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RE: [AV Media Matters] Audio Restoration Tool

At 07:18 22/12/99 -0800, you wrote:
>ptk@psulias.psu.edu wrote:
>> I know all about the CEDAR systems of audio restoration software however
>> the full package runs about $18,000 a little more than my institution will
>> pay.
>> What does anyone know about the Noise Reduction software newly offerd by
>> Sonic Foundry in Madision, WI?? Cost is $400-$500. I realize that it
>> doesn't compare to CEDAR but is it worthwhile?

>I hate to say this, but probably not, at least for your purposes.  It is
>not real time, and that is one of the keys to effective use of
>restoration processes.

I originally queried what the the definition of 'worthwhile' was in this
context.  Now, I think I have to ask you what the definition of
'effective' is?   It seems to me that, in this instance, you really mean
'cost effective' - but surely that is a criteria which only the end-user
can decide for himself.

>If you have LOTS of spare time on your hands to
>play with it, and relatively small quantities of material to be
>restored, then a non-real time restoration software package may be OK
>for you.

A non-realtime system can be very effective in the right hands, you have
said as much to me in the past.  If the time is available, then very good
work can be done using any one (or more!) of the software suites available
for this type of work.

I have looked at CEDAR - of course I have, as would anyone interested in
this subject - but I have come to the conclusion that its extremely high
cost (which I am sure no one would deny) makes it its own worst enemy.
Such a high capital investment dictates a volume and throughput of work
which only a few people can achieve or sustain.  It means working, on a
regular basis, for the most demanding of clients - those who have deep
enough pockets to match the price being asked for the work done.  For those
CEDAR owners who have the necessary client portfolio, I say 'good luck to
them', but I would not denigrate other means of achieving the same results.

Personally, I would expect to lose 50% or more of my clients if I were to
have to recover the capital investment of a CEDAR system, even if I could
afford one.  To me, that is hardly 'cost-effective'.

>The CEDAR "system" consists of a number of separate devices of DSP
>(Digital Signal Processing) electronics driven by its own specialized
>firmware... not just "software" as in the Sonic Foundry packages.

My personal view is that CEDAR (the company) will have to look to its
laurels within a very short period of time, if they wish to maintain their
credibility (not to mention their prices) in this area.  Pure 'software'
solutions - including real-time ones - are now starting to (relatively
speaking) flood the market.  With huge HDD's, cheap RAM and computers
likely to edge over the 1GHz clocking rate within the next few months, many
of the disadvantages of 'software' solutions are going vanish in a puff of

I would agree that there are better choices than Sonic Foundry, but the
principle remains the same.  Software solutions - even real-time ones - are
fast catching up CEDAR and look likely to overtake it soon, even in terms
of cost-effectiveness, unless these guys can pull some sort of a rabbit out
of the hat.

>Lastly, there is a system
>from Germany called Sound Laundry that is modularized and does equally
>as well or better.

Perhaps you would care to share your opinion on this suite with me
privately?  I had a long hard look at the Algorithmix offerings and was not
convinced, by any means, that it met the requirements for work to a
professional standard - although it would probably meet the needs of a less
discerning user.  I have the complete suite installed here - but it rarely
gets called upon.

>Like anything, nothing is free... it all has a learning curve.  CEDAR
>would like you to believe that their systems are instantly usable to the
>optimum by even the most novice user... sorry, but that is not true.

You are not going to get any argument from me on that statement.  The only
thing I would say in their defence is that CEDAR is not the only company
which can be faulted for implying that all one had to do was plug in and
switch it on for instant audio salvation.

>those guided by inept
>"producers" who continually bleated the command "take out more noise...
>I can still hear hiss!"

We all have to eat - these guys also sign the cheques, or at least have
direct access to those that do.  It's a brave man that turns down work to
feed the family for a month.

Graeme Jaye

Personal-CD - Affordable Audio Restoration


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