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Old August 23rd, 2008, 03:33 AM   #1
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Echo suppression?

I am doing an audio restoration from a cassette recording made ages ago. It is a piano music (Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata) with a man reading a script ... the piano music is fine. The problem is the man's voice ... has lots of echoes in there. Any software / technique to reduce that to an acceptable level?

The background is the piano. The man's voice comes in once in a while ... to mask just the voice itself is very hard work (assuming it can be done).
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 06:08 AM   #2
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Echo or reverb? If it's reverb then I've never found any tool that can remove it - as it's a time domain problem. Discreet echos can sometimes be removed/reduced by copying and pasting a time slipped duplicate, to phase it out, but if the music is playing at the same time - I suspect you are doomed!
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 06:53 AM   #3
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It is echo. But, there's background music playing at the same time. Look's like this one is doomed ...
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 08:32 AM   #4
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Have you got adobe audition - I have to admit that looking at the offending track in the visual editor sometimes let's you see things that can be repaired, even when you cannot do it by listening. However, if the music gets in the way, I doubt there is much if anything, you can do.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 09:33 AM   #5
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I am using Sony Sound Forge and iZoTope RX. So I am seeing the waveform as well as the spectrum. The problem is the sheer number of places in this audio file that this is happening. I can manually fix one - that takes me about 10 - 15 minutes. But, there is no way to fix if it is a 60 minute recording with the speaker talking in about 45 minutes of it.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 02:32 PM   #6
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Secret weapon of the audio engineer: SPL Transient Designer. I use it on every mix.

It has two controls: Attack and Release. Just shorten the release time and... there you go.
There are plugins that do the same thing also.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #7
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Thanks for the great hint. I found one VST plugin that works for Sound Forge ... Schaack Audio Technologies - Transient Shaper. Also two controls only - Attack and Release. Good - reduce the Release time (like what you said) - and the echoes are much less now.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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Words being eaten!

I honestly could have used this to salvage recordings many times in the past - I was frankly sceptical. So I took a piano recital, and another track of a dry after dinner speaker, mixed the two, and added some church style reverb.

Exported this to a stereo audio file, and then imported this into Cubase. First tried all sorts of dynamics processors - a tad of difference, but all succeeded in making the piano articulation suffer quite badly, when the speaking was cleaned up.

Downloaded the Shaack Transient Shaper, and installed the demo. Tried it, and it works! Fair enough the piano suffers a little, but far, far better results than I'd hoped for!

I shall download the full version - an excellent plug-in.

Thanks for this topic!
Paul
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Old August 24th, 2008, 09:32 PM   #9
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Greetings Paul,

If you are not aware of the tools out there, nobody to blame for that. I would NEVER suspect that the transient shaper / dynamics tool could be used to reduce echoes / reverbs without affecting (or minimally affecting) the background music. Thanks to Arthur, I know better now. AND added a massively useful tool / technique to my audio toolkit.

You don't have to uninstall or download the full version. That version of Transient Shaper is already the full version. You just need the license key. Cheap - for what it does. Excellent.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #10
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Glad I could be of help!

I am a recording engineer/music producer by trade. The whole video side was more of a passion/hobby that is getting more serious now.

Personally, I prefer the SPL hardware version, I use the 4 channel version as "hardware insert" on my ProTools HD3 rig.
The art is to play with the release control to achieve the optimum compromise.

Also, great for giving a somewhat 'dull' recording more 'edge' or 'bite' - not only percussive instruments, but also others.
E.g. I record a lot at Abbey Road studios. In one of the sessions there, I was recording the LSO (london symphony) and the first violin lacked a bit of 'bite' for the feeling I was going for in the mix. So I gave it a bit of 'attack', just a hint, and there it was... shiny and proud :D

Cheers
Arthur
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Old August 30th, 2008, 12:19 PM   #11
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Hi Arthur,

SPL requires a h/w DSP card - which I don't have. So it is easier for me to look for a totally software DSP, which luckily, I managed to find one. And it works the same way as SPL version too.

Abbey Road (London) studios - that really brings back fond memories for me. I was working there part-time for 6 months (1980) as an audio engineer too. That time, I was playing with Ampex 1" open reel tape recorders.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 07:50 AM   #12
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Cool!
I did about a dozen sessions there, recording and producing. So you remember Collette? She is a great studio manager!

I worked with Andrew Powell, the producer for the first two Kate Bush albums and Al Stewart's year of the cat etc. He was around a lot back in the early 80s, remember him? He was also part of Alan Parsons Project.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 09:31 AM   #13
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I only recalled Collette. Yes - she is a very nice lady to work with. I was mostly dealing with the backend - things like checking the open reel recorders are in order, whether the mixers are okay, etc ....
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Kay View Post
Secret weapon of the audio engineer: SPL Transient Designer. I use it on every mix.

It has two controls: Attack and Release. Just shorten the release time and... there you go.
There are plugins that do the same thing also.
Thanks Arthur,

I have reached out to them to see if I can get a copy for review.

Altering transients should have little effect on removing echo from poorly recorded dialog. There may be some side effect that does the job. I found that was the case with the GML noise reduction unit. It wasn't designed to reduce room reflections, but when used just a little, it helped some.

I get the impression from this forum that the people who ask about this have typically used a camera mounted mic and are too far away. I doubt that any processing can help those situations.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 1st, 2008, 11:49 AM   #15
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Hi Ford,

The SPL software requires the h/w DSP card. I found a purely s/w only implementation that sounds just as good in removing the echoes.

Sometimes, we are asked to clean up poorly recorded audio for clients ... we can't go back to do another recording. Too late. And the clients hand over a C60 cassette tape - and expect us to work miracles. Sometimes, we do perform miracles for them. No choice.
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