Stereo Tool

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:38 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:33 am
Posts: 20
I feel I should warn you, even before I actually start typing out this post; it might venture in to tl;dr territory. Sorry. I've just got too many great things I have to say.

I've been using StereoTool for a couple years. I stumbled upon it when I needed a more accurate simulation of FM broadast sound; as I'd been unable to really nail it myself. As I, for some reason, enjoy the occasional sound of AM radio; I found myself listening to playlists through it. I became very interested in the stereo processing; mostly the fact it could adjust phase separately. The Azimuth adjustment tool was much better than what I had been using for the same job. So right there, StereoTool started to become a pretty invaluable tool in my restoration toolbox; and at times, my mastering toolbox as well. It also saw pretty heavy use in not only the handful of shoutcast stations I've attempted to run since getting it; but I also used it in any case where I wanted to optimize audio for a lower-bandwidth window.

PerfectDeclipper, however, was something I wish existed 10 years ago. I can't remember how I played with it the first time I loaded it up; but I remember quickly discovering that using it for uses other than straight declipping, was a whole lot of fun. The first actual declipping purpose I tried was from a tape I was given 4 years ago. To avoid an even longer tl;dr, I'll omit the entire story of how I got the tape. The tape was an amateur recording of a junior high band made back in 1976 at 7.5 ips on quarter-inch reel-to-reel. Since I was able to track down the original owner of the tape; I decided to transfer and restore the thing, put it on CD. The first few seconds of the recording are severely overloaded untill someone turns down the volume on the tape deck. Tape saturation tends to clip in a way that mostly distorts; so the majority of declipping methods I had at my disposal then failed to really completely fix it. The best I could do was with izotope RX, and even then it was still very obvious the tape was severely overloaded. I dropped the initial volume, applied a funky filter to smooth out the gradual change in volume, and left it at that. Thanks to the fact that hard-disk space got cheap; I actually had the raw transfer wav from 4 years ago, and ran it through. I was absolutely stunned at what came out; not only did it seem to restore the range that got cut off by saturating the tape, but it seemed to fix all the distortion of the tape saturation. I knew at that point it was not working like any other declipper I'd ever used; and that's when I began to attempt to exploit it's waveform-reconstruction abilities.

While I noticed it's ability to somewhat restore dynamic range early on; what I really noticed was it's ability to fix distorted bass. I've got quite a few CD's that through bad mixing, or mastering, or combination of both; have this horribly overloaded/clipped bass that just makes the entire thing sound bad. PerfectDeclipper has been able to really smooth that out, making it sound as natural as possible. But after getting fed-up with the severely compressed/limited stuff they're putting on CD's, I went back to trying to see what it could do as far as dynamic expansion. While most of the compression is "baked-in" to the mix, PerfectDeclipper was able to make it less fatiguing to listen to. By itself, it "opened" things up a bit. Sometime in the last two months; I started paring it up with the dynamics processor in Audition. By itself, the dynamics processor in expansion mode seemed to either do too much, or not enough. Even after using a similar curve to make up for the absence of PerfectDeclipper's processing did not yield the same effect as pairing the two up. I'm not going to claim it's a very drastic change; and not very many people have heard what I've done. The few that have commented on how they noticed a good change. Some of the highly compressed stuff I've run through this setup has come out sounding, as we say in the tube world, "more musical and open".

I've also, believe it or not, used StereoTool to test the ability of devices to stream high resolution audio. The theory works this way, if I can get some quick FM transmitter I threw together using salvaged junk components to fully work with StereoTool's FM processing with my sound card output; why not pre-render the processing with StereoTool to a 192khz wave, connect my transmitter to the device to be tested, and play this wave through it. The idea being I don't need to know how accurately it produces 192khz; but if the RDS signal can be decoded, then it's supporting it to some degree.

So, my hat off to you; StereoTool has always been an outstanding product, and the addition of PerfectDeclipper has pushed that bar even higher. I am using it in ways and situations one normally wouldn't; and I've been getting outstanding results.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:18 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:10 am
Posts: 9
I do the same with my stereotools i actully bought winamp so i can do movies, i just turn off the azimuth and movie compatable aswell and sci-fi never sounded better :lol: (but just incase winamp can't do it VLC as my backup as failsafe)

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:48 pm
Posts: 2
Sounds so freakin' awesome!

Next year, we'll probably upgrade to ST Full Version (Bojchas King's Fire FM-Preset is very promising) - this year, upgrading the Server-PC to an i7 was out of budget :|

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:38 am
Posts: 17
It really is remarkable what ST can do... I also like using it to clean up audio. Such as improving the quality of recorded speeches where the audio source is a camcorder microphone. :D

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