Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

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xenomorph313
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Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by xenomorph313 » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:26 am

Just picked up a Vinyl-to-MP3 turntable and am trying to get a decent recording out of audacity, for the purpose of exporting MP3s. I have just been selecting all (the entire recorded track) and performing a compression, normalize, and then a bass boost (12 db). It's still not sounding as well as other MP3's I own. Suggestions?

BTW, I'm mainly looking to improve the quality of the high-hats and the bass drum (of course) without overly-distorting the bass drum.
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by Solderman » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:27 pm

I'm to understand that most record player amps have an internal EQ process that reverses the one performed when mastered to vinyl. The bass, for instance, can only be so loud or the stylus can jump out of the groove.
Perhaps your player doesn't have this?

If you have to boost ANY subset of the audio spectrum by 12db, then something did not record correctly. It sounds like you need a better quality sound card and/or player. And it's always better to cut EQ bands, then raise the volume of the recording, if possible.
The best way to prevent digital clipping during mastering is to try your best to keep the ceiling below -6db, so you should never normalize first. Rather, scan the song's peaks, and change the volume so this value is somewhere near -6. Also, never run the compressor/limiter process until the very end. It helps to have your speaker volume control handy, and turn it up some while mastering at this lower level.

That said, alot of vinyl doesn't sound like CD quality anyway, simply because the master wasn't that great to begin with. When I put all of my 12 inch dance music to vinyl, I used an EQ plugin called "Free Filter", which gives you an EQ template you create from a good quality reference recording, then the plugin will scan the entire song and alter the EQ so it matches your template. Without that, you would probably need to re-EQ every recording that still sounds unsatisfactory, and every single one of them will be different, so it will take ages.

On a side note, audible vinyl pops show up in an audio editor as a single large triangular or sawtooth like shape. I used the pencil in Sound Forge to "erase" them one at a time, during my restoration, but that's a little more zealous than some would want to go. There are great vinyl noise removal programs, like Steinberg Clean.
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by Ghost of Crow » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:28 am

Treat it exactly as if you were recording your own synths. You do record?
In any recording process to digital, the weakest link, a shitty turntable? A terrible sample rate? is the best you can EVER hope for.
use a shitty turntable, get a shitty end whatever.
You alone can make it worse along the way.
Almost all Hi-Fi amps will take the signal from the turntable, via usually the aux or tape in sockets and put it straight to your digital soundcard. Just a big pre-amp.
The cards sample rate, ADS, etc will convert that to 1's and 0's. How good they are depends again on the ADC process and software used to record and or further process.
Ohh and if your doing MP3's. your as well just firing it into the inbuilt souncard, use the highest quality it can provide and use Audacity to convert to MP3 using Lame or such. You can do so much more but why bother too much when the output is so restricted?
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by JSRockit » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:41 pm

I would imagine the Vinyl-to-MP3 turntable is to blame (converters)... is it USB and cheap?
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:):)

Post by multipackvitamin » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:42 am

:):)
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by xenomorph313 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:23 pm

JSRockit wrote:I would imagine the Vinyl-to-MP3 turntable is to blame (converters)... is it USB and cheap?
Yes, it was rather cheap, and USB. It's a GRACE, sort of an off-brand I think.

Now just use the turntable to play my vinyls on, just for the sake of BEING ABLE to play vinyls. I've decided to try converting my CD's to MP3's instead, using a Phillips brand standard CD player. I kept the ceiling below -6 DB (Used the Bass Drum, as the reference point since thats the loudest sound). Some of the tracks turned out really well, however, others seem to either not have enough bass, or have so much that I have to turn my speaker down to keep it from distorting (vibration).

I didnt get a chance apply the normalize and compression yet, though, so time will tell.

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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by Villi » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:42 pm

Why not just rip the tracks from the cds? :S

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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by xenomorph313 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:14 am

Villi wrote:Why not just rip the tracks from the cds? :S
Yes, that's what I'm in the process of doing. I'm going from 1/8" output of CD player to 1/8" input of my soundcard.

I didnt realize you have to keep that waveform view window up while you save each project tho, so I have to record from scratch, AGAIN! arggg... :roll:
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:49 am

xenomorph313 wrote:
Villi wrote:Why not just rip the tracks from the cds? :S
Yes, that's what I'm in the process of doing. I'm going from 1/8" output of CD player to 1/8" input of my soundcard.

I didnt realize you have to keep that waveform view window up while you save each project tho, so I have to record from scratch, AGAIN! arggg... :roll:
Have you considered putting the CD into the computer and copying the digital information directly to the computer in faster-than-real-time? That's what people refer to as 'ripping'.

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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by RobotHeroes » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:19 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:Have you considered putting the CD into the computer and copying the digital information directly to the computer in faster-than-real-time?
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Re-recording a mastered CD into a computers built in sound card to then manually separating each track and then EQ'ing and normalizing...makes perfect sense.
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by xenomorph313 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:31 pm

Villi wrote:Why not just rip the tracks from the cds? :S
I read an article online that states copyrighted CD's have a built-in technology that prevents CD copying (CAMEL)?From what I read the end result of the digital copy ends up being less than mediocre quality.

Maybe this is only pertains to certain CD's?
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by skweeegor » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:05 pm

They have protection that prevents you from just copying the tracks straight off the cd, but you can get a program that will copy the digital information and convert it to mp3 on the fly. Technically, yes the quality can be lower if you're converting to mp3, but that's a bit of an exaggeration as with high bitrates the difference is near impossible to hear and you always have the option of converting to an uncompressed format like FLAC. Sounds like you either misinterpreted something or the article was fearmongering.

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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by pricklyrobot » Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:33 pm

xenomorph313 wrote:Maybe this is only pertains to certain CD's?
Correct, and relatively few actually have it. Some possible reasons why it never really caught on can be gleaned from these articles: Copy Protection, Sony-BMG Scandal

If you're unlucky enough to own a copy-protected disc though, as skweeegor pointed out, it's pretty easily gotten around.

Regarding the original topic, Wave Repair is an excellent and reasonably priced ($30 USD) program specifically designed for vinyl-to-PC recording and clean-up.
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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by Tchammosaur » Thu May 20, 2010 5:55 pm

You might be looking for a subharmonic synthesizer. These are specifically meant to restore bass frequencies that were eliminated during recording or transfer. For example, the DBX 120X-DS..

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Re: Best way to touch-up Vinyl recordings in Audacity?

Post by sqweebking » Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:21 am

Try applying the RIAA standard eq curve in audacity, its my understanding that vinyl is pressed in a way that requires a specific eq setting, boosting the low end and cutting some high end.

Im not an expert but I can pretend to be:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization

Then perhaps try your compression.

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