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Dial A Deadly Number

July 2002

After slumming it somewhat with Who Shot Poor George / XR40? and Not To Be Sneezed At, which were among the poorest of the recovered recordings, we thought we'd have an easier ride for our third remaster. Also, we decided to opt for a previously existing tale, if for no other reason than to keep people's excitement up. If we processed all the serials that have been unheard in thirty years right at the start of the project, interest may tail off as we worked our way through all the material that everyone's heard before. There's no plan. It's all done on whim! OK? So which one to go for? A serial sourced from an Emma Peel television episode seemed to be the order of the day, as the first two we'd done were adapted from the Tara King season - so we went for Dial A Deadly Number.

The good news is that John Wright's recordings of this serial have survived pretty damned well. There's the expected tape noise, but the recordings have a very good frequency response, and, at first listen, appear not to need truckloads of work to bring them up to scratch. Naturally, a second listen had us finding all sorts of minor problems that will need addressing, notably clicks and pops and sudden changes in record level. We suspect these are drop-outs, but they appear more violent than we'd have expected. All the same, it shouldn't be impossible to fix these problems - just time intensive.

The episodes were transferred to our PC from the CDR discs we had made in May 2002, and noise reduction treatment was performed in Sonic Foundry's excellent Sound Forge programme on July 15th 2002. We have found Sound Forge to create less by way of digital artifacts, and the processing of these episodes resulted in a considerable reduction in noise, with no apparent side-effects.

The episodes have been given minimal graphic equalisation, to mildly varying degrees on each episode to give as uniform a sound quality as possible. Declicking proved to be quite a task, five episodes of the six averaging about two hours each to manually process. The fifth episode alone contained an incredible 1400 clicks, all of which have been fixed. Four and a half hours work on its own!

Finally, all the sudden volume drops, which we presume were drop-outs caused by isolated areas of tape shedding an excess of oxide compared to that around them, were successfully dealt with with a mixture of amplification and graphic equalisation. Hopefully, the listener will not be able to even guess where these were!

Work on this serial was completed on Sunday 21st July 2002.

by Alan and Alys Hayes