Audio restoration is a time consuming process, regardless of the quality of the recordings. When you
have something in the region of thirty hours of material to transfer from one medium to another,
before you can even think of commencing reparatory work, then it is very time consuming! This is,
of course, exactly the situation with The Avengers. John Wright has supplied nine Ό" reels,
each containing as many as twenty-eight episodes. So, Rule One of the restoration of The Avengers
- it's not going to happen overnight. Amusingly, this isn't the first time we've gone through this
process with the series - we've already made remasters from cassette copies we were loaned, back
in 2000. Now we have to look on the year that we spent working on those as little more than a
trial run. The difference, however, between the quality of the cassettes we borrowed and John
Wright's reel-to-reel originals is massive - it's a bit of a clichι, but it feels like we're
really hearing them for the first time. For this reason, we're delighted to be able to have a
second bite of the apple.
When you're sent Ό" tapes to work on, it's pretty likely that you won't have a deck capable of
playing them just laying around the house... And this was very much the case with us. It's a great
boon therefore, when friends who live but a couple of miles down the road just happen to have exactly
that - though to say that John and Maureen Day's Revox A77 lays around the house is not in the slightest
bit true. John has performed many audio restorations of his own using the Revox, cleaning up old
BBC Radio comedy series for his own use, and soundtracks of otherwise missing television programmes
for the British Film Institute. He knows his stuff and will no doubt be called upon to help us out on
occasion. We're most grateful to John for the loan - don't worry, we took the greatest of care with
Alys operates the Revox A77 tape
recorder - and agrees that it's a very solid bit of kit!
We picked up the Revox on Sunday 19th May 2002, and in the wink of an eye, we had begun the
distinctly long-winded task of committing everything on John Wright's tapes to our compact
disc recorder, giving as accurate a replica of the taped sound as possible. At this stage,
only minimal analogue graphic equalisation is being applied: the signal is otherwise
untreated on its initial journey from analogue to digital. The amount of recorded material
will necessitate the burning of something in the region of thirty CDR discs even at this
Once this process is complete, the recordings will be transferred, a serial at a time, to our
computer, where noise reduction and / or graphic equalisation will be applied using the Cool
Edit program. Two versions will then be burned to final CDR masters - one with original
commercials intact, one without.
These restored recordings present Sonovision's The Avengers in a new clarity not heard since
the original broadcasts. Avengers on the Radio have donated these restored recordings to the SABC
Radio Sound Archive.
Alan checks the input record level
on the CDR deck.
Alan and Alys Hayes