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Any hacks for improving warble-y / tremor-y (tape flutter?) sounding VO from 60's/70's vintage tape?


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Hey all,

Just finishing up a project working with presumably 1/4" / reel archival Ram Dass recordings.  The recordings are from over the years (but all very old), so: different tape machines, microphones, environments and subsequent reflections, and varying degree of ambient crowd noise.

Overall I've gotten great results except for one in which the tape speed was unacceptably sped-up and therefore high-pitched. 

Using pitch and time correction of 92% I have RD back in his register, but with the slowdown, now he sounds gravely (or as the client keeps saying--robotic). I have done everything I know possible with EQ & comp / limt. etc, as well as trying everything in the Izotope RX10 Post Prod Suite from Spectral Recovery to Wow and Flutter tools, without making any real noticeable difference in healing the sonic issues mentioned.


Would love any thoughts or hard earned wisdom.

(Sample below without music: 1st is unprocessed except for mix bus, 2nd is post pitch shift and all processing)



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Capstan by Celemony might be a solution to what you are looking for. It's specificially made for repairing faulty tape recordings. I find it to be pretty expensive though.

Since the pitch in your recordings doesn't seem to change that much you also could try the simple solution with Melodyne I guess, especially the formant shifting feature might be useful.



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11 hours ago, The Documentary Sound Guy said:

To me it just sounds like you need a better time-shifting plugin.  But I'm not a post guy.

I agree with Justus that what I hear doesn't sound like serious wow or flutter to me ... it sounds like a bad quality plugin.

OMG...so annoyed. After both of your responses on a lark, I did a web search for best pitch & time shift plugins and Izotope was one of the first hits.  🤦‍♂️. Pulled up the alt playlist with the original audio, applied the "Variable Pitch" tool, and the results were night and day.   Was sitting in my toolbox the whole time.  Thank you for the extra brain that I evidently needed.   Cheers.


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