December 17, 2015

Glenn Miller Mastering Blog


While we are restoring and re-mastering the Glenn Miller Metal Master copies, we will keep interested informed about our progress and the tips and tricks we’re learning an using. Just a note of caution: The demos may not correctly reflect the final master but are merely snapshots of the songs we were working on.

January 20th, 2016

We’re celebrating. The first .. well .. go ahead .. see for yourself.


January 14th, 2016

We have almost completed the major mastering of all songs. That means, that the songs are now in a pre-ready state. We will however take a look at every song again when we’re ready to start cutting. Minor adjustments will then be made to make the overall “image” of the tunes compatible with each other, so that the “color ” of all records are within a certain spectrum.

Yours Is My Heart Alone

January 9, 2016

Some of you may think .. well .. remastering is easy of you have the metal parts. This would be true if the metal parts wouldn’t be almost 80 years old. But the truth is: The metal parts are degraded, with lot’s of clicks and pops, distorted highs and thumps and running noises in the low frequency bands. But those “good” parts of the masters give so much dynamic and clarity that we literally try to preserve every measure. And how do we fix distortions? We take original 78rpm shellac recordings and extract those parts we need. But this isn’t easy either. Because you can’t just copy the 78rpm and overlay it. We’re talking mechanical machines that have tiny speed variations making a simple overlay impossible. So we have to work measure by measure to extract that small part of the frequency spectrum we need to fill the distortions and sync it with the master. We then adjust the volume, again, measure by measure so that only the the distorted parts of the master are influenced. This looks like this:


And .. to also give you something to listen to: This one is “For You” ..



January 8, 2016

No .. we haven’t been sleeping. We’re working “full speed ahead” to get the mastering done. But – unfortunately, some metal parts are degraded to the point of unsuitability. This is especially true for “Tuxedo Junction” .. but we managed to get a nice tune out of it.

Tuxedo Junction: Original metal master


Tuxedo Junction: Current re-mastered version


Imagination was way easier to work on. The metal parts for this song were in decent shape.

December 20th, 2015

Our last track for this year. And it was a tough one. Though the master sounded beautifully, the last minute or so was severely degraded and skipping. It took the engineer at Battery Studios a number of attempts just to get the last 20 or so measures from the metal master. And it tool almost a day just to get that last part into decent shape. However – the results are well worth the work. But – again .. you’ll be the judge. Here’s the sax solo from Pennsylvania 6-5000.


December 29th, 2015

Oh yes – we’re “In The Mood” .  The metal master for this tune are in decent shape, unfortunately with low frequency warping sounds for the first 20 seconds or so. While we first thought we wouldn’t have too much work with this tune, we worked for about 4 days. The great pre-mastering on this tune was made by Mark Cederquist. If you like it swinging, really swinging, this one is for you.

In The Mood

December 27th, 2015

Fools Rush In (where Angels fear to tread) might be the headline in regard to our engagement in re-mastering the Glenn Miller metal parts 🙂 . But it is also a great song that was made into a major success by Glenn Miller and Ray Eberle. The song, composed by Reuben Blum (Lyrics by Johnny Mercer) in 1940, was covered even in the 60s. We re-mastered it over the last few and are happy to give you a sound bite here. Keep in mind, that the MP3 compression (for the online demos) may compromise the audio.


December 15th – 17th, 2015

We’re working on the “Moonlight Serenade” . The master is degraded with lots of clicks and crackle, some friction noise audible in the mid-upper frequency band towards the end of the recording and some low frequency hum and rumble. The audio engineer at Sony’s “Battery Studios” had some problems to position the pickup on the master resulting a few “false starts”.

We cut the false starts and added a 1 second lead-in and lead-out the the recording and ran our de-clicking software over the track. This software usually works very well but this time, it didn’t – even with low settings. The stitching of the frames after cutting out clicks was too obvious resulting in some scratching – though you had to listen very carefully. But we did and will have to find other ways to remove those clicks.

We applied different equalizer settings and had several “listening sessions” with colleagues here at the studio and finally settled with a curve that adds plenty of db to the lower frequency bands, some to the mid-range with a roll-off at around 13khz. I stopped counting the numbers of time I listened to the song at 150. Good thing I like Glenn Miller tunes very much.

Back to the click and crackle removal.

There are different methods to deal with clicks. One can simple cut them out an stitch the curve where the click has been. This is the method of choice if you just have a few clicks. But if you try that method with a very “crackled” recording you end up with distortions as there’s just too much stitching. Here’s what we did: We extracted a “crackle” profile of the song:

We imported this noise track into our audio editor and carefully adjusted the position so that the clicks of the recording perfectly match the clicks in the noise track. And by perfectly I mean: Perfect. On the frame.

We inverted the noise track and merged the audio track with it. The idea behind that: The curve of a click in the “noise profile” is the perfect invert of a click-curve in the audio track. Played together, the cancel each other out. Violá .. the click is (mostly) gone. And no stitching is necessary preserving the sound much better. This is a short sound bite of the current stage of the re-mastered audio:

I particularly like the double bass supporting the richness of the melody while the overall transparency has been preserved. We want to stay as close to the master as possible, so we didn’t add any filler or other digital magic (no compression, delays or filters .. ). Though we are still working on the track , you get the idea. Stay tuned for more,