Tape Restore Live! for Winamp

Help: Calibrating Tape Restore Live!: Frequency response calibration

This step can be skipped if you are using the original cassette deck and the cassette deck and the tapes are in very good condition.

Older tapes often sound a bit "dull", because the higher frequencies have faded a bit due to tape wear and age. Also, cassettes don't have a flat frequency response, and especially older or cheaper tape decks don't offer any functionality to correct for this. Tapes that are played back on a different recorder than the one on which they were recorded often suffer from similar problems.

This section describes how to calibrate Tape Restore Live! to match your cassette recorder and PC recording characteristics settings.

When calibrating Tape Restore Live!, it is essential to approach the real recording and sampling situation as closely as possible. This means that, if possible, the tape deck on which the original recording was made should be used to record calibration sounds, and the tape deck that will be used to digitize the recordings should be used to play it back. For optimal results, the tape that is used for calibration should approach the real tapes as closely as possible.

To calibrate Tape Restore Live!, perform the following steps:
  • Record the sound 'dsp_tape_restore_live - Calibrate frequency response.mp3' on the cassette deck on which the original recording was made, with Dolby B turned off.
    Make sure that the recording volume for the left and right channel is equal.

    The file can be found in the Winamp plugins directory, usually 'C:\Program Files\Winamp\Plugins'.

  • Play the tape back on the recorder that you will be using to digitize the recording that you want to restore, with Dolby turned off.
    Record the result to the PC.

    Important: Make sure that the tape heads of both recorders are clean, and that the playback tape head is calibrated correctly to the recording. See Digitizing tapes: Tips for getting the best possible sound from your tapes for a description on how to do this.

    Hint: Record the sound 'dsp_tape_restore_live - Manual tape head calibration helper sound.mp3' just before the calibration tone, and use it during playback to calibrate the tape head.

  • Open the recording in Winamp.

  • Enable Tape Restore Live!, turn the Tape Bias filter on.

  • Play back the recording, and play with the equalizer sliders of in the plugin, until the orange Dolby input volume meters (center bottom of the screen) show a constant volume for all frequencies, which is equal for both channels.

The result of this is that the frequency response of tape recordings will be identical to that of the original sound that was recorded, regardless of tape wear, age and quality - at the cost of some extra high frequency hiss if the high frequencies need to be boosted.
Tape Restore Live! 1.0     (C) Copyright 2006 by Hans van Zutphen     Email: software@hansvanzutphen.com