"Behind the Scenes"

The Shellac Project Trailer (2018)

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft captured the musical wonders from the early 20th century with its shellac discs. Now it dives into the sealed archive of the good old times and brings these legendary recordings from a century ago into the modern age. Supported by Google Arts & Culture, Deutsche Grammophon presents to the world “The Shellac Project”, the digitization of historic shellac discs.
The process of audio restoration is divided into two parts…

The Shellac Project – Behind the Scenes

Ever since their invention by Emile Berliner, shellac discs have been subject to ongoing improvements, in both form and quality: from 12cm, 17cm up to 30cm; from single to double sided, from variable groove to microgroove… Technological innovations came at a price: whenever there was an important improvement, part of the catalogue disappeared, or became obsolete altogether with the evolution of these discs.

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft captured the musical wonders from the early 20th century with its shellac discs, but then the relay mission of these inspirations can’t be completed, unless we bring the recordings in these discs back to life. Finally, we dived into the sealed archive of the good old times and brought these legendary recordings from a century ago into the modern age. Supported by Google Arts & Culture, Deutsche Grammophon presents to the world “The Shellac Project”, the digitization of historic shellac discs.

In the Trailer, Lennart Jeschke, mastering engeineer of the Shellac Project, explained the process of audio restoration.

The first part is the digitization of the analogue material, for example a shellac disc or the metal master, from which the shellac disc was pressed. This process is so physical, that even the dust on the disc surface may affect the sound transfer greatly.

In the second part of the process, the sound engineer will receive the audio files, check the damage of the sound tracks and decide which software to use for the removal of clicks and noise.

The sound is then meticulously remastered for optimal listening experience. Even though the sound engineer could remove all the noise, it would sound artificial and not pleasant to listen to if he did so. Using his instinct and experience he must decide to what extent he should reduce the noise level. He then goes over it again and polishes it carefully, before the remaster is then approved.

Deutsche Grammophon announces ground-breaking digital restoration project

Priceless metal masters from Yellow Label’s legendary sound archive
transformed in partnership with Google Arts & Culture
to create sensational digital transfers