Your Vinyl Transfer Workflow (sharing best needledrop practices)*

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Vocalpoint, May 11, 2011.

  1. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    The sample was very noisy in LF and HF ranges. Very loud and distorted too. Ears killer.

    1. I reduced the true peaks to -12dB to hear clear what is it about. Usually, the professional audio processing is made at -12dB.

    2. I used the first 0.5 sec of your sample, a pattern of the heavy noise, in iZotope Spectral De-noise learning. The reduction level was found by trial-and-error with "output noise only" to not lose the music data. The goal was to push the residual noise beyond the audible range, at -80 dB.

    [​IMG]

    3. After the sample cleaning, I used A high pass filter at 20 Hz order 4 (-24 dB per octave) to remove the rumble.

    4. I used a low pass filter at 20 KHz order 1 (-6 dB per octave) to remove the HF noise, following the pink noise curve.

    5. I rebalanced the bass, mid and treble bands with "Oxford EQ" VST (steps 3 and 4 too). Max 1 dB changes at a time, better 0.5 dB. This is the best EQ i found so far, following the Steve (our host) suggestion.

    6. Finally I boosted the sound to -18 LUFS. I dont use the -0.01dB BS method like in the over-clipped cheap CDs.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. miguelfcp

    miguelfcp Member

    Location:
    Portugal

    Thank you so much!

    When I have a free time I'll try by myself!

    Thank you once again!
     
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  3. miguelfcp

    miguelfcp Member

    Location:
    Portugal
    Finally had some time to try this and to be honest I couldn't understand and how to make this point. I select the first 0.50 seconds, learn the profile and apply it to all data and in the end there is no sound... Can you help me understand more please?
     
  4. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    Maybe untick the "Output noise only" in Spectral De-noise?
     
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  5. miguelfcp

    miguelfcp Member

    Location:
    Portugal
    Yep that was the problem xD Thank you!

    One more question, when you apply high/low pass filter is with rx7 software? If yes how you configure the de-hum profile because I can't apply only filter options
     
  6. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    I apply the high/low pass filters with Adobe Audition 3.0. It's more precise than iZotope RX and full of subtle options.

    I use the RX De-hum function only for removal of DC offset (everything else disabled). I remove the hum with Spectral De-noise, learning the first seconds of the recording, with the TT running and the tonearm in the OFF position.
     
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  7. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    Location:
    United States
    I've been testing out the intelligent settings, whatever they call it in RX 7, and it has helped in a couple of cases, but I always have to dial back the settings.
     
  8. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    I am reading this thread, as "a needledrop curious", and I have questions to masters of this craft. A lot of discussions dedicated to de-noising and de-clicking. But is it possible to digitize without it? Simply record "as is", split on songs (or even that not sure how necessary) and done with it? If I satisfied with sound of my records - are all those manipulations needed? It is not a rhetorical question - I simply do not know the answer. How much worse simple recording of NM record then actual record, are those pops in clicks somehow amplified by digitizing process?
     
  9. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    Yes
    No
     
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  10. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    The very $$$ expensive audio systems, audiophile quality, include dedicated hardware for the on-the-fly de-noising, de-clicking, EQ balancing, high/low pass filtering and so on.

    The quality processed needle drops are the cheap alternative to listen the music at about same quality, from the consumer grade range or from the old, worn vinyl records. Not everyone has the financial power to pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their audio systems. By the other hand, the making of needle drops is a hobby like any other, which gives you satisfaction.

    I found on YT some wav 44/16 files of very good listening experience (audiophile like standards) and after a in-depth looking I figured out they included even pink noise into their samples and other subtle mastering tricks to enhance the audition quality.

    IMHO the "as-is" needle drops are nonsense. As if you were walking on the street with a dirty car.

    My $0.02.
     
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  11. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Interesting opinion.
    I was thinking on preserving some expensive records from wear and tear. Or sell some very pricey collectables to buy more records of ordinary price.
    But looks like there way more..
     
  12. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    BTW, what version of IZotope you guys are using? RX 7 Standard or Advanced?
     
  13. Lucca90

    Lucca90 Forum Resident

    Location:
    SouthAmerica
    If you are satisfied with the sound of your records and you have a good ADC, there is no need to apply post-processing like de-noise o de-clicking if you don't want to IMO.
    Normally I only remove clicks and pops manually and normalize to a -3 nothing else.
    Low frequencie distorsion like hum and rumble should not be a problem if you have good equipment.
    Usually hum is inaudible if the recording is made in a Hi-Res format, it only becomes audible if the original waveform is resampled to a compressed o lossy format like mp3 IME.
     
  14. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    Location:
    United States
    Of course.

    But, the lot of us like to restore the vinyl to it's pristine state. Most of the stuff we are doing here is from records that are not new out of the slip case. We don not want clicks and surface noise. Some, like me, want to remove the impositions of the vinyl format and its playback artifacts. Some of us are very sensitive to these things and want them gone. Some people are oblivious to the noise.

    But, if you just want a straight transfer with warts and all, go at it. There are no rules to this. That's what makes it fun.
     
  15. Robert C

    Robert C Sound Archivist

    Location:
    London, UK
    Always a good idea to keep the flat transfer as well as restoration software will improve with time.
     
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  16. It is so important to keep the flat file. At some point you will want to revisit that needledrop and having the "master" file saves you time and effort.
     
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  17. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    For me for the longest time outside of mostly manual declicking and normalize I was doing nothing. Recently I started denoising and was keeping 2 files and after countless attempts to hear a defect from the denoise I stopped keeping the 2 files.
    Outside of that with my periodic upgrades I end up recording most my records again anyhow so what's the use. After I demo my next converter if I get it I think I will start keeping a copy of the declicked file before normalize and denoise.
     
  18. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    I learned by personal experiments that the best practice to reduce the PCM quantization noise from conversions is to record the PCM at multiples of 44.1 KHz . So 88.2 KHz or 176.4 KHz. In this way the downsampling decimation process fit better and is uniform applied along the file. The usual 96 KHz and 192 Khz WAVs downsampled to 44.1 KHz make more quantization noise.
     
  19. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Making a recording of a record, you can certainly just record the LP with high-quality equipment, and playback will sound like you are playing the record again.

    However, if you are taking the time to digitize a record that will be filed away and only the recording played, you'd take the time to make the best recording you can. That starts with a full cleaning of the record, with record cleaning machine, rinse, or even a wood glue peeling to get it as clean as it would ever be. Your turntable gets a stylus cleaning - a dip in the magic eraser or other cleaning technique, and you use a newer stylus than you might for casual record plays. Then finally, you record it silently and without footfalls, so you don't get feedback from the speakers or other vibrations in your recording.

    That's good enough to enjoy, you've made an archive that is better than a casual playing, and discovered if your record has flaws that might warrant another trip to the record store.

    Then we can make it better than playing an LP can ever be - by restoration.

    Digital restoration is somewhat like peeling an onion - you fix things a layer at a time, conservatively, so you are removing flaws in the vinyl medium itself, and finally, even overcoming limitations in your equipment.

    Proceeding through layers of potential faults:

    1. Turntable tonearm resonance and rumble - a high-pass, or subsonic, filter, to remove these generally inaudible noises that can sap power from your amplifier and flutter your speakers.
    2. Clicks and pops - The biggest annoyance of vinyl. Depending on your enthusiasm, this can be just a macro with an automated click-remover, or even manual healing of clicks using a spectrum analyzer view to identify them even below easy perception, and several techniques to patch the faults.
    3. Surface noise - the noise of the needle being drawn over even silent vinyl. Different formulations and pressings have this to different degrees. Usually removed by capturing a sound signature of a silent section of vinyl or combining multiple silences, and applying a correction to the program material. This should be done conservatively, as it can not only sound artificial to have a harsh noise gate, but also can add metallic undertones where once there was analog static.
    4. Equalization - If you know your equipment has certain shortcomings in the frequency response that affect all recordings, you can tweak them here. A reference grade studio stylus might have come with actual calibration measurements back in the day; reviews of your phono preamp might show its characteristics; or you might know that that your phono loading creates valleys and dips.
    5. Restoration - Now we get into the recording itself - can you do a better job than the mastering engineer at making it sound good, or sound like the rest of your collection? This can start by identifying the flaws - tape noise, channel imbalance, phasing problems from head alignment (which can come from several generations of tape copies before the LP), and refining techniques to bring the musicians into your living room. This is probably beyond what most will do for a personal recording, except for one's most-loved pressings that even the CD fails to capture the essence.
    6. "Mastering" - making the final file to be enjoyed. This can be downsampling to a reasonable bitrate such as 48/16 corresponding to what you can hear, and setting the levels so that it appears as loud as others in your collection, or "normalizing" so it is just under the maximum recording level of digital. Then saving to the file format of choice, WAV, FLAC, or additional MP3 copies for portable players.
     
  20. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    Location:
    United States
    Yes, Restoration tools are improving all the time, along with your skill and preferences.

    What's interesting is that I sometimes listen to something I did 10-15 years ago and think I can do an even better job today with different software and techniques. So, I go back to the same vinyl record and redo the whole thing. Then, once I finish my remaster, I compare it to the old one, and often find that they are almost identical. Of course, one may have better bass or soundstage, or whatever, but sometimes the difference is so tiny that it is a waste of time. But, I have to find out. Sometimes i'll even keep the old mastering over the new one.
     
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  21. Grant

    Grant Now let that bass fall in! Oh yeah!

    Location:
    United States
    I would counter that SRC is so good today that it doesn't really matter if I use 96k instead of 88.2k.
     
  22. FrankieP

    FrankieP Forum Resident

    This!
     
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  23. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Thank you so much for such detailed reply! I am not sure I will ever move into Restoration and Mastering realms as I never was an audio engineer and I have plenty of space on my NAS for all my records in any hi-riz format... Clicks and pops I kind of get. surface noise not sure. Every needledrop I heard with "surface noise reduction" simply did not sound right to my ears. But may be they, as you said, used too aggressive technique.
    Recording silently is an interesting idea, but some people believe that interactions between soundwaves from speakers and turntable-arm-cart create euphonic effect, pleasant to ears )). I do not know if it is true. Wonder if someone compared needledrops made silently and with sound.
    As of preparation - I do it anyway, even when listening casually )).
     
  24. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    The best de-noising method to have an analog like sound:

    1. Record the needledrop in DSD 5.6 MHz.
    2. Convert DSD to WAV 384/24-bit with the Tascam app (TEAC Hi-Res Editor).
    almost all noise from the 20-20000 Hz range was moved above 50 KHz
    3. Apply a linear phase brickwall at 50 KHz for remove the above huge HF, UHF noise between 60-192 KHz.
    4. Sum the L+R channels (stereo to mono) in the 0-30 Hz range to remove rumble but keep the sound.

    Now the sound is awesome and very analog!

    UPDATE: You need a powerful PC to make this and minimum a PCM4202 ADC chip for recording.

    After this, make the usual operations: the TT de-noise, the stylus-on-Vinyl de-noise, de-click, etc. The final product can be downsampled to whatever format you like.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  25. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Location:
    Romania
    A 1:30 min. sample from a needledrop ("Foreigner - Waiting for a Girl Like You") made from a VG+ 1981 original LP.
    wav 96/24, DR12, peak -5.13 dB, RMS -21.42 dB, LUFS 21.7.

    Dropbox - test.wav - Simplify your life
     

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