When CDs came along, most of the world rejoiced in their ingenuity although some lamented the loss of a big old vinyl. I have to say, I was one of those caught up in the rush to embrace CDs but now, I miss the huge vinyl covers and that distinctive hiss and crackle that gives vinyl a depth that CDs can’t attain.
Those who mourned its loss at least found solace in the fact that they could record their favourite vinyl records into digital format. However, rusty stylus needles and scratched vinyl surfaces mean that the recordings haven’t always been great quality but there is something you can do. ClickRepair is a small application that tries to help you restore the sound archived from old records (vinyl or shellac).
Note that this is not a vinyl audio capture tool however – it can only help you once you’ve got the audio saved to hard disk. In order to use ClickRepair, you must first capture the sound as uncompressed sound files in 16 or 24 bit format in either AIFF or WAVE format – MP3s are not supported. The program will accept either mono or stereo file formats and the maximum sample rate is 96 kHz.
The removal of hiss and crackle is a two-stage process – detection followed by repair. The program analyzes interference on the record and compensates for hiss and crackles by performing audio interpolation based on an analysis of the surrounding sound. The results are satisfactory although there’s no way you could say that it removes every last imperfection. Unfortunately, it’s also been developed using Java which does make it rather slow at times although this has been done in an attempt to make it a cross platform app.