Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Removing wow and flutter from vintage recordings.

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse









X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Removing wow and flutter from vintage recordings.

    A lot of great hit songs from the 1960's contain wow and flutter.   And I mean,   that's the way they originally went to vinyl,  that's the way they were played on the radio,  and that's the way they're appearing today,  digitized to CD...     even when the label says "remastered".

    Take records like:

    "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees
    "To Sir With Love"  by Lulu
    "Oh Me,  Oh My  (I'm A Fool For You, Baby)"  by Lulu
    "Brand New Me" by Dusty Springfield

    "Happy,  Happy Birthday,  Baby"  by The Tuneweavers
    "O-oh Child" by The Five Stairsteps
    "You Were On My Mind" by We Five

    "Young Girl" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
    "Bend Me,  Shape Me" by The American Breed
    "Tighter,  Tighter" by Alive 'n' Kickin'
    "Stay Awhile" by The Bells
    "Love (Can Make You Happy)"  by Mercy

    "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration" by The Righteous Brothers
    "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" by The Walker Brothers
    "Midnight Confessions" by The Grass Roots
    "White Bird"  by It's A Beautiful Day


    ...and lots of others. (Play 'em now on YouTube,  and you'll hear it!)


    There are subtle,  yet perceptible lurches in pitch...  or pitch flutter in some parts...   giving the record a certain sound.   In fact,  it's difficult to think of these recordings any other way:  the lurching and flutter is part of "the record".  (I could be wrong,  but it seems to me that they used to play around a lot with tape speeds,  trying to synch up different sections or voices of songs...    e.g. all the stuff George Martin had to do with,   say,  "A Day In The Life",   etc.....      and those tape speed tweaks  were never quite  perfectly achieved.)

    I've been playing around with a free demo of Celemony CAPSTAN,   a new software based upon the system of polyphonic/multitimbral "deconstruction" that MELODYNE has (more or less) been able to achieve of late.   Its sole function---   it only boasts about 5 or 6 controls on it---    is to remove wow and flutter from wavefiles.    It's pretty amazing,  and it's a startling feeling to hear some of these recordings--   whose every nuance you've come to know so well over the years---     played with a completely smooth pitch contour.   Like buttah.

    Have any of you played around with CAPSTAN?     Check out their promo video:



    P.S.  I'm fully aware that there will be some purists who will perversely maintain that the wow and flutter added "character" to a recording,  and hence one shouldn't tamper with it.  :smiley-angry037: 

    Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


    Friend me on FACEBOOK!

  • #2

    re: "Daydream Believer" -- I'd certainly noticed the piano sounds funky -- and, of course, Davey's voice is pretty much permanent chipmunk tremolo -- but, yeah, it does, indeed, seem like speed problems pervade the whole track.


    But, like you say, it wouldn't be the same track any other way.


    It's like the Derek & the Dominos record. Great record. But truckloads of technical compromises/problems. still... don't change a single lick or fader flick.


     



    Now... you wanna talk crazy wow (and flutter,too), check out some of the classic Jamaican singles -- I mean, the real, stamped singles -- from the 60s and early 70s. My pals who used to go to Jamaica would just line up the 45s by eye,  without a center adapter, because they could almost always do better than the actual die cut center hole


     


    PS... Just dropped the needle on "Bend Me, Shape Me." Oh, yeah. It all came rushing back to me like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist. THOSE HORNS... oi veh! Also, they must have done a bunch of bounces, some of the submixes sound SO dull.


    ‚Äč
    music and social stuff

    Comment


    • MikeRivers
      MikeRivers commented
      Editing a comment

      Capstan isn't all that new (maybe they lowered the price?). I had a pretty good demo of it at the AES show, I think two years ago. It's an interesting program and it can be effective for some types of flutter. It uses their "Audio DNA" principle to determine the pitch of the music and use that as a reference for fixing short term variations in pitch. 

      The other approach is Plangent Process that uses bias recovered from the tape as the primary frequency reference for the recording and makes short term adjustments in pitch to keep the bias frequency constant. It can also use other frequency-stable noise sources like AC line hum as a refernce.

      Some pitch changes in recordings from the early tape days were intentional. They didn't have Auto-Tune back then, and if a singer was too badly off pitch, they adjusted the speed (manually, of course) to keep him in tune, letting the orchestra go off pitch when they were in the background. Johnny Mathis was famous for this. 


  • #3

    rasputin1963 wrote:

    A lot of great hit songs from the 1960's contain wow and flutter.   And I mean,   that's the way they originally went to vinyl,  that's the way they were played on the radio,  and that's the way they're appearing today,  digitized to CD...     even when the label says "remastered".

    I'm fully aware that there will be some purists who will perversely maintain that the wow and flutter added "character" to a recording,  and hence one shouldn't tamper with it. 

    I'm quite sure that I've seen a tape simulator plug-in or two that have a "flutter" control, and also "hum." Nothing like a little authenticity.

    --
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

    Comment


    • Anderton
      Anderton commented
      Editing a comment

      MikeRivers wrote:


      rasputin1963 wrote:

      A lot of great hit songs from the 1960's contain wow and flutter.   And I mean,   that's the way they originally went to vinyl,  that's the way they were played on the radio,  and that's the way they're appearing today,  digitized to CD...     even when the label says "remastered".


      I'm fully aware that there will be some purists who will perversely maintain that the wow and flutter added "character" to a recording,  and hence one shouldn't tamper with it. 


      I'm quite sure that I've seen a tape simulator plug-in or two that have a "flutter" control, and also "hum." Nothing like a little authenticity.




      Music relates to memory in a very powerful way. If what we remember of those songs included wow and flutter, then our memory kinda wants the wow and flutter to be present.


      When Waves did their Aural Exciter emulation, they included a switch to add the original noise that was in the unit. I thought that was crazy, but they said that when they were testing the plug-in with various engineers, there until complaints about something not sounding "quite right"...until they flicked the switch.


  • #4

    rasputin1963 wrote:


    I've been playing around with a free demo of Celemony CAPSTAN,   a new software based upon the system of polyphonic/multitimbral "deconstruction" that MELODYNE has (more or less) been able to achieve of late.   Its sole function---   it only boasts about 5 or 6 controls on it---    is to remove wow and flutter from wavefiles.    It's pretty amazing,  and it's a startling feeling to hear some of these recordings--   whose every nuance you've come to know so well over the years---     played with a completely smooth pitch contour.   Like buttah.

    Have any of you played around with CAPSTAN?     Check out their promo video:


    I've heard of this, but didn't know they had a software demo.  About a year ago when I first heard of it, a license was somewhere in the range of $10K.


    EDIT:  I see a full license is $4500 now and they offer a five day rental for $200. 

    Comment


    • techristian
      techristian commented
      Editing a comment

      P.S.  I'm fully aware that there will be some purists who will perversely maintain that the wow and flutter added "character" to a recording,  and hence one shouldn't tamper with it.

       

      It is like the old  synths with OUT OF TUNE oscillators. That's what gave them that warm THICK sound !!! You wouldn't want to mess with that !!

       

      Dan

       

       



Working...
X