The SugarCube SC-2 Is Here At Last...Clicks & Pops R.I.P.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DigMyGroove, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho

    I've watched/heard others use it with outstanding results. However, I do not want to go down that rabbit hole. With software that powerful, I would be sorely tempted to "re-master" my vinyl; go way beyond removing clicks and pops, and way beyond what is necessary, likely ruining the whole reason (mastering, sonic presentation, etc.) why I sought out the album in the first place. Lol. I do IT for a living. I do not want to invest hours and hours at home in front of a monitor. I just want the most egregious clicks and pops gone while listening and enjoying the music. Besides, I'd be going for the Advanced RX 6 version, which I believe is about 1200 bucks. For the convenience, I'll throw in the extra just to be able to push a button. Plus, with an appliance, I'm not locked in. The recording can be raw with blemishes galore. If a better way to skin the cat comes along (say SugarCube SC-7 MKIII with built in 32/384 A/D/A), all I have to do is change the appliance/trade up (seems easier to resell/trade hardware than software); because, I have made no destructive edits. Granted, I could keep two high res files (or two CD-R's) one raw and one repaired); but, why would I do that? Again, that takes away the ease of slappin' the record on the platter or the DVD-R with hi res files in a UDP or the CD-R in a transport or player or whatever.... ...and then just hit a button.
     
    Panama Hotel likes this.
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    You're overthinking it. I just set it at a reasonable setting and let it do all the work while I listen to music. Sounds fantastic. No rabbit hole or tons of wasted hours experimenting necessary. Up to you, really. No need to for the ultimate edition either.
     
  3. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho

    I smell what you're brewing; nothing wrong with that approach. It's just not where I'm at. I just wanna put it in the rack, plug it up, push a button... ...spin all day long. That's just where I'm at when I'm home... :cool: My dad actually still has a Garrard Music Recovery Module (which I shall inherit, one day). I see the SugarCube's as the logical progression of that idea (and the SAE...).
     
  4. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Exactly how I have it set up. My PC is always on. I double-click on the iZotope icon and load the profile, all of which takes 10 secs and I start spinning LPs. Sure, pressing a button takes 1 sec, but I'm OK with the 9 additional ones if it means saving all that dough I can spend on gear and/or other LPs. :)
     
  5. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho

    Just two different paths to similar ends (or beginnings). It's all good. But, I've been waiting for what the SugarCube units are, for a long time.

    Like I said, I do IT all day. I've done convergence systems for others. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. Tossed it. I simply have no interest in having a "PC" in my listening room or in my rack. And, I'm looking forward to removing it from the work-flow altogether.

    If you're spending the difference on other gear (especially) or other LPs, it's a moot point. The money is still being spent. Doesn't much matter for me. Buying gear, regardless of it's cost, has never prevented me from buying records.
     
  6. I have US copy of "John Barleycorn Must Die" by Traffic which has non fill all over side 2.
    It's visible when you hold it to the light, and when played, there's tons of pops and clicks, even though it's a near mint record otherwise.
    When played through the SC-1 at the default setting, the pops and clicks were all gone.
    I'm guessing it won't remove non-fill sounds that aren't pops and clicks, but it is has no problems otherwise.
     
  7. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canton, NY, USA
    Interesting--thanks! I guess when I say "non-fill," I don't mean pops or clicks, but that odd crunching/tearing sound that can only be made by non-fill. I don't have many albums at all with non-fill sounds: I can think of only four, and one of them was a Scorpio pressing that's been replaced with a proper audiophile version. The other three, weirdly enough, are all Bernie Grundman mastered jazz reissues on 33 rpm, on three different labels (never had a problem with Grundman masterings on 45 rpm, or other jazz masterings on 33).

    It would be nice if the Sugarcube could fix these as well, but it likely isn't a make-or-break aspect for my decision making. I'm still very intrigued by the device, and would probably have it by now if it came at its originally planned price point. The idea that whatever VG or VG+ pressings I've been hoping to upgrade to NM at some point could suddenly play as NM (with little or no loss in quality), in one fell swoop, is pretty appealing, On the other hand, I could afford a LOT of NM pressings for the cost of the SC-1. It's very much a "time vs. money" conundrum.
     
    vudicus likes this.
  8. Phillip Slepian

    Phillip Slepian Active Member

    Location:
    Elizabeth, NJ
    @vidicus - I digitized a beat up copy of Simon and Garfunkel "Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme" last night. Having read your post, I was on the lookout for LPs with non-fill. I think this may have been one, despite being an original (1966) Columbia pressing with what appears to be fairly heavy vinyl for a pop release. I gave it a good wet cleaning, but it was still really noisy. With the Sc-2 set to 7, most, but not all, of the clicks and pops were gone. But there was that odd scraping sound from time to time, as if the grooves were worn away. Whether that is non-fill or not, the SC-2 was not able to repair that at all. I don't see how it could; you're asking it to fill in missing material.
     
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  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Question about the SC-1 ; what can the USB port be used for?
     
  10. Tony A.

    Tony A. Forum Resident

    Location:
    N. CA
    Music Direct has posted a new video of SugarCube co-founder Leo Hoarty discussing the unit.


    Tony
     
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  11. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Cool. I'm at work so cannot watch it. Any revelations or news?
     
  12. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    He talks only about the SC-1. He acknowledges SAE and Burwen fairly by name. Good video that I won't quarrel with. No real revelations.
     
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  13. quicksrt

    quicksrt Forum Resident

    Location:
    City of Angels
    So this is basically ClickRepair software in a box. And like the computer, you can record the results.

    I'm sure the inventor / developer of CR is just thrilled.
     
  14. Mintsauce

    Mintsauce Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hertfordshire UK
    As he doesn’t support or distribute the real-time version anymore, I doubt he really cares.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  15. That scraping noise will definitely be the non-fill issue that the SC won't be able to fix.
    As you say, the the information isn't in the groove, sadly.
     
  16. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    That's oversimplifying it. The declicking process is more sophisticated and the DAC/ADC process is also more transparent and noiseless in contrast to a typical PC soundcard's.

    As for the author being thrilled or not, there is scuttlebutt that he is involved somehow but whether that is true or not, nobody knows. It's not as if there's anything that states that companies have an obligation to not improve and market innovative products which take his idea and run with it. It's called progress...
     
  17. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho

    I certainly hope it's not ClickRepairRT in a box or ClickRepair anything in a box unless it's a much, much improved version.

    I just ran a test on CR and did not like the results. My thinking was that if I take a commercially produced CD, rip a track to my PC and then run it through CR, it should come out with no changed samples because there were no clicks/pops to begin with. Well, I first ran it with my minimal settings, like DeClick at 5, Reverse, Pitch Protection and Simple. CR repaired 17 samples! Say, what?? Then I ran CR with almost the default LP settings but still backed off the DeClick to 40 from 50. I still selected reverse, pitch protect and let it run at default wavelet. This time CR repaired over 2,000 samples! Double, what???

    That pretty much sums it up for me. ClickRepair in it's varying versions most definitely false flags and removes more than just clicks and pops... ...and to my ears, it is audible (softens transients / rounds out crests and troughs / puts a light blanket over the music). This more or less just proves what I heard and suspected. I am not denouncing the product or saying that it isn't beneficial or a worth while sacrifice in some cases. Just that for me, I'll pass. That's another nudge in the direction of SweetVinyl's Sugarcubes.

    Surely, I'm not the first to do this kind of test/discovery.
     
    clhboa likes this.
  18. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    It is designed to be run exclusively on LPs so not much thought would logically go into the possibility nothing would ever need repairing. I wouldn't put much faith in that test. Your ears are in the only thing that matter. If you say you can easily detect it, more power to you. Loads of people don't and have used the product successfully and happily.

    I do agree however that the SC-1 should be more than ClickRepair in a box which I believe it probably is.
     
  19. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho

    I do not see why I would not put faith in that test. The whole purpose of ClickRepair is to remove "clicks and pops"; not take away from the music. If the recording was devoid of clicks and pops, as in a commercially produced CD, not sourced from vinyl but from tape or direct from digital... ClickRepair should find nothing to repair. The fact that it is means that the program is finding false flags (naturally occurring fast transients) and removing (smoothing) them. That's audible to a lot of folks and has been commented on as such. People can use whatever they want... as I do. My ears are exactly what lead me to run these tests. It's up to the individual to determine whether these losses are acceptable. For me, CR is acting far too much like a filter even at less than default levels. I am really hoping the Sugarcube units operate considerably better.
     
  20. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    If you write an application expecting to find something, it'll think it found something. Same as people.

    IMHO, the only real mistake the programmer made was having a counter.
     
  21. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Since you have the original rip and the CR version, have you XORed the files to find out - see AND hear - exactly what it did?

    I consider ClickRepair to be a miracle worker, making unlistenable crackly records sound almost great.
     
    krisbee likes this.
  22. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    Does it remove the clicks from songs that have clicks as part of the song, like the Fugees or Eels Novocaine for the Soul ?
     
  23. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    That was asked a couple of times in this thread, IIRC. I don't remember the answer, though.
     
  24. TerryS

    TerryS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Peyton, Colorado
    The problem with running a ripped CD through click repair is you have removed the output filter from the CD. You are working with the digital samples without the benefit of the analog filter on the output. So digital sequences where the digital value (amplitude) stepped several values would fool the Click Repair algorithm. It is optimized for the analog waveform from an album. I noticed the same thing when I ran samples of a pure sine wave through Click Repair to measure distortion. The analog signal was very clean (low distortion) and was digitized with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 at 24/96k. Sometimes the samples lined up such that there was a step of several bits between two adjacent samples and Click Repair would flag that as a click.
    It's not perfect, but I have done extensive testing on it and know that it only affects the few samples it identifies as a click. The vast majority of the music stays 'bit-perfect'. Keep the threshold low enough that it does not falsely identify music transients as click or pops and the result is really good (my opinion).
    To be a fair test, I think you would need to digitize the analog output of the CD player and run that through Click Repair. I've never tried that, but I'm sure it would still (depending on settings) still occasionally falsely flag some things as clicks. The trick is keeping the threshold low enough that it happens rarely.
    I've compared the files before and after running through Click Repair, and the difference is literally a few milliseconds worth of samples out of a 20 album. Its hard for me to believe that could be perceived as softening the sound.

    If you saw 17 samples being changed, that means it affected 386 microSeconds out of the song (0.000386 seconds).

    Terry
     
  25. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    The CD source was band-limited before sampling so shouldn't have anything above 22K on the disc. Sometimes they do because of the indiscriminate over use of digital processing tools before and during mastering, but a good CD won't.
     

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