Audio Restoration

In this very moment, millions of hours of recorded music, sounds, voices, evidence of past life are being lost - silently, progressively, irreversibly and unstoppably. The erosion of collective memory is due to the intrinsic physical and chemical instability of audio media, which results in a very short Life Expectancy (LS) (from a few years to a few decades), in sharp contrast with the LE of other cultural materials, such as paintings or sculptures, the degradation of which is measured in centuries or millennia.
At CSC, we have defined an innovative methodology for the conservation and restoration of sound memories, already applied in international research projects funded by large archives (Centro Studi Luciano Berio, Paul Sacher Stiftung, Arena di Verona, Scuola Normale di Pisa).
In order to save the intangible heritage of sound memories it is necessary to transfer the acoustic information, often stored on obsolete media (discs, tapes, cassettes, etc.), onto new [digital] media, e.g. redundant storage systems supporting a dynamic type of preservation, finalized at preventing the harmful consequences of obsolescence, that does not spare digital formats and carriers.
Transferring the audio signal from one medium onto another medium (re-mediation) is a scientifically and culturally complex operation, which aims at producing a curated digital archive that meets the long-term requirements of authoritativeness, reliability and accuracy. In order to obtain a digital object that represents effectively a sound document in all its aspects, tangible and intangible elements (housing , attachments, audio signal) need to be documented, and it is necessary to apply a philologically informed methodology (i.e. that considers the cultural context in which the document was produced) within an infrastructure adequately equipped (professional and functioning replay device, compatible with the format of the documents to re-mediate; analog-digital converter; precision incubator for the thermal treatment of magnetic tapes; etc.).
In addition to a thorough and rigorous documentation, our methodology stands out for the high degree of automation achieved thanks to software tools developed on purpose, and for the systematic introduction of chemical-mechanical analyses aimed at identifying the most adequate treatment for the document.

Selected journal articles:
  1. Bressan, F. and Canazza, S. A Systemic Approach to the Preservation of Audio Documents: Methodology and Software Tools. In Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2013 (Article ID 489515): 21, 2013.
  2. Bressan, F.; Canazza, S.; Bertani, R.; Rod`a, A. and Fontana, F. The safeguard of audio collections: A computer science based approach to quality control in the archive of the Arena di Verona. In Advances in Multimedia, 2013 (Article ID 276354): 14, 2013.
  3. Bressan, F.; Canazza, S.; Rod`a, A.; Bertani, R. and Fontana, F. Pavarotti sings again: A multidisciplinary approach to active preservation of the audio collection at the Arena di Verona. In Journal of New Music Research, 42 (4): 364-380, 2013.
  4. Bressan, F.; Canazza, S. and Bertani, R. Metodologie e nuovi strumenti informatici per la tutela delle memorie sonore: il caso dell'archivio storico della Fondazione Arena di Verona. In Archivi (2): 62-121, 2013.
  5. Bressan, F. Approccio al Restauro di Documenti Sonori e Contesto Tecnologico: il Progetto REVIVAL. In Schifanoia, 38, 2010.

Research Threads

3D Audio
Audio in multimodal interfaces
Audio restoration
Interactive environments for learning
Music expression modeling
Physically-based sound modeling
Virtual rehabilitation

History of CSC research



A complete list of projects and industrial partners can be found here.