Clarity From Plangent Processes Restores the Musical Soundtrack of The Oklahoma! 50th Anniversary Edition, to Near-Digital Quality

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Plangent Processes in Nantucket, MA and Chace Audio of Burbank CA announce the re-mastering of the musical portions of the 50th Anniversary edition of Rogers and Hammerstein's, Oklahoma! The result: The Oklahoma! soundtrack heard today is sonically superior to the soundtrack heard during its premier in 1955.

The Nov. 15 release of the 50th Anniversary Edition of Oklahoma! by Fox Home Entertainment, represents a major milestone in audio restoration. Musical portions of the original 65 mm Todd – AO soundtrack, which had been impaired due to changes in the dimensional stability of the legacy film master as well as the limitations of the original recording equipment, has been corrected using Plangent Processes proprietary Clarity technology. The result: a soundtrack quality on par with the original studio performance — even surpassing what the audience heard when the Rogers and Hammerstein classic premiered in 1955.

“We were delighted to be a part of this project to bring a classic Hollywood musical back to the viewing public,” says Jamie Howarth, Plangent Processes Owner and inventor of the company’s technology. “Some parts of the soundtrack were in very rough shape,” explains Howarth, “One vocal passage featured a very large and noticeable dip of nearly a half octave that appears to be the result of a speed flaw in the original recording. We were able to easily correct for this flaw. As a result, those who experience the new Oklahoma! 50th Anniversary Edition will be the first audience in 50 years to not hear this very noticeable defect from the original recording.”

“We have been working closely with Plangent Processes to implement this technology for motion picture sound restoration,” said Chace Audio President Bob Heiber. Chace is the partner and licensee of Clarity technology for film and video restoration. “We’ve found that as the overall stability in the track improves, all noise issues can be addressed with fewer tools. For example a 60Hz hum shows up at 60Hz and not across 58.5 to 61.3Hz. We can examine sonograms of noise/speed issues with incredible precision.

“We call the process “Clarity” because the end result has a sonic stability that opens up the track allowing the listener to hear greater detail and depth, says Heiber.

The Oklahoma! 50th Anniversary Edition represents the first major commercial application of Plangent Processes technology. Previously, the company had been instrumental in the 2004 release of the acclaimed Fats Waller Centennial Collection on RCA Bluebird records, featuring a range of rare recordings of varying quality from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. Successful results have also been achieved in tests of classic legacy music recordings with master tapes from the Warner Music Group and SonyMusic vaults.

Clarity is a proprietary audio time base and pitch correction system that removes wow, flutter and FM distortion from original master recordings. The sources of such acoustic imperfection are two-fold. First, over time, film and tape stock can stretch or distort due to changes in temperature and humidity as well as physical stress on the stock during multiple playbacks. Second, variations in pitch can result from the imprecise recording equipment used in the original recording process. In other words, many early recordings were imperfect the instant they were mastered.

Put simply, Clarity technology “straightens out” these imperfections using proprietary digital correction techniques, while scrupulously maintaining neutrality and without adding sonic artifacts or coloration. In fact, this technology even improves the fidelity of recordings deemed “exceptional” by removing the high speed FM distortion that masks subtle details and nuance. As a result, many recordings corrected by Plangent Processes are virtually indiscernible from modern digital masters. No other technology exists today that can come close to the results achieved by Plangent Processes and Chace Audio.

Concludes Heiber, “It’s unique, it works, and the motion picture studios are beginning to take notice.”

Jamie Howarth is an Emmy-winning musical producer, engineer and session musician. He lives and works on cold and gray Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Chace Audio is a recognized world leader in sound preservation and restoration, located in warm and sunny Burbank, California.

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