If you're a serious collector of 78s from the dawn of recording through 1924, known as the "acoustic era", you probably have some discs that are more enjoyable to look at than to listen to. Time, abuse and playing wear have not been kind to many of these old gems, and some of them are not much more than a mass of scratches, hisses, pops and other noise that almost completely obscure the actual recording. You might listen to them once, just to get a taste of what was once there. But then the disc goes back on the shelf, probably never to be listened to again.
While working with a collection of acoustic era classic banjo recordings, Waystation Partners Music has developed a proprietary technique for reviving these old performances. Using this technique, nearly inaudible sounds can be recovered from heavily worn 78s, cylinders and other early acoustic recordings.
For an example of a worst-case fix, listen to this recording of Vess Ossman playing Whistling Rufus. The left channel has the original source recording, taken from a CD. The right channel is the same recording, after processing. While there are some artifacts and the sound quality is a bit unnatural, remember - this is a worst case. For a more typical example, listen to Vess Ossman's Rusty Rags and A Little Bit of Everything. This was a much cleaner original, but it still had a fair amount of surface noise. Note that the announcer's echo - usually lost in the surface noise - is very audible on Rusty Rags, and that the sound of the banjo is natural on both tunes. This technique is particularly friendly to banjos, which produce sounds in a limited range of frequencies, but will work for other instruments and voice as well.
What I did for these recordings, I can also do for your 78s. Send me a clean digital recording of your 78. Don't send me the actual 78, as I don't want to be responsible for handling and shipping rare records. I'll work with it and send you a 15-30 second sample of the processed recording, or a request for different equalization, or a louder recording, or the like. Worst case, I'll email and tell you your recording is a lost cause. If you like what you hear, I'll complete the job after payment. Simple, eh? You risk nothing until you know you'll be satisfied with the end result.
If you're not equipped to make digital copies of your 78s, contact me and I'll send you a postal address where you can send a tape recording. Considering the sound quality of these records, a little tape hiss isn't going to make any difference at all!
So here's a chance to really listen to some of your most valuable 78 and cylinder recordings for the first time! Email me for more information.
(For all you electrically recorded 78 collectors - I can clean those up too. They just lose some dynamic range and detail, as opposed to the acoustical recordings that didn't have that much detail in the first place!)