Categories
Technology

Rules of the Audio Cleanup Game

Since March, I’ve received a lot of feedback regarding my cleaned up remix of the Gimp version of ‘Supernothing.’ (In case you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, take a look at this post here.) In fact, the .mp3 file generates the majority of the traffic that this site receives. So much so that I needed to up my hosting plan.

I don’t mind, though. As a Streetlight Manifesto fan, I’m just glad to be contributing and helping other people enjoy their music as much as I do. I’m delighted that people are grateful for the work I did, and I appreciate the comments and messages regarding it. Most of which come from people from Skachilles (the official unofficial Streetlight Manifesto message board.)

It’s because of this response that I am writing this. The majority of the messages come with questions as to what I’m working on. As well as encouragement that I work on more. Most ask me to take a crack at Catch-22’s ‘Rules of the Game’ EP. I figured I should post something of a follow up to that since I get asked so often.

Although I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer, back in March, I was very excited by the work I had done. As such, I took a serious stab at cleaning up ‘I’m Better Than You.’ I even went as far as to buy good studio headphones to work on the project. However, once I got into it, I found that the recordings of ‘Rules of the Game’ are a bit more challenging than ‘Supernothing’ was. Partially due to the recording quality, partially due to the speed/intensity of the songs, but mostly due to my personal lack of expertise.

With ‘Supernothing,’ there is a lot of silence and lows in the song. That gives me more to work with to take out the ambient tape noise. When working with a song like ‘I’m Better Than You,’ that’ is not the case. Thus far, I’ve had no luck with any of the other recordings and haven’t produced anything worth releasing or commenting on here. I haven’t given up entirely, but at this time, it’s not within my skill level, nor is it high on my list of priorities. (No offense!) 

While I appreciate all the encouragement and feedback, what it comes down to is this: I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer.

It’s just something I tried out and got lucky. I’m going to keep trying, and I’ll keep you guys posted should I manage any other future miracles, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too much.

Thanks again for the interest and kind words, keep me in your bookmarks if something pops up, here will be where to find it.

Categories
Pop Culture Technology

Impressed with Myself

So recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Streetlight Manifesto and the earlier projects of their singer Tomas Kalnoky.

Tomas was the original singer/writer for the cult favorite ska act, Catch 22, best known for their 1998 record ‘Keasbey Nights‘, which many will argue to be the band’s best (or only good) album. Well back before Catch 22, Tomas was in a punk band named Gimp.

After Gimp disbanded, Tomas reworked one of their songs, ‘Supernothing,’ from a slow acoustic track to the faster, more upbeat version that appears on Keasbey Nights. The original, perhaps because it is so different, has become a favorite among fans. Sadly the only copies of this album floating around the internet are of poor quality. Probably due to having been taken directly from tape copies that, it seems, were not high fidelity to start with.

Tonight I had a bit of free time and decided to throw Supernothing into Soundtrack Pro to teach myself the software and to see if I could do anything about the quality. I was surprised by the results. I managed to correct the volume problems and remove almost all the tape hiss with just a few clicks. I’m impressed with Soundtrack and how easy it was to do without noticeably distorting the audio. If someone like myself, who is virtually tone-deaf, could manage to do something with it in a matter of minutes, that says a lot.

The immediate difference is subtle but evident at loud volumes, through a car stereo or headphones. The removal of the hiss, and the boosted volume makes it vastly more listen-able than before in my opinion.

I’m debating doing more of this type of thing with some other projects, including ‘Rules of the Game’ Catch 22’s pre-Keasbey demo that is also only on tape, but I’d like some feedback on how people think this sounds first.

Anyway, I’ll let you be the judge of my work.

You can check out the original here:

And my cleaned-up version:
http://www.subism.com/audio/gimp/supernothing.mp3