How to clean up amateur demos?


I’m converting some acoustic demos from cassette to CD, recorded many years ago using just one microphone and a jam box. The recordings are in good shape, but they don’t sound professional at all.

Other than noise reduction, are there any general production techniques that will help a one-track recording of guitar and vocals sound better? I’ve thought of overdubbing some vocals into it to make it sound double-tracked, but I didn’t know if other things (compression, touch of reverb) would help or hurt.


All those ideas are along the right lines - also have a play with the Eq (in the effects menu).

How much compression, reverb and Eq. to use is a matter of taste - work on a copy (back up the original) and try different settings - only you can say if it sounds better or worse, so fiddle around as go with what sounds best to you.

Best thing you could probably do is to start from scratch and record the guitar and vocal parts seperately and clean each up individually…the nature of the two different methods of producing sound means that you probably won’t want the same effects on both parts…if this is not an option you can/want to pursue, eq, compressor, waveshaper and gverb should help tidy things up. Also might be worth using a very slight delay on the track if it sounds a bit tinny to double it up.

I’ve found the best way to make old mono recording better is to make it stereo. have the track in two mono channels, one to the left, one to the right. change the eq on each of them a bit, make sure they are quite different, and add a bit of delay ( very small) to one or both channels. your best bet would probably be to have one channel focused on guitar and the other on vocals, so tune one to make the guitar sound better, and the other to make vocals sound better. quick, easy, and effective fix.