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Dealing with distorted audio

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Nicolas Laborde ZuninoDealing with distorted audio
by on Jul 24, 2016 at 1:29:26 am

Hi! I´m dealing with a big problem. I'm used to deal with problematic audios from wedding recordings, but this one is specially complicated. It's an audio from a wedding party recorded by one of my cameraman. It begun at the end of ceremony, and continued all across the party. It's oversaturated wit a lot of clicks and clips, and with a beep sound that comes and goes. For the beep I worked with the spectral view and deleted the sound, and then I analized the waveform with the diagnostic tool and fixed most clics and clips. But when I equalize I cannot get the best equalization. Any suggestion? Thereis a lot of bass frequencies but not high frequencies. Below I attach a small sample of audio file, and a screen capture of what I've done in Audition.
Thanks in advance!

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Simon BillingtonRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 22, 2016 at 5:21:48 pm

Thats a very difficult issue to solve indeed.

I downloaded the sample to have a look at it and see if I can understand what's going on, but much of it still remains a mystery. I've never heard audio issues quite like this before, but I decided to have a crack at it.

I ran the original distorted audio through a few restoration processes. The end result isn't perfect, it rarely ever is, but it's certainly much better than the original. It should certainly suffice for the wedding vid.

Wedding Audio (edit)

The caveat is that it did take me a little time to nut out and it wasn't exactly a straight forward process. In the end it involved a combination of hum removal, declipping, and multiband declicking. I'm not even sure Audition is even capable of half of this. I had to go hardcore with something much more expensive.

In addition to having the noise removed, this file has undergone an enhancement process to improve intelligibility and overall quality of the audio. You can check it out here.

Wedding Audio (enhance)

Unfortunately, the enhancement process brings a few more of the imperfections to light, but barely. I still think its a more preferable trade off over both the original and the restored version above and should increase the enjoyability for the viewer.

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Nicolas Laborde ZuninoRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 22, 2016 at 6:42:37 pm

Woow Simon , thanks a lot for spending your time with this trouble! Two questions: 1-did you work with Audition in both cases?, 2-could you send me a screen capture or a pic of which settings did you use? The second one is perfect compared to the original!
(I hope that the couple do not use this forum hehe)

Thanks again

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Simon BillingtonRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 23, 2016 at 3:34:07 am
Last Edited By Simon Billington on Aug 23, 2016 at 3:49:10 am

No, I had to crack out the big guns.

I did it all in RX Advanced, but with the enhancement I used 3rd Party plugins, mostly Waves.. Mainly H-EQ, H-Comp & Vitamin, that I can recall.

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Steven TalleyRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 23, 2016 at 6:05:37 am

I listened to Simon's fix and attempted to emulate what he accomplished. Using Audition I think I got pretty close.

1. Using Automatic Click Remover, Highlight the right channel only. Use 0% threshold and 100% complexity. no need to do the left unless there are clicks elsewhere in the full clip.

2. Save a noise print of the high pitched sound at the end of the sample clip. About .100ths of a second should be enough. once the clip is saved, highlight entire audio clip and pick Effect-Noise Reduction and apply 100% and reduce by 10-50 dB. (your choice)

3. EQ Parametric Equalizer, pick Loudness Maximizer. I set the L value at -18 at about 180 Hz. Set H value to -16 at about 10k. adjust till you like it.

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Nicolas Laborde ZuninoRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 23, 2016 at 2:02:18 pm

Thanks, thanks, thanks. Both of you Simon and Steven! I´m working on it!

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Simon BillingtonRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 23, 2016 at 11:55:39 pm

Not a bad effort actually, Steve. It does still tend to distort a bit especially on the right side and is a little resonant. On the whole though it is an improvement on the original.

I guess it might help to mention I also ran the source through a Dereverb algorithm set at around 3 secs before trying to enhance it. In retrospect as i listen to the results again, I do notice the enhancement brought up the noise a bit more than I initially would like. So if I were to do it again, I'd attempt to look for a happy medium between the repaired version and the enhanced version.

Another way of handling that is running the repaired and the enhanced version side by side, as long as they are phase coherent, and blend a balance of the two. I do that often, not just with restoration, but even things like color grading, I might suddenly decide its too much and blend the grade back with the original. I like mix knobs on compressors for the same reason.

The actual settings I used might be hard to trace back since I did multiple processes, many times with the same module, and I didn't save any of the settings on the way. Often I do, but in this case I didn't, since it was more of a curiosity.

In enhancing it I do also remember doing some subtractive eq on it, as the first stage of enhancing. I rolled the bottom off at 35Hz, and pulled out 2.5-4.0dB at around , 85, 170, 330, & 650Hz . I used a little of Noveltech's Vocal Enhancer, probably a bit more than I should have. The idea is to add intelligibility and boost overall presence in a more transparent way to eq boosts. This is how Noveltech describes their plugin...

"Based on Noveltech’s patent-pending Intelligent Adaptive Filtering (IAF) technology, VOCAL ENHANCER works on both frequency response and dynamic properties. It identifies and enhances the characteristics in source audio material that are pleasing to the human ear, and gives users control over the perceived definition and depth of your vocal track’s characteristics"

After which I applied a bit of compression with H-Comp to bring the dynamics under control, but not too much as in to take away from the pulse of the beat. The Punch Knob was actually handy at allowing be to blend a little bit of the snap back in. Then it was tiny bits of additive eq, nothing more than 1-2db and some multiband enhancement from Vitamin to add a bit more weight. I didn't know I was going to use it at the time, but If I had, I would have used a little less of the Vocal Enhancer.

I had another shot at trying to remove more distortion that process seemed to have brought out a bit and I even rotated the phase of the audio just to get that tiny bit more of definition out of it.

Anyhow, the way I seem to find works best in most things is not processing hard with a small handful of processes, but using a subtle blend of more, especially in difficult cases. That way the changes appear to be much more transparent. Notice how there is much less resonance in the final result, less boom, its not harsh on the ears, yet its much more clear and intelligible. It did bring the noise back a bit too much, so I would ultimately go for a blend of the restored and enhanced process.

I feel its important also the process doesn't rob the source from too much of its "vibe". Something I feel important to preserve especially when handling memory vids like weddings. People want to be taken back every time they watch it, so they want that feeling of actually being there again. My job is just to enhance that experience so they can romanticise about it.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

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Radu CostelRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 24, 2016 at 9:51:56 am

Hello! I have a bigger problem with a song recorded from a wedding , the bride and groom dance and I fail to correct it. Sorry if my eng is bad but i need somme help pls.

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Simon BillingtonRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 24, 2016 at 3:16:08 pm

Put a sample up and we'll take a look at it.

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Radu CostelRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 24, 2016 at 3:51:21 pm

I put a wetransfer link i dont know but continually shows me the message expected to be moderate when I want to upload the file.

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Simon BillingtonRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 28, 2016 at 3:51:50 am

Sorry, I've been a bit busy. I'll have a look it in the next day or two.

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Radu CostelRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 28, 2016 at 2:26:40 pm

ok. thank you! :)

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Simon BillingtonRe: Dealing with distorted audio
by on Aug 30, 2016 at 2:40:27 pm

Okay I managed to have look at the file, but sad to say, the moment I started to play it I knew it was well beyond repair.

In fact, if this audio file were a car and that car had broken down, then I would explain the kind of damage as "it was launched off a cliff and exploded into a fiery ball of of flying mechanical parts"!!!

It really is quite bad unfortunately. So much of the audio information had been destroyed during the recording process. Nonetheless, I had a go at it and tried to restore it the best that I could. There's some improvement, but it's far from being good enough to be usable.

Bride & Groom Clip (repair)

If the were playing a CD or an mp3 during the dance, I'd suggest you try and get your hands on the actual song instead. Borrow it, buy it from iTunes or something like that. If it were a band you could always ask if they had any recordings of it. Bands often make recordings of their live music. Even if you have to spend a few dollars to buy the recording it would be worth it.

Then you could find the right part of the song, replace it with the recording, add in an appropriate sound effect of small crowd, compress it a little, add a bit of hall reverb and it should do the trick.

I notice the announcer says something towards the end, if you can avoid showing that part in your shot you should be fine, otherwise you may have to record that as well. You could even try recording yourself or a mate saying the same thing in a similar manner and mess with the pitch of your voice until you get something a little closer. Drop it into the mix with all the other sounds and reverb and it may just be enough to trick them.

You might have to tweak a few things until it all sounds as realistic and as natural as you can possibly manage.

This is your best shot really. Sorry I can't be of more help. It was simply recorded way too loud. The microphone input should have had its gain turned down far enough to avoid this kind of situation.

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