A brief history of CEDAR products

In 1983 the British Library National Sound Archive agreed to fund a research project that would lead to the creation of the earliest PC-based audio restoration systems. Two years later, following a brief collaboration with Neve Electronics (which led directly to the earliest Neve DSP mixing desks), the Archive approached the Engineering Department at Cambridge University, offering to fund a Doctorate research project in digital audio restoration. It was the ground-breaking work in this project that, in 1987, led to the announcement of the prototype CEDAR computer. Because of the Archive's involvement this system incorporated a set of algorithms that were most suitable for restoring damaged recordings stored on decaying media such as wax, shellac, and celluloid.

The prototype was demonstrated successfully at the 1987 European AES Convention, but it was a feature on the BBC TV's "Tomorrow's World" programme that generated the greatest interest and helped to secure funding for the development of a commercially viable system.

Almost from the outset, all CEDAR processes operated in real time, providing huge advantages over methods that required the loading of hard disks followed by off-line processing. One of these advantages was the ability to 'ride' the controls, adapting the processes for varying noises within the recording... clearly impossible in an off-line process. This made CEDAR uniquely suitable for restoring tapes and soundtracks as well as 78s and cylinders.

In 1990, the first commercial CEDAR Systems incorporated dual floating-point AT&T DSPs hosted within a conventional PC. These were used to clean up thousands of old recordings for release on CD, plus many vintage movies and TV series for broadcast. Soon adopted by broadcasters, national libraries, and archives, the early 16-bit CEDAR-2 System then spawned a range of 24-bit dedicated hardware processors and the 20-bit CEDAR-20 Production System.

The DC-1 Declicker (1992) and the CR-1 Decrackler (1993) were the first of our rackmount units (retrospectively named "Series 1" modules) but these were superseded in 1994 by SERIES 2, a range that included the AZ-1 Azimuth Corrector, the latest incarnations of the DC-1 and CR-1, and the DH-2 De-hisser (1994).

In 1996 we introduced CEDAR for Windows, a PC-based restoration system that allowed users to cascade up to eight real-time processes within a single PC, or process up to sixteen tracks simultaneously. Nothing like this had ever been seen before, and CEDAR for Windows proved to be a major success, with users in all fields of professional audio.

A Macintosh equivalent appeared in September of that year, and the original CEDAR for Pro Tools (which was eventually discontinued in 2001) offered similar facilities with identical audio capabilities.

Later that year, CEDAR announced its first OEM Agreement with a Digital Audio Workstation manufacturer. Developed by CEDAR and Studio Audio and Video, SADiE DeNoise became the first CEDAR process to run on another company's hardware.

The next leap forward appeared in 1997 when we launched Series X. This is a cost-effective range of rackmount units that embodies our most frequently used algorithms in compact 1U rackmount units, each with a user-interface of unrivalled elegance and simplicity. Although designed for heavy studio use, these units are equally at home in a domestic environment.

The company concentrated on fundamental audio research throughout 1998, and developed a number of algorithms that would (and will) lead to new and better products in 1999 and afterwards. However, the first of these appeared right at the end of the year when, in 1998, we launched declick for SADiE. This revolutionary product was probably the world's first audio restoration system to offer no controls to the end-user... all processing decisions being made by the algorithm itself.

In March 1999, we released CEDAR for Windows 2, a much more powerful range of PC-based audio restoration products. With all the advantages of the original, this incorporated the latest algorithms, refined user interfaces, and more software processes than the earlier CEDAR for Windows system.

At the same time, we also released Series X+. A further development of the Series X range, these add Debuzzing and Azimuth Correction to our most popular range of products.

Then, in 1999, Soundscape Digital Technology announced the availability of CEDAR Declick for its now long-defunct SSHDR-1 and R.Ed systems. This development - although now discontinued - offered world-class audio restoration to Soundscape's users and, at the same time, placed the CEDAR name in front of a new audience of audio engineers in smaller, and project studios. Further collaborations with AMS Neve and Merging Technologies soon followed.

Removing thumps has been a holy grail for the industry but, until 1999, it has been extremely difficult (if not impossible) to do so. CEDAR dethump remedied this. Capable of removing thumps of up to 50,000 samples, it is yet another demonstration of CEDAR's ability to remain at the very forefront of audio technology.

Not all CEDAR processes are designed to restore vintage or damaged recordings. The DNS1000 (launched in 2000) was a prime example of this, and is still used for reducing background noise in live and studio recordings. Particularly suitable for post and dubbing, the DNS1000 (which was replaced by the DNS1500 in 2007) also found favour in forensic audio applications.

CEDAR's next OEM product was among its most innovative. Retouch introduced the concept of spectral editing to the world and, for the first time, allowed users to identify and manipulate sounds as varied as coughs, record scuffs, squeaky chairs, page turns, the creak of a piano pedal and even a car horn. Now in its seventh generation, its capabilities have been dramatically extended since it was announced in 2002. Meanwhile, spectral editing has become a standard tool in all manner of audio processing environments, and CEDAR has licensed the technology to many other manufacturers that now offer products based on CEDAR's patented technology.

The same year, we also launched the DNS2000 which, in response to customers' requests, made the DNS process available in an automated form specifically for Pro Tools® users. Connected to the Pro Tools host via a USB cable, the DNS2000 processor unit provided the DSP power as well as the I/O for the system, while its Remote Control Software ran on all suitable Macintosh-based Pro Tools systems and was fully integrated within the Pro Tools automation environment. Furthermore, it allowed users to control up to 126 processor units (252 channels of digital audio) simultaneously, thus making it more than adequate for the largest post installations. This was later joined by CEDAR Tools, which included Retouch and a suite of additional restoration process for Pro Tools PC. The DNS 2000 was replaced three years later by the DNS3000, and CEDAR Tools was discontinued when numerous changes to OS X and the Pro Tools environment made it unrealistic to rewrite it, and latterly replaced by CEDAR Studio.

In 2004, advances in hardware technology made it possible to replace the three models in the Series X range with two new CEDAR Duo rackmounts - the DDC 'declickle' (which removed both clicks and crackle) and the DDH auto dehiss, both of which offered significantly better performance than their predecessors. These were to prove to be two of the company's most enduring products, and were manufactured for more than twelve years.

Another of the company's most enduring products, the DNS1500, was also in production for twelve years. When it was finally discontinued in 2019, it marked the end of the era for manually controlled DNS units. The DNS1000, DNS1500 and DNS3000 had defined zero-latency noise suppression for nearly 20 years, but the advent of the Learn algorithm and remote control via IP meant that their time had passed.

Note: Current CEDAR products may not be mentioned in this history.

Simple to use. Real-time. Effective. CEDAR.