A – confirming your order
After answering all your questions or inquiries, we will send an ORDER FORM to fill out (you can also download this form from our FORMS DOWNLOADS page). This order form will provide us with your information, a section on the work you would like us to perform and a section with all of our terms and conditions.
This form contains a COPYRIGHT CLAUSE which you must agree to and sign – before we can proceed with your order (please see the AGREEMENT FOR SERVICES PROVIDED page).
The form also contains a WAIVER that precludes us from assuming any liability if the record is damaged while in our possession. We have no way of knowing the true physical condition or the history of the 78 that you have sent. It may have been well taken care of – or, one movement and it breaks. This is a 50+ year old disc that was fragile form the day it was manufactured. We have seen many people break 78’s very easily – with little effort. We will do our best to protect your precious records.
The order form and waiver should be included in the package which you are sending to us.
B – receiving
If you had mailed the records or tapes to us, we will open your package and inspect the condition of the contents. As well, we will check the condition of the package which we would normally use to return the finished work to you. If there are any problems or damage to the package or the contents, we will contact you immediately to let you know the options. We will look for the order form – which you had filled out. If all of the required information is there, we will proceed with your order. If you had not signed the copyright waiver, we will contact you and let you know that we cannot proceed with the work until this is filled out and signed. If you decide not to sign the waiver, we will send the package back to you freight collect.
C – tagging order
Once we have the go ahead on your order, we will temporarily attach a unique serial number to each piece of your order – so that we can keep track as the work progresses. Your information is then entered into our computer.
D – first inspection
Certain conditions on initial inspection will determine how and if we will go ahead with the restoration or not. These include:
1- If the record has been damaged or broken, we will notify you immediately and make arrangements to return it to you.
2- If the record is too warped, we will not proceed with restoration until discussing the options with you first. 78’s are very fragile. They can easily be broken by applying very little pressure. There are ways around this, but the record must be dealt with a different process from our standard restoration techniques. We may have to do a reduced speed transfer. This is more time consuming – and if you want us to proceed, you will be charged on an hourly basis at $35 per hour.
3- If the spindle hole is not centered, we will not proceed with restoration until discussing the options with you first. An un-centered spindle hole produces a record with lots of audible wow. There are ways around this, but the record must be dealt with a different process from our standard restoration techniques. This is very time consuming – and if you want us to proceed, you will be charged on an hourly basis at $35 per hour.
4- The record arrives with a serious crack, we will not proceed with restoration until discussing the options with you first. There are ways to deal with the crack and temporarily bond the cracked area – long enough to try to do the transfer. This is more time consuming – and if you want us to proceed, you will be charged on an hourly basis at $35 per hour.
5- If We notice chipping or crazing while looking closely at the record, we will not proceed with restoration until discussing the options with you first. These are signs of a very weak 78 – that could break or crack very easily – without any other warning. The options here are to return the 78 to you, or proceed with greater caution – and hope that the 78 will survive the transfer.
6- After doing the initial backup transfer, we discover that the record is badly worn to the extent – that all we get is distortion. We will not proceed with restoration until discussing the options with you first. There is very little we can do if the music is no longer on the record. we will notify you immediately and make arrangements to return it to you.
Once we have determined that the record can be put through one of our restoration levels, we will proceed to identifying the type of 78 that you have sent us. This is necessary to help us determine the best cleaning method. Some 78’s can only be “dry” cleaned – while others can be cleaned with our wet vacuum cleaning system.
E – backup transfer
Before we perform any serious cleaning, we place your 78 on our turntable and do an initial “backup” transfer to our computer. This transfer is done in case of problems while cleaning and restoring the record further down the road. If the record is damaged or broken – we will have the electronic file to work with and continue the restoration. This will at least provide you with a restored CD version of the 78.
F – record cleaning
78’s are very fragile. Many types cannot be wet cleaned without causing damage to the record. We will never attempt to get one hundred percent of the dirt off the 78 – if we feel there is a danger of damage to the record.
We will then determine the type and construction of the 78. If it is the “dry” clean type, we will proceed to clean the 78 with a variety of special brushes that we use for this purpose only. As part of the cleaning process, we will run a stylus through the grooves – once – to loosen the dirt – and then brush out what we can. The 78 is cleaned again. Once we are satisfied with the cleaning results we will go to the next stage.
If the 78 is safe for wet cleaning, then we will use our VPI wet vacuum cleaning system with a special non-alcohol cleaning solution we have developed for 78’s. This usually cleans the 78 as well as any other professional method available. Once we are satisfied with the cleaning results we will go to the next stage.
G – selection of stylus, equalization and turntable speed
After having determined the type of your 78, we will select the most suitable equalization to use on our re-equalizer preamp. If necessary, we may modify the curve to “clean up” the sound even more. We will then determine the correct speed – and set the turntable speed to match. We then select the right stylus to provide the least distorted and least noisy playback. Once we are satisfied, we prepare for the actual transfer.
H – recording/editing/restoring
A stereo recording of both sides is made with our computer and software. The software produces two wave files at a 16 bit 44.1 KHz. The best sounding recording is then chosen (left, right, both or a combination of these). This is used to create our mono recording. The beginning and end noise portions are removed from the wave files. Any rumble in the original recording is now filtered out using the software. A special filter is then used individually on each file to remove clicks. If they are not removed completely, we will process the file manually – until we find a good balance between level of noise and overall fidelity. Being too aggressive can lead to a muffled end product. It is better to leave a bit of noise if it will leave the overall sound more natural. We then use a similar process to the one above to remove crackling from the file. Other noise such as hiss and hum is also reduced or removed in a similar manner to above. The file is ready for the next phase of the restoration, or, if the client desires, we will tailor the sound of the recording to suit the client’s needs. This may include other processing such as compression, limiting, EQ, etc.
Once the processing stage has been completed, the recording is played back through a number of different speaker systems to make sure that it will sound good in as many situations as possible. This is the last phase of signal processing that we perform – before transferring the wave file to a CD. At this point we remove the 78 from our turntable and insert it into a new/clean poly sleeve. This will keep your precious 78 clean – ready for storage.
I – track splitting / indexing
Track splitting is the process of marking the tracks of an album so that they can be split and played as individual songs. This does not apply to our 78’s, but it is a major part of restoration of LP’s, cassettes and other multi-song media. We use special software to perform this function, but we check to make sure that the software did it’s job properly. It is very common to find that the software misread the split points – and produced the wrong breaks. In that case, we manually insert the breaks at the right points. The wave file is then split into separate tracks and an index is created. The song files are named – and the wave files are ready to be burned onto the CD.
J – burning the cd
The wave files are then written to a very high quality Taiyo Yuden silver CD at the slow speed of 4X. This slow speed is used to provide a smoother transfer. The CD is then checked again to make sure that the burn produced a good transfer.
K – CD label and insert
The CD is then printed with our logo, the CD’s title, and a numbered list of the artist’s name and song title. We can provide you with a variety of backgrounds. Please see the sample backgrounds in our CD COVERS section. We also include an insert for the CD case with the same information as the CD. If you have your own photos or artwork that you would like us to use – we scan and create your custom inserts at this point.
L – final backup
We keep a backup of the work we did for 30 days. This is done just in case something happens to your records and CD’s while on their way back to you. The backup will allow us to re-create and re-send the CD if the original gets lost. The backup is destroyed after 30 days.
M – return shipping
Once the work has been completed, the 78’s are carefully re-packed along with the CD’s in the original box you had sent to us. We will repack and check the inside to make sure items are secure. If we find that your original box is not up to snuff, we will let you know – and use a new box from our inventory. Please see our POSTAGE AND SHIPPING page for more information and options.
The above process describes our typical restoration process. We often run into many “abnormal” situations which require different methods and techniques. Please read our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page for samples and solutions of other types of restoration examples.