orgelspieler writes "NPR is running a story on a safe way to reproduce sound from ancient phonographs that would otherwise be unplayable. The system, called IRENE, was installed in the Library of Congress last year. It can be used to replay records that are scratched, worn, broken, or just too fragile to play with a needle. It scans the groves optically and processes them into a sound file at speeds approaching real time. IRENE is great at removing pops and skips, but can add some hiss. Researchers are also working on a 3D model that is better at removing hiss."