Opinions on editing software for digitized vinyl 'cleanup'

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by hacksaw99, Oct 18, 2020 at 12:15 PM.

  1. hacksaw99

    hacksaw99 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Many years ago I used to use (Sonic Foundry, then Sony) SoundForge software for audio editing. However, it's not installed on any of my currently-functioning computers.

    What I need audio software for is taking vinyl LP's that I've digitized using a Tascam DV-RA1000HD, mostly at 88KHz/24 bit (full LP sides as one contiguous wav file (I have no choice in wav file as output)), and doing a couple things: (Note: I think the wav files the Tascam creates are actually bwf files, but that doesn't affect the ability to read or play them as standard wav files)

    1) Trim the lead-in of each wav file (representing a full album side) so it fades in from silence to full gain fairly immediately before any musical content starts. It's hit or miss when digitizing vinyl, when you hit the record button, versus where the needle lands in the lead-in groove; sometimes 10 seconds of silence)

    2) Trim the lead-out of each wav file (representing a full album side) so it fades out from the end of the last song on the LP side, to silence.

    In SoundForge, the way this was done is you first bring up the wav file, then you can expand the time scale so you can visually see/pick/hear where the actual music content begins or ends. Then it had a gain overlay, generally at 100% during the music portion, and you could manually adjust the taper in/out duration from 0 to 100% or 100 to 0%, to accomplish fade in or out. Is this a pretty standard capability in any audio software, all done essentially the same way?

    So at this point (after saving the wav file post-trimming) I would have edited wav files representing each digitized album side, with properly trimmed and faded start and end, but all the rest of the wav file is unaltered.

    Eventually I'd also like to split out each individual song from the album side via software, with a similar fade in/out applied to each one, and create separate wav files for each song. In SoundForge, doing that was a subset of the above capabilities, and I'm guessing that's the case for any other audio editing software?

    Also note, I do want to keep archival wav versions of all these files in case I want to reload onto the Tascam (it only accepts wav files), but for my digital music system I'll be converting all these wav files to FLAC (using dBPoweramp or whatever).

    So I see Sound Forge is still around, now owned by Magix, and there's a regular and a pro version. However, it's been so many years since I last used it, and it's not installed on my current computer, I probably have no good reason to need to continue using it.

    Does Sound Forge (I'd only buy the regular, not the Pro version) have any particular advantage over something like Audacity?

    Audacity is apparently free but I have never used it, so I don't know if it's *really* free or includes various ads, spyware, etc as the price for being free. Any comments on that would be appreciated.

    Is there some other free audio editing software I should consider too? (Windows 10)
  2. JohnQVD

    JohnQVD is adjusting to having a fully manual turntable

    Buffalo, NY
    Audacity will do all of this and it’s free. The interface is a little different than Sound Forge, but it’s not that hard to use once you learn it. It’s not my regular editor, but it’s a reasonably full-featured basic editor for stereo or multitrack work.

    That’s all I have for free. I use iZotope RX7 Standard for transfers because I need the cleanup tools. But I will occasionally kick up Audacity if I need to do some time stretching or a long fade or something that it does well.
    stetsonic, BuddhaBob and Gaslight like this.
  3. Gaslight

    Gaslight ⎧⚍⎫⚑

    Northeast USA
    I've been using Audacity for the better part of a decade now. It's open source so no spyware.

    And then for pops/clicks I still use ClickRapair which was a one-time cost of I think 45 bucks? It's been a while. Only issue with CR is that it's a java program so you need to install a JRE....it will work with open source variants however if one wants to avoid an Oracle Java installation.
    stetsonic and BuddhaBob like this.
  4. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    Audacity is fine to trim either the lead-in or the lead out. You just highlight what you want deleted then delete it. There's nothing magical about this. As far as the file you need to use, it's always the waveform file. You don't encode until after the edits are done. I think you can taper the file, and I might have messed with this for a while. But simple trimming by deletion works fine.

    Creating each individual track file done by highlighting from the end of the track and dragging to the beginning for the file. Then you paste the cut to new file. This method preserves the track gaps as cut to the vinyl. I've used ClickRepair for about 20 years, it's solid but it's not cheap. It used to be, but it's worth it. I always did all the work with ClickRepair as a single file for each side, then I split the track. When you first get ClickRepair, start manually doing things. Then experiment with the automation. Once you get the automation dialed in, it goes fast. But don't trust the automation until you're very comfortable with your settings.
  5. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    I use VinylStudio. Processed almost 700 lps over the past 1.5 yrs.
    Real easy and interfaces well with Discogs.
    I've only used its integrated click repair on maybe 50 lps with nice results (none of my lps are real bad, though).
    I think it was $30. Could be an option for you.
    Galactus2 likes this.
  6. formbypc

    formbypc Forum Resident

    Again, Audacity.
  7. formbypc

    formbypc Forum Resident


    My method is to create labels at the beginning of each track (Ctrl+B), typing what I want as the track title in the label.

    Once all is done, I use the Export Multiple option to export the (Audacity) project to FLAC. This creates a set of FLAC files based on the labels I have inserted into the project.

    This also preserves the track gaps as recorded from the vinyl.

    The OP seems to want silence between tracks, so it sounds like he will highlight a few microseconds of silence after Track 1, apply a fade, create a few microseconds of fade up to beginning of Track 2, then delete the record noise that results between the end/start points of the fade ....
    stetsonic and BuddhaBob like this.
  8. formbypc

    formbypc Forum Resident

    If you want to retain the duration of the gap between tracks as per the original vinyl, you may want to consider fading out/in, and reducing the level of the audio between the fades, without cutting the between-fade section out of the audio file.

    If you cut each track at the ends of the fades, and you have really short fades, then on playback, you'll have one track virtually running into the other; which will not sound like the original vinyl.
  9. BuddhaBob

    BuddhaBob Forum Resident

    Erie, PA, USA
    As others have mentioned, Audacity to trim the WAV at 96/24. I also do a very quick fade up/fade down at each end, about ⅓ second, unless it's audible content that spans to the next track. Before converting to FLAC, I'll look through for any major spikes to snip, then ClickRepair at fairly low settings for the crackle and small pops.
  10. hacksaw99

    hacksaw99 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    The "split tracks" feature linked to Discogs in Vinyl Studio looks to be a real time saver (see: VinylStudio - Split your Recordings into Tracks ). I'm not sure if Audacity has something comparable.

    If I understand correctly, I'd open 2 wav files representing side1 and side 2 of a recorded LP, look up the album title with the built-in Discogs online lookup tool, pick the version that matches the track listing of what I've recorded, import that, and it automatically places the track breakpoints based on the listed track duration, and auto-populates the track name fields and other metadata. Then you go in and fine-tune the track break point markers, add fade-in and/or fade-out manually, then save as individual tracks where the track names and other metadata are included in the saved files. That sound about right?

    I was originally going to save the tracks as wav files, and then convert to FLAC, but on second thought, if I go with VinylStudio, because of its auto-retrieved metadata, it's probably better if I save the tracks to FLAC initially (better metadata support compared to wav), and only convert the FLAC back to wav if I need to load the tracks to my Tascam.

    However, it's not entirely clear if the trial version has limitations on this process, and the user base seems quite small if I do run into issues. With Audacity there are loads of users. Also it seems I'd need to buy the pro version ($50 vs $30 for regular version) but that might be OK if the time savings are really there vs Audacity.
  11. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    Pretty sure it does not. I use Audacity for the bulk of my needledropping process. It's only weakness, in my view, is that it lacks robust tools for noise reduction. Many people like iZotope Ozone for this, but it is not free.
    It's never that easy. Your splitpoints are not going to match a CD database though they should be close. The Audacity "CTRL-B" and "Export multiple" procedure described above works well.
  12. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Portland, Oregon
    Another piece of software that I like is Wavelab Elements. It's not free -- about $100. It's considered mastering software, meaning it works with two channels only. I looked at Audacity briefly and found the Wavelab seemed simpler to me, easier to operate. It has many features for editing two-channel sound, including some for processing LP transfers. You might take a look at it.
    c-eling likes this.
  13. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    I can relay a bit more about what I do in VS..
    I use a Denon digital recorder and generally create a single wav file for entire lp.
    I only generate 16/44 files now.
    Trim, declick with VS. Track breaks work best with quiet lps and lengthy spaces, but parameters can be modified. Very often need to create manual track breaks...still really easy, esp. if you know your lp well.
    With Discogs matching, need to be cognizant of which album is selected regarding tracks and album covers.
    I can usually process an lp in 5-10 min. more when i need to type in tracks manually (e.g., 2nd album of a two album set...).. I save as ALAC and use itunes (apple music) for library building, and XLD for conversions (eg, FLAC for the car), when necessary.
    I did try Audacity initially, but tried and much preferred the VS path. It’s just a hobby for me, but VS has really been enjoyable to use. Like any software, you get very proficient and efficient, and VS does what I need easily.
    ...That was long and boring, but have fun.

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