February 1st, 2004


Skippity Skip

In a weird bit of synchronicity today over at b.org, hecubot mentioned that he thought I would like some of John Entwistle's old solo albums, and that I should check them out. As it happened, I had Entwistle's Whistle Rymes sitting on my desk, waiting for me to get a chance to rip that old slab of vinyl into mp3s. It's an album I like quite a bit, although I hadn't listened to it in quite a while. Entwistle wrote darkly humorous songs about the aftermath of relationships, the kind that you listen to when you're so down that the only way to deal with the situation is black humor. I listened to Whistle Rymes a lot in the weeks after the ex and I first separated.

I'd had good luck last week when I ripped a couple of vinyl sides to mp3s for the Brittle Innings mix, but those two records were in much better shape than this one. One quick pass of each track through Cool Edit's noise filter took care of the few clicks and pops, and the tracks sounded great. Not so for this one.

There was a lot of background noise on the raw files, and applying the noise filter didn't really do much. I tried a different pre-set (one for heavily damaged tracks), but that took a lot of the music with it. Fortunately, the clicks stand out like a sore thumb on the wave form, so I was able to track each one down manually and apply the heavy duty filter just to the spots that needed it. Yes, some of the tone gets wiped away, too, but by zooming in, you only need to turn the filter on for about a tenth of a second or less, so the loss isn't noticeable. Plus, no click.

So that was working. Except, there was one spot where it sounded like there was not just a click, but rather an abrupt change, like the record has skipped. It was in an instrumental part, so it was hard to tell if it was really a skip, or just something that was actually in the song. However, a bit later in the same track, there was a more obvious skip while Entwistle was singing. No editing software in the world can fix what isn't there. Bother.

I could just try cleaning the record again, and then re-ripping it, to see if I can get an unskippy track. OTOH, Amazon does sell the CD version of the album for $12.98, so maybe I'll just buy that.
  • Current Music
    "I Feel Better" -- John Entwistle