copy I downloaded, although you can probably identify "which one goes where" from the context, and you'll need to download the "clips" separately (1 to 2 MB each).

A note on large .pdf downloads: With .pdf, you can look at the first few pages "on the fly," as they download, but there's no good way to tell when the download is done and can be saved. In some (most?) versions of Windows, clicking on the "Save" floppy-icon in the .pdf before it's done loading does a "screen lock" that effectively disables "multitasking." This is probably because IE/acrobat take over 100% of the cpu cycles, so you may appear to be "locked up" and not doing anything. At least with the "Save Target As" method, you get a usable progress indicator.

As with many "research projects," these guys tell you a lot about how they made the pictures. Of course - that's what they did. The pictures are maybe a little better than others have produced, and getting the good pictures is essential to the process; but the real accomplishement is in being able to "do the math." They give no information, that I've found so far, on the programs/algorithms that actually make any of this useful.

Now THAT would be really interesting.

I would also not put a lot of hope/faith in this being ready to save the Smithsonian and LOC archives. Buried deep in at least one of the reports is the admission that the method they used requires forty eight minutes to image the track for each second of sound. (They do NOT mention how long it takes to analyse each second of sound.) Of course, there's the standard conclusion "Further Research ($$$$$$$) is required," and some suggestions on how to (incrementally) improve imaging speed – but we have how many seconds of records at the LOC/Smithsonian collection????.

Good job, guys; but you ain't done yet. (Further Research Required? – emphatic YES!)

Whether they've been "cost effective' is something for the BGWMs (Big Guys With Money). Further work is definitely needed, and I hope it will continue.


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 06:01 PM

The Clones are cross posting with me!!!

Threads (2) and (3) that I listed above have been merged here.

I don't believe that the (1) thread was included in the merge, and it does have the link to the best information, although I included that link in my post above.

John
    I was going to do the merge yesterday, but Mudcat or my Internet connection was overcome with sluggishness. I merged the current threads just now, as John was posting; but then found several older threads on sound restoration, and added them to the crosslinks at the top of this thread.
    Sorry for the confusion, John.
    Say, isn't it nice that those nuclear physicists are finally doing something useful (and peaceful) with our tax dollars?

    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 06:17 PM

Joe - you're too fast (by "half" at least) for me.

For the innocent bystanders, I screwed up some links, and while I was "re-re-re-proofing that post, Joe merged two recent threads - thus invalidating my first paragraph when I re-posted the one I had messed up.

While I was sending a message to HELP to explain all this, and to point out the third thread that might be merged, Joe did the clean up on my goof, and did the additional merge.

All is well (I think). Thanks Joe.

(who, me? confused?)

John


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 06:29 PM

With all the links now and the list of related threads this thread is a prime example of a successful restoration.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 08:05 PM

Yes Wolfgang, but the 30 or 40 seconds of sound from the guys originally doing all the bragging is a long way from saving the LOC.

Actually, there are a few other related threads, but I think we should wait until we can sneak the links in while the clones are napping. (but they never sleep.)

John


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 12:16 AM

Hey - I have three threads in the crosslinks on top. What others are there?
I've been trying to help Roberto understand recordings from the Ozark Folksongs CD of Vance Randolph field recordings. Sure would be nice if the sound could be improved on thse scratchy recordings. Same with all those Yazoo recordings I bought.
Many Lomax field recordings are pretty good, and Sandy Paton's field recordings are excellent on CD. The Warner and Randolph field recordings are very difficult listening.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 12:50 AM

Joe O -

I don't think you can count on this technology for any immediate help.

I had considered links to a couple of older threads "related" in that they whipped the "durability of CDs" and a couple of "signal processing" cleanup arguments (who's got the best program stuff) pretty much to death. I think you got the "CD life" one.

Some of our people seem to know something about using the "waveform editors" to take some of the pops and whistles out, but I don't recall any specific thread that would stand out as a good one to consult.

The Smithsonian Archiving project was linked in a fairly recent (a few days ago?) thread, but I can't recall just what the title was. I think the kick-off comment was something about "they put A in their 'hall of fame,' why didn't they do B;" but I'm shooting blanks on the names. "Hall of Fame" is probably not right. "Archive selections?" I do seem to recall that the "main names" were bluesmen.

John


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Amos
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 01:03 AM

THERE is a program called Sound Soap which specifically removes pops and whistles, as well as any other learned pattern of noise, from a variety of soundfile formats.

A


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 01:26 AM

Joe O - You got the "Sounds Archives Decaying" and "Sound Restoration" threads that I had thought about linking in this thread (in the header here).

One other, vaguely related, might be How Well do CDs Last (Ebbie 28 Jul 01 - 03:56 PM). I think this was the "core" thread of a group of them on that subject (that probably could have been - or maybe were - merged).

Amos - Sound Soap has been mentioned in a couple of threads, but I can't remember where. It looks pretty good, but there are many others.

Do you maybe remember one of those threads where the subject was "Do it yourself cleanup" or something similar. I know we've had a lot of suggestions in various of them. It might be better to link to one of those with a more specific subject, where all the suggestions don't need repeating? (And I'd probably like to look at some of them again, without having to look them up myself. :-)

John


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 04:06 AM

After I'd sent my last post, I downloaded the PDFs and settled down to read them. Will the LOC last long enought for them to scan much of it?! It takes me about five minutes to set up and digitally record one side of a 78, and from five minutes to an hour to cean it up to a reasonable standard (to my own satisfaction; and remember I'm a bit deaf!) and I thought that was a long time. We need someone with plenty of time & money to develop software that will "read" a conventional scan of the kind we can do at home. Any offers?

Thanks for the sterling work, Joe

Steve


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 04:48 AM

Steve -

There are some systems being used to "extract" and clean up sound tracks from either "high resolution photos" or "high resolution scans" of a record's grooves. (Photo vs Scan is all pretty much cats of a different color, but still cats.) Quite a few of the "Digitally remastered" stuff at your local CD pushers probably are actually made this way. They just think that it sounds better if they can imply that they had an original digital track - when often what they had is a digitized "original audio" track. Performance is ... variable?

The .psd of these guy's "Lab Report" has a number of references to "other methods," but I haven't looked at whether they include any of the ones that are actually being used.

The Smithsonian Archiving project has been selecting about 30(?) artists per year for "intensive treatment," but I'm not sure how they're treating them.

Regardless of what method the Smithsonian/LOC Archiving project (or anyone else "saving old records") is using, the real work will have to be done by the computers, including perhaps some analog processors of course. In order to copy what's on the track, you copy the "blemishes" along with the music, and they have to be separated. There's some "pretty good" software to do this, and even quite a lot of stuff available to the "serious amateur," but it's usually labor intensive if the source is at all "dirty."

If the guys who wrote the report can actually get their "pattern recognition" program to work so that it automates the cleanup, it wouldn't take too many "banks of a few hundreds of scanners" to produce enough scans to keep the processors busy, and they do seem to think they can speed up the scanning process.

Incidentally, one of the processes they use that was given only passing mention is the "stitching together" of the scans to make a continuous track picture. That function is automated in the HP scanner "autostitch" utility, and does a pretty good job. You can also get it, with a little more versatility and control in the "Panorama Assembler" that's built into Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Works like a charm, if your "pieces" are reasonable decent.

The same optical physics theories that produced the non-contact confocal optical probe that these guys used (a commercial product, in fact) also gives us the hyperfocal lens imaging used to get those "deep" pictures you see of the baseball game on your TV. If you look carefully, you may note that the objects farthest away appear larger than nearer ones, so you can detect when this method is being used (sometimes). Both devices have come from those "useless academic researches" that polititions love to make fun of when they need a whipping boy to prove that they're "careful spenders" - so that they can get the money for their personal pork.

John


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Subject: RE: Particle physicists rescue rare records
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 05:29 AM

References to the Smithsonion Archiving project should be to "Save Our Sounds." Steve Parkes put a link to the SOS in the opening post of the "Sound Archives Decaying" thread that's in the "relateds" list at the top of this thread.

The SOS pages give a nice "we're gonna do" brag summary, but don't reveal much about what they've actually accomplished, or how. I'm pretty sure that they've been at it for a while; and we occasionally see "pick lists" that say who they're doing next; but I can't find anything that says who they've done already, or how.

John


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