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Recording from LPs


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I am recording from LP records to my computer. Some of the LP's have scratches, pops, static, etc. Is there a way to reduce this, either by doing something to the record itself, or by processing the sound afterwards?


I have a Mac G5 computer, and use Garageband to do the recording.



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Well, there are a couple of stages to getting the best results.


First off, clean as much dust and dirt as you can off the disk itself. There is lots of debate about the best way to do this--personally I'm a fan of the simplest way which is to use a soft, lint-free cloth and distilled water. Wipe the disk in a gentle circular motion (i.e. follow the grooves) then let the disk dry naturally before playing. This should help out with some of the background noise and dust-related clicks.


However, the big part of the processing has to be done with software and, since you're a Mac user, I can't be much use to you. The key words to search Google on are "click and pop removal" and "noise reduction" but beyond that I'll leave it to Mac experts to advise.


Well, one additional thought. If, on your Mac, you run a dual boot system with Windows (Bootcamp or whatever) you could download the 28 day free trial of Adobe Audition which is what I use. It has about the best click and noise removal algorithm of anything short of specialist tools like Cedar--I know a fellow in Switzerland who has won awards for his work on old disks and he uses Audition too.



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There are a few bits of software to do this..


I think I had an old version of: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw...p;category_oid=


(although I seem to remember paying a lot less for an older version).


It allowed you to do the recording, noise removal, track markers and CD burn in one program. I'm sure there is an equivilent for your Mac around!



Much simplier than trying to import using one program, clean with another, do track markers with another, then burn in nero.

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I suppose it depends on what level of quality the OP wants to achieve (and perhaps I should have asked). If the goal is simply to do the transfer as easily as possible and get a bit of generic noise reduction then the "all in one" solution might work (if a Mac version can be found.


If, on the other hand, quality is a consideration then no "one size fits all" software will ever do the job. In my previous post, I mentioned a person who does vinyl restoration for a living...and his copies are then re-released in CD form. If you read THIS THREAD from another forum you'll see that, in reply number 11, he gives away some of his trade secrets. You'll see that it's very much a manual, hands on procedure.


Because this thread was posted here in the Blue Room I jumped to the conclusion that the OP wanted professional results...but assumptions are always dangerous. If this is just for domestic use then the simple solution might be best...but perhaps this shouldn't be a BR topic.



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I'd agree with Bobbsy that Adobe Audition is probably one of the best programs around for audio restoration at a reasonable price. Apparently Izotope's RX is possibly slightly better and the Cedar tools are almost certainly better but I don't know of anything for the Mac that can beat it. I've heard samples of Bias' Soundsoap and Waves X-Noise software and felt that they didn't work anywhere near as well as Audition.


I would also agree that setting up your cartridge (getting the tracking weight right and using a good stylus) together with clean discs are just as important as what software you use.





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Remember also to keep your recording level low!


While we all aim for that lovely 0dB mark when recording using analogue equipment, that's exactly where digital audio begins to fall to pieces! It's far easier to increase the level of the audio file once it's in your computer than it is to fix any issues as a result of clipping.


As a now committed Ableton user, I've got over 10,000 vinyl records to transfer to WAV and I've found that keeping the recording input level to around -6dB leaves me plenty of scope for mastering and normalising to achieve the best possible digital reproduction of all my discs.


Also, don't use a felt "dj style" slipmatt - use the big heavy rubber ones!!

The last thing you want is the disc slipping (even slightly) on the platter, you WILL notice those little slips after recording.

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If you're only wanting a satisfactory result, as opposed to a 'perfect' result, try just using Nero!


In most purchased versions (not the free bundled versions) you get Nero Wave Editor. Simply record the vinyl in this (at whatever sampling rate and quality you like), and then you can apply a noise reduction filter, which can be an automatically generated, or manually set. You can then apply a pop filter, scratch filter, stereo widening, normalisation (peak or RMS).....

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I thank you all for your suggestions. I will try as many as I can. I have just downloaded Audacity for Mac, and will try that first. I will also try at the earliest possible date the suggestion for the best way of washing a record. It is not intuitively obvious what is the best way, and I was afraid of using a product or method that would cause damage to the records.


I had no idea that keeping the recording level low would be of value, but I am going to experiment with that as well.


I cannot run the Adobe Audition or Nero software on my Mac G5. Only the newest Macs with the dual core Intel processor can run Windows at an acceptable speed. It appears that I might be able to try Ableton. I will get the free trial when I have a block of time to devote to this, since the free trial is only for 7 days. The price of US $499 puts it out of my reach as a hobbyist. I am not a sound professional, nor am I attempting to create a product for sale. I just want to put music from my old vinyl records onto my computer so I can put it on my iPod and enjoy it.


I would be interested in knowing how I would "get the tracking weight right." My turntable is a Technics SL-D35, and my cartridge is an Audio Technica PM9000, both of which are apparently long outdated. There is an anti-skating control, which is set at about 1.27. There is also a knob at the back end of the arm, which I assume may be the tracking weight, and is set at about 0.8. These settings were put on the turntable long ago, perhaps even at the time I bought it (probably early 80s). On those LP records I have that are in good shape, the sound seems right to me, but as I said, I am not a professional.


The slipmat on the turntable appears to be rubber, but I see no markings on it to identify it as such. It definitely is not felt. I have not noticed any slippage.


I do not know how I would replace the stylus, or whether I need to. The present stylus seems to work well on records that are in good shape. I tried to remove the cartridge itself. There is a screw at the side of it, but even when unscrewed to the maximum possible, I cannot dislodge the cartridge, and I am a bit afraid of damaging it by using excessive force.


As far as my present software is concerned, Garageband has many filters on it, and little documentation. I have fiddled with a few filters, but have found nothing that sounds right. Perhaps someone has a suggestion of a filter and setting that might be useful for my goal of reducing pops and static, or information that none of these are appropriate. These are the filters available:


Treble reduction

Bass reduction



Bit Crusher

Automatic Filter (sliders for frequency, resonance, intensity, speed)

Track Echo





Auto Wah

Amp Simulation (sliders for pre-gain, low, mid, high, presence, master, output level, buttons for British Gain, British Clean, American Gain, American Clean)

Zimple Gate


















Once again, thanks for all your help!!!



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Tracking (or anti-skate) and weight should be set up the same regardless of application (recording or DJing):


Put cartridge and stylus on tone-arm.


Add weight to back end of tone-arm.


Adjust weight until the tone-arm "floats" level, THEN set the dial on the weight to "0" - be careful not to turn the actual weight when doing this.


Then turn the entire weight, adding downard pressure on the tone-arm, until it meets a balance between being in the groove and wearing through it!!


If you wish to set anti-skate or tracking the best way is to find a blank disc (one sided 12" is ideal) and put the needle on it, If it moves towrads centre then negative anti-skate is required, if it moves away from the centre then positive anti-skate is needed. If it stays still then no anti-skate is needed. Anti-skate should not be adjusted until you have set the tone-arm height (if applicable) and weight.


NEVER listen to anyone who tells you that the weight should always be 3.5g - they are unskilled DJ's who are wearing through records faster than necessary - it should be set to what is necessary for the needle to hold the groove and no more.


If you find that recordings lack low end, then slighlty add more weight until the sound is as required - the lower frequencies are lower down in the groove of the vinyl - this is why unskilled DJ's believe in banging full weight on straight away, it "boosts" the low end pickup (and bugs the t*ts off the engineer!).


When choosing carts and stylii, stay away from the Shure M447 - they are for "turntablist" DJ's only and WILL cause uneccessary damage to your vinyl.

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If you wish to set anti-skate or tracking the best way is to find a blank disc (one sided is ideal).
This is the correct way to set the anti-skate (bias) if and only if you plan on playing blank discs. If you plan on playing records with grooves that have music in them, set the anti-skate as the manufacturer recommends (with most, you turn the dial to the same setting as the tracking force).
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And once you've done this and found that you are picking up one side of the groove more than the other, thus affecting the frequency response of the stylus, you can then go back and do it with a blank disc - to ensure that your anti-skate settings have not been compromised by a unique and individually cut record!!


The whole point of setting up a tone-arm is to ensure that there is NO uneccessary force applied to the stylus, either vertically or horizontally. By using a blank vinyl disc you can see if the tone-arm has a natural pull either outwards or inwards and you can use the anti-skate to compensate for that - ensuring that any further horizontal motion of the stylus is from the groove of the playing record itself, which maintains the truest and most natural frequency response.

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Not correct. The sideways force on the stylus (and thus the arm) is different depending upon whether the disc is blank, has un-modulated grooves, or has grooves with music cut in the discs. Furthermore, the force varies depending upon the groove's modulation at any given moment - IOW antiskate (bias) is always a compromise. The setting that one arrives at when testing with a blank disc or an unmodulated groove is quite far off of what is correct for a disc with music. IME most arm makers do a pretty good job of calibraiting their antiskate controls. Set the tracking force, set the anti-skate knob to the same setting, and you have the best compromise possible. (Call Linn and see what they have to say about it.)
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