Asheville 1960s Band Recordings Saved & Re-Mastered for Up-Coming Release!

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Dan Lewis

SAVING OLD AUDIO RECORDINGS FOR THE FUTURE. - In addition to my work as a musician and audio engineer, I am also an audio transfer and re-mastering specialist at Acoustic Audio Transfer & Recording, Asheville's specialist in transfer and conversion of analog recordings on cassette, tape and vinyl to digital CD, DVD, Mp3 and USB thumb-drive. For almost 5 decades, all recordings of music, concerts, speeches, family archives and other information were recorded on analog tape, reel to reel and cassette, or vinyl 33-1/3 rpm LP, 45 rpm or 78rpm record. I keep a carefully maintained collection of rare old audio equipment to rescue these important recordings, often THE only recording that exists of that material, transfer them into a computer, restore those recordings with noise reduction and mastering techniques, convert the files into digital files like Mp3, and store the rescued audio to a more modern and accessible format, the CD compact disc or USB thumb drive.

I've done hundreds of audio rescues sent from all over the country, dating back as far as the 1930s; 78 records, "voice-o-gram" 45 records from the Korean War era, reels sent home from young soldiers in Vietnam, family recordings of Christmas and other special memories from 60 years ago, cassettes that hold a loved one's voice, even one-of-a-kind music recordings that now have real historic significance.

Knowing that I am one of very few audio engineers that has developed the skills and software tools capable of such rescue and restoration, I take my work very seriously, often spending many hours transferring, repairing and enhancing these rare pieces of history. Often, the stories held within these rescued recordings are amazing, and like archeology, after careful transfer, cleaning and much restoration, are brought back to life and into a family's archives, sometimes back into public awareness after 50 years of silence.

Recently, I worked on an important music project in the Asheville area, involving a popular teenage "British Invasion Era" band of the mid 1960s, and I thought the unique story was worth sharing.

A friend contacted me, asking if I could help transfer, restore and re-master some old recordings of this once-popular, now legendary Asheville band; I quickly agreed, I wanted to hear these recordings too! The problem was, the original reel-to-reel tape master was lost. A cheap cassette tape copy had been made decades ago, but even that was not available; all we had to work with was third-generation Mp3 files taken from that cassette. In analog recordings, every generation copy away from the original means that serious quality is lost. So, if we put this audio in graphic terms, there was a bad photo made of an original painting, then WE get a poor photo-copy of the bad photo. Not a promising beginning, but in audio rescue and restoration, I work with what you have, and try to make the very best of it.

Layers of noise from original reel tape, cassette tape and accumulated formats was carefully removed, then various mastering techniques were experimented with, until the perfect combination of compression, EQ, multi-band compression and limiting was determined and applied. What started out as a noisy, muddled and distant-sounding recording was restored and greatly enhanced, bringing the vocals forward, and bringing out huge detail in the top end while tightening up the bass frequencies, bringing out cymbals that were lost on the original recordings. When compared with the recordings we started with, the end results are amazing, almost unbelieveable.

To make a long story short, after many hours effort and many phases of restoration, these old mid-1960s recordings were restored with such success that, there will soon be a release of these musical recordings, even more amazingly, on 33.3 vinyl record, some 60 years after the original recordings were made. And, the recordings sound better today than they did the day they were originally made, all those years ago. So, if you know someone who's been holding on to old recordings, tell them about me and my work; sometimes, there's amazing history to be uncovered and restored, and that's what I do. Dan Lewis - 828-645-8868

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Mike Gerrity - Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 10:44:29 pm

Greetings- read your article with great respect. I have recently retired from a career in Occupational Health & Safety (Industrial,Hygiene) in the oil industry. Am seeking to reinvent my life and am seriously considering relocating to Asheville from New Jersey. I play drums for serious fun mostly vintage rock.

I will likely be seeking part-time employment and was wondering if there were any opportunities with your company. I have a solid work ethic and a robust set of technical skills that could convert to audio recording.

Will be visiting Asheville during the week of January 11-15. An could be available to stop by and greet you. Would to check-out your studio.


Mike Gerrity
Brick, NJ

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About the Author - Dan Lewis

Dan Lewis

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Acoustic Audio Transfer & Recording

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