Remastering older recordings ?

I was just wondering If anyone knows of a place for Artist EQ curves. I am going thru all my CD collection and some of the recordings are terrible. Specifically Jethro Tull right now. I know a lot of them are being remastered, but some of them are rare and others aren’t out yet.
So I’m taking each CD album and song at a time and going thru them, and then making new EQ curves to fix the recording.
I could just FLAC each one in dbpoweramp and leave it, but even a lossless recording that is bad isn’t really worth anything , is it ?
Its probably not possible to make a silk purse out of a Sow’s ear, but I’ve had pretty good luck so far I think.
New recordings are even worse, yea just make it LOUD ! Never mind the fact its recorded way too loud, which wrecks the dynamics of the recording, I don’t want to really get into it.

Undoing dynamic-range-compression is next to impossible.
Expansion is the opposite of compression.
I recently found a free plugin which is capable of multi-[6]-band expansion …

Here is a simpler 2-band expander plugin (billed as an exciter) …

What I should have called it is “brick wall limiting” trying to get the most volume, albeit with more clipping and distortion, with the probably best example Metallica’s Death Magnetic, full of distortion.
Some people still don’t even know about the loudness war. Its amazing what some people, even recording engineers will do for a couple bucks, or in some cases to save their jobs.

I was just wondering If anyone knows of a place for Artist EQ curves.

No, it just has to be done by-ear.

IMO - The Graphic EQ is easier to “play around with” than the Filter Curve EQ.

There are some “matching EQ” plug-ins. Izotope Ozone has matching EQ, but it’s not free and I don’t think it supports Audacity… It might run stand-alone but I’m not sure. And, I doubt it works that well. I think it’s meant for situations where a band records songs for an album in different studios with different engineers. I assume it’s just a starting-point and then some further tweaking is probably needed.

If you want to “be serious” about re-mastering it’s a good idea to have a known-good reference recording in the same genre, not to exactly-match but to “keep your ears calibrated”… It’s easy to get carried away with EQ (or other effects).

Here is a simpler 2-band expander plugin (billed as an exciter)

Usually, and “exciter” (named after the Aphex Aural Exciter) is an effect that adds higher frequency harmonics. That can help when boosting the highs with EQ doesn’t work because there’s nothing (or almost nothing) to boost! The optional [u]Harmonic Enhancer[/u] can do that. I used it once on a “dull sounding” CD.

Undoing dynamic-range-compression is next to impossible.
Expansion is the opposite of compression.

Yeah… It might help to some extent and you can make the dynamic range measure better but it may not sound better. There are several issues with expansion… First, you don’t the compression parameters (threshold, attack, and release) and the recording engineer may have compressed before the mastering engineer re-compressed with a different compressor and different settings. If multiband compression was used that adds more unknown layers of complexity. There may have been compression on the individual tracks before mixing and that’s just impossible to reverse. Limiting is also impossible to reverse because a peak that’s limited to 0dB may have been +1dB or +12dB before limiting and that information is just lost.

A noise gate, which reduces quiet parts (or kills the sound completely) when it drops below a threshold is a kind of downward expansion and it’s usually the only place you see expansion used.

Its funny I was listening to a Steve Wilson remix of Aqualung, and basically the main thing is its louder, but it still sounds muddy.

My way of doing it is as follows: I use dbpoweramp to rip the CD using AccurateRip.
Next take it into Audacity, and do two things first, listen to it untouched and look at what it looks like. I have made some presets of bringing out voice and also the high end to different degrees. I mainly use the graphic equalizer for the low end.

The harder part is in the 600-1500 Hz range where low end and male voice starts to mix.
Since I am quite a Tull fan(thanks to my sister for that) I’ll use him as an example. A lot of his recordings his voice is pretty far back and blurs in with the low end, so I usually wind up taking away energy in the 400-800 hz region and also centered in the 100 hz where there is lots of energy, but it makes the recording very dull sounding. Thats not always the issue but too much bass overpowers the highs sometime.

I also usually boost all the levels without going over the peak range. On some of his quieter songs, I may use a small amount of compression as well, but at a very low level. Too much and the whole thin gets very strange sounding as you pointed out.
This is all done at my PC of course.Then I take the whole thing and throw it on a USB drive. Then comes the real test. It goes into my Home system, comprising a Yamaha RX-V757 receiver, Panasonic CD player(with USB drive input), and out to my Wharfedale 220 speakers with a Subwoofer as well.

I then listen to it and see what it sounds like and what it might need.
One song can sometime take an hour or more, some of course don’t need that much work. More for older recordings, and maybe less for newer ones. By that I mean 60’s and 70’s for older and after that is newer.

Your right about a “calibrated ear”. I try to do as least as I can to a song. I must admit though it can be a very rewarding experience. Its something like getting a new piece of equipment and relistening to all or a lot of your recordings you have.
You start to hear things that were never there before. Well they were there you just never really heard them I should say.

I’m sure to most it sounds like a lot of work for very little in return. Best comparison I can make is like learning a song on at least in my case guitar. Hours and hours of practice, and then you may just get it “right”, and it sounds like it should.
Since I’m now retired and have time to enjoy it while I can. Who knows when your hearing may really start to go downhill.
Hope you enjoyed the ramble !

The Steve Wilson remix of Auqalung on Youtube is much more clear compared to the previous version. The intro drum cymbals are brought out and Ian’s vocal is brighter. On headphones it’s going to sound crisper/brighter than on large home speakers which I’m assuming you’re using to apply EQ edits. Speakers require broader and more pronounced individual EQ adjusts. I suggest you use a 32 band EQ. My MacMini comes with a 32 band AU Graphic EQ plugin that allows live edits in Audacity. Works very well for refined editing.

Here’s the two Aqualung versions…

Steve Wilson:

2021 Stereo remaster:

I’m doing the same kind of editing of '70’s recorded pop music from CD’s that sound murky on speakers using Audacity. I’ve made some pretty good improvements playing through headphones, home system speakers and my car’s small speakers.

I use a 2 step approach listening on my PC speakers (Klipsch Promedia with sub) and then listen on my home speakers afterwards.
I wish I had a better equalizer, but I only have the Audacity one to do edits.
Worst so far is Too Old to Rock and Roll, its really lousy sounding and the Audacity look of the actual recording has no peaks or valleys, must be extremely compressed.

To see actual peaks and valleys in Audacity you need to zoom in on a section. Highlight a sliver about 1/8 in.wide on your screen and use keyboard combo that’s for your operating system to zoom in close to see individual peaks. I’m on a Mac so it’s Command ‘E’.

That way you’ll be able to see flat top wave peaks that indicate it’s been brick walled beyond 0db. If it isn’t, then you have something to work with using an EQ. Just remember you really never lose any audio waves in digital when editing in 32bit Floating point in Audacity. You just rearrange them like they’re a floppy accordion or slinky changing the micro harmonic relationship of the original recording even though it sounds terrible.

I’ve actually greatly improved the sound of Jimmy Rodgers’ “Last Blue Yodel” recorded in the early '30’s that sounds like it’s playing off an old 78rpm Victrola now sounding like he was recorded yesterday. What this says is back in 1930 the vinyl 78 rpm record digitized captured enough detail necessary to make it sound as if the listener was right in the room with Jimmy. I just had to rearrange the peaks and valleys to change the harmonic relationships that fools the ear.

This is all a trick to our senses making it a fun hobby.

Too bad we can’t post the actual remasters for others to listen to, probably some sort of copyright infringement I suppose.That’s really interesting about those older recordings.

Also makes me laugh at what people call old these days, my wife says recordings from the 80’s are old. My daughter on the other hand is trying to figure out what a turntable is. I told her it’s gone by many different names over the years.