Restoring records

OK, I’m new to any sort of DAW. I can record and playback no problem with Wavelab Elements 8.

I can playback through the Sonnox declick and dehiss, great stuff !

But can I live process? That is put a record on and listen directly to the output of the Sonnox plug in’s, in real time, without recording ?

And then, having set them up, can I record the declicked and dehissed output directly. So on playback it is already declicked and dehissed ?

The words and phrases in this new DAW world are a tad alien to me, for now at least.



Not in WaveLab Elements.
In WaveLab, you can insert the plugin “Audio Input” for this purpose.

Really ? Then this makes Wavelab 8 Elements completely useless ?


Ha ha, no, don’t panic … you just need to rethink your workflow! Basically, to restore a record the first thing to do is capture it (i.e. record it) into a file in it’s entirety and save it. Processing takes place as a subsequent step … you’d set up your declicker etc., which you’ll be able to audition in realtime as you play the file with the plugins in the master section, and then render to a new file. That way you keep the original, so you can always go back to it. Especially if you’re new to this, you will want to return to try again as your skills develop. In the same way as an experienced Photoshop user can always spot the “first efforts” of a beginner, you’ll want to redo old restoration jobs in a few months time, so best to save the “pristine” original!

Hi Soundman

Well, with over 2 1/2 pages of photos in my local paper this week, I’m a bit of an expert in Photoshop!

Also the pair of Cedar racks here, get it right first time, every time.

I am very disappointed, no question.

So what are the alternatives ? Record it, bring up Sonnex and without playing it resave it ? Would that work ?



No – record it, add plugins and adjust while listening to it, then render the result to a new file.

IMO Mr Soundman is right. Serious restoration work can’t be done in real time - the outer vinyl grooves may need a different approach from the inner grooves, plus, you’re by definition always too late with adjustments. Record the best quality possible in a high digital resolution, keep the original recording and work from there. Just my 2 cts…

Guys, you are missing the point ! The Cedar racks can do this.

But whatever, this is what I want to do. So can someone help me do what I want to do ?



Dave, you need to upgrade to the full version to do what you’re talking about. That’s why Elements is so cheap. We had the same issue with Cubase Elements (not able to record with plugins) and had to upgrade for that. You could record with plugins in Reaper for $200, but it doesn’t include any restoration plugins I know of. That’s the trade off. You obviously know what you’re doing, how you want to do it, and have quite a resume, but I don’t see how you’re going to do this with a $100 program.

Guys, you are missing the point ! The Cedar racks can do this.

WaveLab has also a plugin called “External Gear” that sends the audio to your device (eg. Cedar) and collect it from the device too (Cedar), and plays back the audio stream. That is, exactly what you are looking for, if I follow correctly.

Dave, it’s not so much that we’re missing the point, it’s that I don’t think any of us would approach restoration in this manner. I would concur with Arjan P, and that is also my approach – make an archival transcript (recording) first, and do the processing after the fact. The reason for this is that the source media is often fragile and in some cases there may be only one opportunity to capture the material (baked tape, for example). Recording the source material through any processing stage, hardware or software, means it’s irrevocably changed even before it’s captured.

The Cedars you mention are top-end hardware solutions, but I would argue that with even WaveLab 8 Elements and the proper plugins and skills (and enough time and patience!) it is possible by means of judicious manual restoration to surpass them in terms of the end result. I am not aware of any automated process that can deliver optimal results every time, for the simple reason that the input material is a non-deterministic variable.

Since you mention you have experience with Photoshop, allow me to make another analogy: imagine you make a high-resolution scan from an old photograph and load it into Photoshop Elements, apply “Auto Smart Fix” (I think it’s called), save it as a JPEG and then delete the original scan; that’s the closest I can think of recording directly via the Sonnox plugins bundled with WaveLab, even if it were possible to do so with WaveLab Elements 8. You would of course instead keep the original scan, save it only as PSD after importation, make any adjustments using Layers etc. and only at the end render a new image at the desired resolution.

Nevertheless, perhaps I really am misunderstanding your reasons for wanting to do what you set out in your original post. There are a number of knowledgeable people on this forum who are engaged in restoration work and I’m sure there is a willingness to listen as well as to offer help wherever possible – and welcome to the wonderful world of digital audio processing!

Thanks for all your considered help, and apologies for my earlier grumpiness !

Let’s take the Photoshop thing, I have had the full version since 2.5 a whole 22 years ! Yes if I were doing a single important scan it would be at 1200dpi and I would lavish time and care over it. When I’m working for the media I shoot full frame with a professional camera and always in RAW.

However if I come across something that is of the moment, my iPhone 4s will at a push produce press quality images.

I have both Cedar racks running with a Lynx Hilo, and remarkably they automatically do the job. Yes, maybe the results could be surpassed on a few records. But put a collection of 20,000 records into the equation, then what ? The Cedar’s and Hilo would just get on and do the job, and they do.

When I bought Wavelab Elements, I looked at the comparison chart, it didn’t tell me that Elements would not do what I wanted, hence my severe disappointment. But I’m over that now.

I am still very wet behind the ears with digital audio processing, but that’s why I’m here.

So I have at the moment, two burning questions :

  1. If I get the full version, and say for example this month I have 2,000 Motown records that all need, all but identical re-work. Can I set the Sonnox plugins just once, and then record all of them one after another. And the workflow would be, put the record on, press record, when finished select save, job done, declicked and dehissed ?

  2. Right now just using Elements, what is the very fastest way of workflow ? Assuming I always want the very same Sonnox settings, what is the fastest way of doing this ? I need help here as I can’t get my head around even the slow method, that seems like record, then playback all over again through the Sonnox plugin then save, like over 80 minutes for one record ? Or can I record, set Sonnox and save without playing/recording all over again ?

As I said, I can’t get my head around this.



I would strongly suggest that, given the hardware that’s available to you already, and the volume of work you’re contemplating, the only sensible suggestion would be to upgrade your WaveLab Elements 8 to WaveLab 8. WaveLab 8 also has facilities to batch-process all 2000 files with any settings and any plugins, which answers question 1. If you want to record using the Cedars, WaveLab 8 also allows external gear to be hooked up and used like plugins (but obviously in realtime only, and you need an ASIO-compliant audio interface with a sufficient number of inputs and outputs).

As for question 2, unfortunately your only option with WaveLab Elements 8 is to record each record, and do the processing manually on each file, however, if you find a set of settings that work well on all records, then you can save presets and just load each file in turn and render without having to playback in realtime.

Apropos using the Sonnox plugins specifically with the full version of WaveLab 8 in the batch processor, you might want to check first as I believe there may be an issue with that (on the Sonnox side).

[EDIT:] it apparently is only a problem if you want to render using the Sonnox De-Noiser’s “freeze” mode … not anything to do batch processing.

OK, I’m getting there. I should have made it clear the Cedar racks and the Hilo are in a different location to the Wavelab/software solution. Without doubt the Cedar/Hilo combination, if set up properly is magic, for me at least.

I will consider the full version of Wavelab later, and it’s not looking good so far.

However, this looks very good “however, if you find a set of settings that work well on all records, then you can save presets and just load each file in turn and render without having to playback in realtime.”

I suppose I could RTFM, but would you indulge me and tell me how to do this please ?

Many thanks


At the risk of appearing flippant, it is actually the best and definitive source of information … but the key concept is this, from page 226 of the Elements manual:

Rendering Files
1.In the Master Section, make your settings.
2.On the bottom of the Master Section, click the Render button.
3.In the Render dialog, make your rendering settings.
4.When you have set up the rendering process, click OK.
The file is rendered.

Assuming you have all the files you want to process already recorded, and you want to apply the same process to all of them, load the first one, select your plugins, get it sounding how you like it (this is step 1 above), then save your settings (per plugin*) and render. The “render” process is the part that, for a newcomer, is not at all obvious … it’s not like in Word, where you save the file; you can to that too, but to have the plugins in the master section actually change the original, it’s “rendered” into a new file – as fast as your computer can do it, as opposed to realtime.

Hope this helps!

*Note: I can’t remember if Elements has an option to save the entire master section and all settings – I have Elements on a laptop, I’ll load it up later and check.

[EDIT] Yes, you can save and load master section presets in Elements as well, so basically all you have to do is set up your ideal processing chain, save a master section preset, and at the start of each session (assuming you won’t be processing 2000 albums in one go!) load up that master section preset, load each file in turn and hit Render.

Dave, I think it’s pretty obvious by now, but MrSoundman and Arjan are right, their method is the more professionally acceptable these days (recording flat unprocessed master files from the source) and then applying processing to those files. As they’ve said, that you can do in Elements. It just generates twice as many files, and some still prefer to pitch and catch with all processing and be done with it, as in the days before workstations. But as they’ve said, in many ways the Elements method of flat recording and then rendering with plugins is more future proof. (since you can always go back to the flats at some time in the future, and re-process).

OK, I’m a believer ! Thanks guys. Multiple render settings is the way to go; and/or try a bit then render.

The problem is for me, that Render means image texturing. I suppose it’s the same, but never in a million years would it have occurred to me.

I’m going to print the manual, I think ? But then again on every occasion it has failed to give me the answer to the question I wanted to know.

So I’m going to spend some time for a day or two, any suggestions gratefully appreciated.

But, before I go, one question. Using Photoshop language, how to I save and load what I would call the Workspace, that is all/some of the windows and functions in their new physical positions my actual settings. This too would be so good !

Many thanks


But, before I go, one question. Using Photoshop language, how to I save and load what I would call the Workspace, that is all/some of the windows and functions in their new physical positions my actual settings. This too would be so good !

This is only possible in WaveLab.

This wasn’t listed in the differences between the two version either !

Oh well !


Dave, you make a couple of good points actually … “render” is a word that’s used very differently in different contexts: in Photoshop, it effectively implies creating something from nothing (clouds, noise), whereas in media production it generally means creating a final image or product; the meaning is similar in Vegas (video) and WaveLab.

There was uproar when WaveLab 7 was released and no longer contained a printed manual, but really, the manual is just a reference, and doesn’t contain much instructions on how to carry out specific tasks, beyond what’s already in the online help. There’s no indication of what is the best or recommended workflow for a given use case, and indeed it could be argued that there could never be, given that the application is already so complex and flexible; “Word” syndrome, to an extent.

Nevertheless, since the re-write of the application (v6 to v7), I think there is definitely room for more written documentation aimed at the beginner, even if this is only in the form of a PDF. The “Operation Manual” is fine if I already know what I want to do and just need more detail (and I am aware that there is that capability within the application in the first place!), but there’s a big gap between “Getting Started” and “Operation Manual”. People need a “How to do xyz in WaveLab” manual!

@Dave, the best I can personally recommend at the present time (and the usual disclaimers apply: your mileage may vary, I have no association with …, etc.) are the video tutorials here and here. The former are paid, but very good, and there are some free previews on the website, and although they’re based on version 7, they nevertheless still apply; the latter are free and are probably already on your DVD if you bought a boxed product. Neither address WaveLab Elements specifically, but much of the ground is common, and at least you can see what you’re missing!

On the more general point of the difference in features between WaveLab Elements 8 and WaveLab 8, it may be galling to find something missing in Elements, but of all the applications I use that have a “full” and an “elements” version, I think WaveLab Elements represents incredible value for money. If you’re working with 2-channel files (i.e. ubiquitous stereo) in a typical home/project studio, there’s very little functionality you’ll find missing that can’t be replaced with other free or very cheap plugins. The “pro” version on the other hand offers many features that I personally don’t require at the moment, but nevertheless I have found it worth the investment to not have any limitations in terms of what I can do with it; batch processing, spectral editing and in particular the metering in 8 are the highlights for me, but I also have Elements on a laptop which has been worth every cent of the upgrade price from the free LE that came with my portable recorder.

Hope this helps!