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BUILD A BETTER RECORD?

There are dozens of old records in my home, some dating back to the '20s with the thick Standard label. The fidelity is terrible. Can modern technology do anything to resurrect good sound? - L.B., Bountiful.

Maybe, maybe not. If you want to improve the sound of the recording itself, you're out of luck. The best thing to do in that case is look for old recordings that have been digitally revamped and re-issued.If your complaint is about high-pitched scratchy sounds that are the result of age and wear and tear on the record, you may or may not be able to help that.

According to a sound engineer at Bonneville Communications, scratchiness can be dealt with to a limited degree. A recording studio would play the record and send the sound through an equalizer. The result would be an audio tape of the record with, hopefully, less-audible background noise.

The process isn't cheap. Bonneville, for instance, charges $65 an hour for the service. Furthermore, there's no guarantee. "We can't guarantee how much we can clean it up until we try it," said the engineer. "Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't."

Another suggestion: If your records are 78s, buy a record player that will play that speed.