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Resurrecting audio.

Over 6.4 million recordings reside within the confines of the world's largest sound archives. Many of these recordings take the shape of lacquered discs, shellac discs, or celluloid cylinders. The problem, however, has been how to adequately preserve/restore these priceless works. Enter Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Calif., physicists Carl Haber and Vitaliy Fadeyev and the Berkeley Lab Optical Sound Restoration (OSR) System. This groundbreaking system allows for the non-contact restoration of sound from mechanical sound carriers using optical metrology, image digitization, and computer algorithms.

The idea behind this system came about while both researchers were working at particle accelerators at Fermilab, and the European Center for Particle Physics. It was at these facilities that the team recognized that the methods being employed to search for the widely theorized Higgs Boson particle could also be applied, to of all things, audio restoration.

Instead of measuring radiation, the group adapted their optical metrology system to map the grooves pressed in shellac phonograph discs, by way of a digital camera attached to a microscope with coaxial illumination. The subsequent images were then processed to remove scratches and blemishes and analyzed to determine the shapes of the sound wave. The computed stylus motion is then converted to a digital sound format. Institutions like The Library of Congress have already entered into a collaboration to develop a 2D OSR workstation in order to create copies of some of its oldest recordings.

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Title Annotation:audio recording
Publication:R & D
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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