Air Force One Audio Restoration/Enhancement Process

Air Force OneA lot of people have been asking how I restored the Air Force One radio transmissions from November 22 1963, right after JFK was shot. Below I have outlined my process with brief explanations about each.

I used a software program from Adobe CS 6 ‘Audition’ for this entire process.

I identified the points in each version of the tape recordings, the LBJ version and the General Clifton version, for edit points before altering the recordings for enhancement.

I began the restoration process by sampling the tape hiss present on the entire recording and reducing with Adobe noise reduction. Next I went section by section and reduced the radio transmission noise which varied from conversation to conversation.

Then I applied equalization and compression filtering to help bring out the conversations. This was also done section by section since each conversation varied in speaking frequencies.  Adobe CS6 has a great tool, the FFT equalization which is very easy to use.

Audio restoration and enhancement is a process. I refer to it as peeling an onion; one layer at a time. If something does not sound right, I go back a step and try a different process. That’s the beauty of digital audio restoration and enhancement.

I am still working on the restoration as time permits and will update the videos posted here. I am hearing more and more of the conversations using critical listening and additional enhancement. Considering how primitive the technology was back then I am very impressed with the sound quality of these recordings. By the way, the General Clifton version is much better sounding and longer then the LBJ version.

Read about how this all started, and you can watch the story on “The Lead” with Jake Tapper on CNN below.

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