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Scientists scan damaged audio discs, resurrect fresh beats

Sean Buckley, @seaniccus
December 29, 2011
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Digitizing your analog archives? Vinyl to CD / MP3 / iPod turntables might do well enough for your old 45s, but the folks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory prefer to listen to their old beats by taking pictures of them. More specifically, restoration specialists are using a system called IRENE/3D to snap high resolution images of damaged media. The cracked discs -- often made of wax on brass or composition board -- are then repaired digitally, letting researchers play the digitized discs with an emulated stylus. So far, the team has recovered a handful of 125 year old recordings from a team in Alexander Graham Bell's Volta laboratory. The all digital system gives researchers a hands-off way to recover audio from relic recordings without running the risk of damaging them in the process -- and no, they probably won't let you use it to listen to that beat up copy of the White Album you've had in your closet since eighth grade. Hit the source link to hear what they've recovered.





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