Audio Digitizing Tip: Normalize Vinyl Tracks after you Record them

We record a ton of vinyl for our value priced Vinyl to CD Conversion services, and in our years of flipping wax, we've noted some of the small subtle deficiencies of the vinyl medium as an audio playback format. Today, we're going to highlight one of the negative side effects of Vinyl audio: Vinyl has a Steadily Decreasing Sample Rate. From our older article: The Math behind why Compact Disc’s sound better than Vinyl Records!:

Since the record plays at a steady speed, the audio fidelity (sample rate) starts to decrease from the very beginning! This is why albums tend to pack the ‘hit’ songs into the first 2 tracks of a side, in order to get the best clarity.

Normalize Audio

One of the standard tricks of the trade we do with all our audio captures, especially with Vinyl albums, is to Normalize each track after it has been cut into individual Tracks using track markers. Normalizing is a term for amplifying the audio to the maximum loudest available in the digital spectrum. Most all audio editors have this function. It will boost audio volume and perceived punch, at the small sacrifice of also equally boosting the vinyl noise and static. Since we use a software-based vinyl noise remover, most of the residual noise is already gone from our recording.

As you can see from our Animated GIF below with a typical waveform of a two-sided 12" vinyl album. We've cut the blank head and tail of each side. You can see the mountains of the 10 audio tracks. We don't manipulate our recording levels once we start recording, and you can see each side starts fairly hot and loud, and then it gets gently quieter the entire side until the last track is at nearly two thirds full volume.

We set track markers at about 1/2 second before the beginning of each song, and once all the tracks have been separated, we individually Normalize each track. This brings up the volume of all tracks to the same level, so no more adjusting your volume control!

While this tip may be a bit advanced for the typical computer user, it may save effort next time you decide to try recording your old vinyl albums for conversion to CD or MP3. Many professional audio editors may decry my use of the normalization tool as an easy fix in lieu of better ways to capture better, full-volume audio.

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