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cleaning vinyl audio?
carmatic
post Jul 26 2008, 20:07
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hi guys, i have alot of recordings of vinyls on my computer but they have all sorts of pops and clicks going on... is there a program with a good pop/click removal function? right now i am using goldwave and it doesnt really have an effective pop/click filter, so to really clean the audio it involves drawing on the waveform itself for every single bit of noise on it... its very tedious, is there a better way out there?
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cliveb
post Jul 27 2008, 10:38
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QUOTE (carmatic @ Jul 26 2008, 20:07) *
hi guys, i have alot of recordings of vinyls on my computer but they have all sorts of pops and clicks going on... is there a program with a good pop/click removal function? right now i am using goldwave and it doesnt really have an effective pop/click filter, so to really clean the audio it involves drawing on the waveform itself for every single bit of noise on it... its very tedious, is there a better way out there?

If you're looking for a AUTOMATIC declicker, then I'd recommend you check out the following:

Wave Corrector
Click Repair
Adobe Audition

The Noise Reduction 2.0 plug-in from Sony is also very good, but expensive. I've heard (but not personally verified) that the cheap version of Sony Sound Forge (Sound Forge Audio Studio) has the Noise Reduction 2.0 plug-in bundled. If that's true, then it's a bargain. Can anyone confirm?

(I am the author of another vinyl restoration program, but it's primarily aimed at manual restoration of the sort of glitches that defeat automatic programs. I am happy to acknowledge that its automatic declicking facilities are not as good as those of the programs mentioned above, so it's probably not relevant in this case).
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DVDdoug
post Jul 28 2008, 18:46
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I use Clive's program, Wave Repair ($30 USD). It does an amazing job, but it can be time consuming. I typically spend a full-day or a full-weekend fixing-up an LP. But it doesn't take as long, and the results are generally better, than "re-drawing" the waveform. (BTW - I'm also a GoldWave user.)

Clive also has a web page with lots of useful information.
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botface
post Jul 29 2008, 11:16
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I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said - I too use Sony/Soundforge Noise Reduction plugin. Pricey but worth it if you have a large collection to deal with.

Anyway I'm wondering if anybody can help with a slightly different vinyl cleaning issue - mistracking distortion. What I'm referring to is groove damage caused when a record has been played on a poor or badly set up turntable. Typically it only occurs on transients as the stylus struggles to follow the groove. Since this causes physical damage subsequent replaying on good quality equipment captures the distortion in all its glory. Declicking, decrackling etc can sometimes reduce the distortion but I haven't found a way of getting rid of it. Any ideas anyone?


edited for spelling errors

This post has been edited by botface: Jul 29 2008, 11:17
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DVDdoug
post Jul 29 2008, 17:45
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QUOTE
Anyway I'm wondering if anybody can help with a slightly different vinyl cleaning issue - mistracking distortion.
AFAIK, there is nothing you can do about that. It's just very difficult for the software to discriminate between natural harmonics & overtones and unnatural distortion.

Which reminds me... I forgot to mention my most important piece of advice. Buy the CD! (If it's available.) It's often impossible to remove all of the vinyl noise, and there are sometimes artifacts.

A lot of vinyl recordings were made without much attention to audio quality. A lot of records (maybe most) were "dull sounding" (lacking in high frequencies). And, some of that "tracking distortion" may not be damage, it might be a defect in the original pressing. (I remember that 45 RPM singles usually sounded worse than the LP, even though higher speed is a theoretical advantage.)

The CD version (even from the same master tape) usually just "sounds better" (to me).

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Jul 29 2008, 18:11
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pdq
post Jul 29 2008, 18:57
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 29 2008, 12:45) *
(I remember that 45 RPM singles usually sounded worse than the LP, even though higher speed is a theoretical advantage.)

Higher angular velocity, yes, but for much of the record the linear velocity is lower.
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botface
post Jul 30 2008, 08:49
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 29 2008, 17:45) *
QUOTE
Anyway I'm wondering if anybody can help with a slightly different vinyl cleaning issue - mistracking distortion.
AFAIK, there is nothing you can do about that. It's just very difficult for the software to discriminate between natural harmonics & overtones and unnatural distortion.

Which reminds me... I forgot to mention my most important piece of advice. Buy the CD! (If it's available.) It's often impossible to remove all of the vinyl noise, and there are sometimes artifacts.

A lot of vinyl recordings were made without much attention to audio quality. A lot of records (maybe most) were "dull sounding" (lacking in high frequencies). And, some of that "tracking distortion" may not be damage, it might be a defect in the original pressing. (I remember that 45 RPM singles usually sounded worse than the LP, even though higher speed is a theoretical advantage.)

The CD version (even from the same master tape) usually just "sounds better" (to me).

Thanks. The records I'm trying to clean up are old and were bought 2nd hand - my own have been well looked after and don't suffer from this problem. I think your advice about buying the CD is generally good but I have been disapointed in the past to find one or two that aren't identical to the recod (Enya's "The Celts" and Supertramp's "Crime Of The Century" spring to mind). I guess the engineers sometimes can't resist "improving" them

By the way, the reason 45's are not as good as 33's is that the record companies used a signifiacnt quantity of reground vinyl in them (overstocked and deleted records simply ground up to small particles then mixed with virgin vinyl) - at least, the one I worked for did
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cliveb
post Jul 30 2008, 09:39
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 29 2008, 17:45) *
QUOTE
Anyway I'm wondering if anybody can help with a slightly different vinyl cleaning issue - mistracking distortion.
AFAIK, there is nothing you can do about that. It's just very difficult for the software to discriminate between natural harmonics & overtones and unnatural distortion.

In the main, I agree - mistracking is often pretty much impossible to fix.

However, I have in the past achieved a modest improvement by using a low-pass filter turning over at around 12-14kHz to cut out all the very high frequencies. The majority of mistracking distortion does seem to be at the top end. Then by adding a bid of boost around the 4kHz area you can restore some of the lost sparkle. It's a fairly unsubtle approach, but in some cases the reduction in horrible mistracking distortion outweighs the collateral damage. (Analogy: 19th century surgery was pretty close to butchery, but it still was still better to hack off a gangrenous leg than leave it to kill its owner).

QUOTE (botface @ Jul 30 2008, 08:49) *
I have been disapointed in the past to find one or two that aren't identical to the recod (Enya's "The Celts" and Supertramp's "Crime Of The Century" spring to mind). I guess the engineers sometimes can't resist "improving" them

Don't know the Enya one, but what is different about Crime of the Century? I was very familiar with this album on vinyl, and when I bought the CD (original British release back in the 1980s) I didn't notice anything had changed.
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2Bdecided
post Jul 30 2008, 10:11
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There's more than one version of "The Celts" on CD. The earlier one may match the vinyl you have.

There are two versions of Shepherd Moons too.

http://www.ectoguide.org/artists/enya


If ever an album was meant to be heard on CD, rather than LP or cassette, it was Enya's Watermark! In fact there seemed to be a lot of "pop" releases in the late 1980s that used "sounds" (for want of a better word) that would have been butchered by typical cheap vinyl and turntables, while sounding pristine on CD. I'm thinking of music that just doesn't work with pops, scratches, and speed instability - whereas if you go back to the 1960s, music and recording techniques seemed to be "designed" to hide such flaws.

Cheers,
David.
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botface
post Jul 30 2008, 16:27
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[quote
Don't know the Enya one, but what is different about Crime of the Century? I was very familiar with this album on vinyl, and when I bought the CD (original British release back in the 1980s) I didn't notice anything had changed.
[/quote]
Crime of the Century is one of my favourites too and I've played it consistently since its release. The only specific example I can recall where the CD was a let down is on the title track when the full band come in after the piano/vocal intro. It just didn't have the same impact. It happened in other places too on that track. I only bought my copy a year or so ago and only played it once due to the disappointment. Maybe it's different to the 80's versionI only play the vinyl now
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raygrote
post Jul 30 2008, 16:53
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I remember buying a Mills Brothers CD, and I only liked one or two tracks because the others sounded too over-processed with the NR.
Although I don't use it anymore, a program I really recommend is acoustica from acondigital.com. It's only forty bucks or something like that, yet it really does work. It has nice effects and I have restored tapes with it. Also Depopper from depopper.com should get those clicks and pops just fine, and Acoustica can do manual declicking as well.
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cliveb
post Jul 30 2008, 17:34
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QUOTE (botface @ Jul 30 2008, 16:27) *
Crime of the Century is one of my favourites too and I've played it consistently since its release. The only specific example I can recall where the CD was a let down is on the title track when the full band come in after the piano/vocal intro. It just didn't have the same impact. It happened in other places too on that track. I only bought my copy a year or so ago and only played it once due to the disappointment. Maybe it's different to the 80's version

I suppose if it's been remastered in the last decade then some excessive compression might have robbed the album of its dynamic impact.

My CD version from the 80's has an album ReplayGain of -0.42dB, with a peak level of -0.5dB. Compared to a selection of typical vinyl transfers I have lying about (which peak at -0.1dB and have an average album ReplayGain of -1.6dB), I'd say the CD release looks to have the dynamics fairly well preserved.

But I would agree that a lot of modern remasters are dynamically ruined, so if you have an original vinyl in good condition it may well be worth transferring.
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botface
post Jul 30 2008, 18:35
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jul 30 2008, 10:11) *
There's more than one version of "The Celts" on CD. The earlier one may match the vinyl you have.

There are two versions of Shepherd Moons too.

http://www.ectoguide.org/artists/enya


If ever an album was meant to be heard on CD, rather than LP or cassette, it was Enya's Watermark! In fact there seemed to be a lot of "pop" releases in the late 1980s that used "sounds" (for want of a better word) that would have been butchered by typical cheap vinyl and turntables, while sounding pristine on CD. I'm thinking of music that just doesn't work with pops, scratches, and speed instability - whereas if you go back to the 1960s, music and recording techniques seemed to be "designed" to hide such flaws.

Cheers,
David.

In view of our recent exchange on another thread regarding CD vs vinyl I was very tempted to make some teasing remarks about Enya's catalogue sounding so much better on vinyl. However, I am very aware of the shortcomings of the written word and wanted to avoid any offence so I decided against the idea. I would say though that Enya has made some great music and it sounds wonderful in any format - curiously, I heard Watermark on cassette for the first time a few days ago and was surprised how well it came accross
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Laemtao
post Jul 30 2008, 20:16
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I use Ardour for all my vinyl transfers. It's fantastic, but I'm not sure if it's been ported to Windows or not.
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carmatic
post Jan 5 2009, 17:35
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hi guys,

thanks for the replies and sorry for dredging this up from months ago... was busy with my other stuff in life

anyway, i am willing to work for hours on end on manual declicking, as long as it gives results, imho automatic declicking for me is not worth the trouble of installing, configuring, testing, etc etc just to find that it doesnt work after all

what i am trying to do is, like, one way i describe it is targeted frequency and time silencing.... this might be wrong but i believe that pops and clicks exist at a certain frequency and at certain times, if only i could get the audio laid out in a voiceprint, and then graphically remove the noise , that will be my ideal cleanup method

the way im doing it right now is to apply a highpass filter to the waveform, and look for the spikes which result from the pops and clicks, then zoom in on where the spikes are and redraw the waveform to what i think it should be like without the noise there.... lots of manual labour , doesnt work when the frequency of the noise is lower than the original audio, when the noise is inside a complicated waveform, or when the original audio has a narrow frequency band....
when it gets really bad, i use Goldwave's 'noise reduction' at the fractions of seconds when the noises occur, this also takes a long time and the more you work the more noise you get rid of, but it leaves gaps in the original sound....

i am trying out Acoustica, being a veteran Goldwave user its a learning curve all over again for me
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cliveb
post Jan 5 2009, 18:38
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QUOTE (carmatic @ Jan 5 2009, 16:35) *
anyway, i am willing to work for hours on end on manual declicking, as long as it gives results, imho automatic declicking for me is not worth the trouble of installing, configuring, testing, etc etc just to find that it doesnt work after all

Quite a lot of auto declickers can be checked out fairly quickly, and they can work wonders on what I'd call "medium size clicks". (For big clicks and pops, forget auto declickers - they usually replace them with thumps and splats, or sometimes partial mutes. For little ticks, you're better off using the Younglove decrackling technique).

QUOTE (carmatic @ Jan 5 2009, 16:35) *
what i am trying to do is, like, one way i describe it is targeted frequency and time silencing.... this might be wrong but i believe that pops and clicks exist at a certain frequency and at certain times, if only i could get the audio laid out in a voiceprint, and then graphically remove the noise , that will be my ideal cleanup method

Well, clicks certainly exist at defined times, but they are typically not at specific frequencies. A "classic" vinyl click exists over the entire frequency spectrum. In effect it's an extremely short period burst of broadband noise. The best way to visually spot clicks if you're doing it manually is to use an editor that has a spectral view - clicks then show up as vertical spikes. Fixing them is another matter - you might want to try interpolation using the surrounding samples, or for more extended clicks pasting in a section of similar undamaged waveform from nearby. For very short clicks, actually removing the affected samples can work very well, provided you make sure the boundaries of the removal don't have any discontinuities - the timing error is sufficiently small that it's not noticable.

QUOTE (carmatic @ Jan 5 2009, 16:35) *
the way im doing it right now is to apply a highpass filter to the waveform, and look for the spikes which result from the pops and clicks, then zoom in on where the spikes are and redraw the waveform to what i think it should be like without the noise there

Manually redrawing the waveform seems intuitively the best option, but in my experience it rarely works any better than the simpler options. I use it as a last resort when all else has failed. As a general rule the only time I need to do a redraw is when the waveform has an extended "scuff", and in those cases it's *extremely* tedious.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jan 5 2009, 19:20
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QUOTE (carmatic @ Jan 5 2009, 11:35) *
the way im doing it right now is to apply a highpass filter to the waveform, and look for the spikes which result from the pops and clicks, then zoom in on where the spikes are and redraw the waveform to what i think it should be like without the noise there.


I just look for the clicks and pops, highlight each one, and low pass filter it with a sharp cut-off filter @ about 500 Hz.
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pawelq
post Jan 6 2009, 02:18
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jan 5 2009, 13:20) *
I just look for the clicks and pops, highlight each one, and low pass filter it with a sharp cut-off filter @ about 500 Hz.


Audition has a function which, as far as I understand, spectrally fills the (short) selection with neighboring audio, it nicely removes clicks.


--------------------
Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".
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carmatic
post Jan 6 2009, 16:49
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jan 5 2009, 12:20) *
I just look for the clicks and pops, highlight each one, and low pass filter it with a sharp cut-off filter @ about 500 Hz.


what program do you use which allows you to highlight different parts of the track like that?
what i would like to try is highlight the pops and clicks like you do, and then instead of using a 500hz filter, i want to use an interpolate function instead... assuming that the interpolation function doesnt replace the pops and clicks with its own artifacts and noises... i like the idea of only doing the finding-the-pops part, which i am better at than the computer, and leave the fixing-the-pops-that-i-find part to the computer, which it is better at than i am...

is there any such thing as a declicker tool which graphically shows you what parts of the audio it has removed? and if possible, it also allows you to make it 'ignore' some parts which you highlight... since pops and clicks are discrete events, you should be able to treat them individually as such... suppose that you have a recorded piece of audio , and you run the declicker over it, and invert the resulting waveform, and mix (Goldwave) or paste-mix (Acoustica) it with another copy of the original audio, so you end up with only what the declicker has taken away.. listen for and silence any traces of the original audio, invert it, and mix it with another copy of the recording, hopefully the combination of automation and human intervention will result in a better result...

for the pops and clicks which the declicker misses, i should be able to interpolate them away, if i can find them first... the highpass filter in Goldwave makes this easy, but there is no such filter in Acoustica for some reason...

i think i'll try Wave Repair next

also i am having alot of trouble with these sweeping 'white noise' sounds, its like something brushing against the stylus... what is the correct term for that?

This post has been edited by carmatic: Jan 6 2009, 18:15
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2Bdecided
post Jan 6 2009, 18:00
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Cool Edit Pro / Audition has the "fix single click" function which pawelq has already mentioned.

CliveB's own Wave Repair program has some of the manual playing around that you want. I think some others do too.

Several of the automatic delickers let you hear the "difference" - i.e. what invert-mix-paste of the original would give you. Many let you listen to this in real time.


IMO (YMMV!) life is far too short and full for the kind of manual work that you currently think you want to do - unless you only have one or two LPs to process, and have days to do it.

Cheers,
David.
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DVDdoug
post Jan 6 2009, 20:30
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QUOTE (carmatic @ Jan 6 2009, 07:49) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jan 5 2009, 12:20) *
I just look for the clicks and pops, highlight each one, and low pass filter it with a sharp cut-off filter @ about 500 Hz.


what program do you use which allows you to highlight different parts of the track like that?
GoldWave can do that. Wave Repair can do it... Just about any audio editor can do it. But personally, I haven't had much luck with simple low-pass filtering.

QUOTE
i think i'll try Wave Repair next
I think you'll like it! It has several different repair options. Probably 80% of the time, I use the option to copy the "preceding block", which copies-over the defect with the just-preceding few-milliseconds of sound. There is also an option to copy from one channel to the other, which works works very well if you have a defect in only one channel, or when you're having more trouble with one channel than the other.

When the simple copy-over methods don't work, I'll try "spectral replacement" next. There are also options for smoothing, interpolation, manual correction, and more.

QUOTE
suppose that you have a recorded piece of audio , and you run the declicker over it, and invert the resulting waveform, and mix (Goldwave) or paste-mix (Acoustica) it with another copy of the original audio, so you end up with only what the declicker has taken away.. listen for and silence any traces of the original audio, invert it, and mix it with another copy of the recording, hopefully the combination of automation and human intervention will result in a better result...
You can try it, but I don't think this will work... Your "difference file" is going to include whatever was removed PLUS whatever was corrected/changed/added. Any "original audio" will (hopefuly) be very short in duration, and may be difficult to distinguish from a glitch.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Jan 6 2009, 20:36
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krabapple
post Jan 6 2009, 20:55
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WaveRepair is great. I've also used Audition for manual repair (you don't want to do this on multiple albums unless you have tons of time).

But another option is to purchase and transfer cleaner LP copies of the worst offenders in your collection. Lots of records are cheaply found online. This, in the end could be the biggest timesaver/quality booster.
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Slipstreem
post Jan 6 2009, 21:00
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Wouldn't the best quality booster be to look around for the same albums on CD? smile.gif

Cheers, Slipstreem. cool.gif

This post has been edited by Slipstreem: Jan 6 2009, 21:03
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krabapple
post Jan 6 2009, 21:56
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QUOTE (Slipstreem @ Jan 6 2009, 15:00) *
Wouldn't the best quality booster be to look around for the same albums on CD? smile.gif



Hah! Yes, I'm assuming there something about the LPs -- like the mastering or rareness on CD -- that makes them attractive to the OP.

(I recently spent several sessions cleaning up a needledrop I made of an album I THOUGHT was unavailable on CD -- only to find that it had been released on CD just a few months ago. Luckily I'd only finished one track -- though it was 14 min long - and was grateful to simply buy the CD -- even though it turned out to have been digitally mastered in the 'modern' style -- with some weird very low-level chuffing noise that makes me wonder if it , too is a needldrop! dry.gif )

(The record was Johnny Harris 1973 opus 'All to Bring You Morning', if anyone cares)

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Trippynet
post Jan 6 2009, 22:03
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I use Adobe Audition 1.5 myself (the last of what used to be Cool Edit Pro). The standard options are fairly good at removing clicks and pops without degrading the audio quality too much. How many of them you remove is a trade-off though. Lower click/pop removal thresholds (high detection) will obviously remove more noise, but may also fill in some other bits that aren't pops. Higher thresholds (lower detection) may miss some of the lesser clicks and pops, but stand less chance of degrading the rest of the recording. It all depends really on how bad the recording is.

Obviously don't forget that nothing is better than the original sound, so clean and de-dust the record as well as you can before you copy it onto your PC if possible.

If however you just have a handful of noticeable pops to get rid of, zooming right in, selecting it and going to the "Fill single click" option in the "Click/Pop Remover" tool does an excellent job of removing that pop. And of course it doesn't touch or degrade the rest of the recording.

There are trials of Audition 1.5 kicking around still, but it is otherwise a commercial package.
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