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Normalize Vs Volume increase
tinpanalley
post Jun 29 2011, 23:08
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I'm having trouble figuring out which of the two is better for me to create a vinyl recording at the highest volume without clipping.

I capture a record via my preamp into Audacity, and I get what seem to be relatively low levels even though I make sure the levels are right when I record (Peak: -6.4db, RMS -24.6db). Am I doing something wrong? Or are those levels right? These recordings don't seem as loud as mastered CDs.

Anyway, to get the most accurate sound possible, should I use normalize or just increase the volume? If normalizing makes everything sound the same at a peak level, doesn't that completely screw with the dynamic range of the music?

Thanks!
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DVDdoug
post Jun 30 2011, 01:52
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QUOTE
1. What do you recommend I do with my settings when I capture vinyl, for someone like me who is all about the purity of the sound as it is reproduced by the stylus and cartridge?
CDs are 44.1kHz, 16-bit. These settings are more than adequate for vinyl. There's no harm in using 48kHz (or higher), and if you've got a 24-bit soundcard there's no harm in recording at 24-bits.

But, don't buy-into the "audiophile nonsense" about analog vinyl having "infinite resolution". That's like saying a tape measure has infinite resolution, but a digital caliper is limited. The noise on a record (and in the preamp) limits the resolution... You can (usually) hear noise between tracks on a record, and you can tell if the record is spinning or stopped, or if the stylus is in the groove or not (especially with headphones). You can't (usually) tell if a CD is paused/stopped, because it's very quiet, and has greater dynamic range & resolution than a record.


QUOTE
2. I have Sound Forge and have decent knowledge of sound tech. Should I be using that instead of Audacity or is there some other program which would be even better? I'd rather learn a more complex program and capture my vinyl correctly than use a novice program that isn't going to reproduce sound as faithfully.
The recording software doesn't affect sound quality. It just sets-up the soundcard & driver for the proper format and routes the digital data to your hard drive.

Sound Forge may have better tools for noise reduction or other enhancements in "post production" (after you have a digital audio file on your hard drive).

The hardware is a different story. Some cheap soundcards/soundchips can generate audible noise. (Distortion and frequency response are usually not issues.) If you suspect that your soundcard is contributing noise,* you might look for a better "audio interface". You can get interfaces with line-level inputs, and a few have built-in phono preamps, which you don't need. (But, watch out for USB soundcards... Most "regular" USB soundcards only have a microphone input and line outputs, and are not suitable for high quality recording.)

* I'm talking about recording noise. If you are using your computer for playback, that could be an issue too, but you really want to avoid adding noise to the digitized recording.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Jun 30 2011, 02:05
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tinpanalley
post Jun 30 2011, 02:05
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jun 29 2011, 20:52) *
CDs are 44.1kHz, 16-bit. These settings are more than adequate for vinyl. There's no harm in using 48kHz (or higher), and if you've got a 24-bit soundcard there's no harm in recording at 24-bits.


So there's no need (getting the dbs I showed you earlier) to do any normalizing and volume increasing if what I want is the most faithful capture of sound from the record?...within reason
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Posts in this topic
- tinpanalley   Normalize Vs Volume increase   Jun 29 2011, 23:08
- - DVDdoug   Audacity's Amplify effect has an option of set...   Jun 30 2011, 00:43
|- - db1989   tinpanalley, your observation matches tracks that ...   Jun 30 2011, 12:31
- - tinpanalley   Thanks so much for the thorough reply. So, 2 quest...   Jun 30 2011, 01:06
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE 1. What do you recommend I do with my settin...   Jun 30 2011, 01:52
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jun 29 2011, 20:52) CDs ...   Jun 30 2011, 02:05
- - AndyH-ha   There is no "need" to amplify or normali...   Jun 30 2011, 02:55
- - tinpanalley   But doesn't normalizing in making all loudness...   Jun 30 2011, 03:09
|- - tropicalfish   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jun 29 2011, 21:09) ...   Jun 30 2011, 05:15
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 00:15)...   Jun 30 2011, 08:31
- - tinpanalley   Well here's what I have... I think this will h...   Jun 30 2011, 17:51
- - tropicalfish   Record with Audacity. Go to Normalize, and check O...   Jun 30 2011, 19:25
|- - db1989   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 19:25)...   Jun 30 2011, 19:43
|- - tropicalfish   QUOTE (db1989 @ Jun 30 2011, 13:43) QUOTE...   Jun 30 2011, 22:51
|- - db1989   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 22:51)...   Jul 1 2011, 13:25
- - tinpanalley   Perhaps I should have also stated that the way I r...   Jun 30 2011, 20:31
- - AndyH-ha   A recording made with proper equipment should not ...   Jun 30 2011, 20:51
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 20:51...   Jul 1 2011, 18:19
|- - musicollector   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 12:51...   Nov 28 2011, 04:30
- - tinpanalley   Ok, how about if I just control that from the phon...   Jun 30 2011, 20:55
- - mixminus1   I'll second AndyH's advice on recording bo...   Jun 30 2011, 21:01
- - tinpanalley   I basically already do what you're suggesting ...   Jun 30 2011, 21:06
- - AndyH-ha   The gain is normally set to leave plenty of headro...   Jun 30 2011, 21:24
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jun 30 2011, 16:24...   Jun 30 2011, 21:30
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE How do I know if my sound card can handle 32...   Jun 30 2011, 21:36
- - mixminus1   Audacity has the option to export to bit depths gr...   Jun 30 2011, 21:40
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (mixminus1 @ Jun 30 2011, 16:40) Of...   Jun 30 2011, 21:43
- - AndyH-ha   Audacity is FREEware. If may also be adequate for...   Jun 30 2011, 22:15
- - tinpanalley   Ok, I'm trying Sound Forge now. Aiming for -6d...   Jun 30 2011, 22:16
|- - mixminus1   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jun 30 2011, 14:16) ...   Jun 30 2011, 22:36
- - AndyH-ha   It may be true that most editors work in floating ...   Jun 30 2011, 22:25
- - tinpanalley   No, just that when I choose 32-bit (IEEE float) it...   Jun 30 2011, 22:39
- - tinpanalley   You see, that's what I thought.   Jun 30 2011, 23:05
- - tropicalfish   There are no 32-bit devices, so why use it? You mi...   Jun 30 2011, 23:22
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (tropicalfish @ Jun 30 2011, 18:22)...   Jun 30 2011, 23:52
- - tropicalfish   So you want to record in floating point, and then ...   Jul 1 2011, 01:15
- - tinpanalley   I don't really care how I record. I just wanna...   Jul 1 2011, 01:28
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE 1. What do you recommend I do with my settin...   Jul 1 2011, 01:53
- - tinpanalley   All the 24 and 32 bit stuff still has me really co...   Jul 1 2011, 04:08
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jul 1 2011, 04:08) I...   Jul 1 2011, 18:25
|- - tinpanalley   Thanks for the wonderful feedback. Just wanted to ...   Jul 1 2011, 19:51
- - AndyH-ha   There exist a continuously varying analogue signal...   Jul 1 2011, 06:06
- - AndyH-ha   QUOTE Come on Andy - think that one through proper...   Jul 1 2011, 20:36
|- - DVDdoug   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 1 2011, 12:36)...   Jul 1 2011, 22:12
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 1 2011, 22:12) We...   Jul 4 2011, 12:34
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE It's the bits I don't get.OK, I...   Jul 1 2011, 21:46
- - AndyH-ha   My experience is based on CoolEdit Statistics repo...   Jul 4 2011, 20:32
|- - 2Bdecided   I think you may think I might be being clever than...   Jul 4 2011, 23:34
- - AndyH-ha   Perhaps I am just too ignorant of what is involved...   Jul 5 2011, 08:38
- - 2Bdecided   Vinyl is an intrinsically AC-coupled format. It ha...   Jul 5 2011, 14:08
- - pdq   Think of it this way. If there is a DC offset in t...   Jul 5 2011, 16:14
- - tinpanalley   Hey all, I've been absorbing everything you g...   Jul 6 2011, 22:37
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE - 32-bit IEEE Float? - 32-bit PCM? Floating ...   Jul 7 2011, 01:34
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 6 2011, 20:34) [b]Do...   Jul 7 2011, 05:06
|- - AndyH-ha   I'm curious about this inability to record in ...   Jul 7 2011, 09:31
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 7 2011, 04:31)...   Jul 7 2011, 17:56
- - tinpanalley   This is probably like asking if there is one way t...   Jul 7 2011, 18:37
- - AndyH-ha   There are many descriptions of the process publish...   Jul 7 2011, 19:20
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 7 2011, 19:20)...   Jul 8 2011, 12:01
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Jul 8 2011, 07:01) The...   Jul 8 2011, 15:49
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE but is there any series of processes that ar...   Jul 7 2011, 20:36
- - tinpanalley   Here's a comparison of the 32-bit, higher gain...   Jul 7 2011, 21:04
- - tinpanalley   This sounds great to me as I'm hearing it even...   Jul 7 2011, 22:16
- - greynol   No you're not crazy, just know that 32 bits fo...   Jul 7 2011, 22:34
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE And normalising... if I get good levels on t...   Jul 7 2011, 23:38
|- - tinpanalley   Couple of things: QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 7 201...   Jul 7 2011, 23:48
- - greynol   No, they aren't contradictory at all. DVDdoug...   Jul 8 2011, 00:03
- - tinpanalley   Ok, my bad. I misunderstood. I have some people te...   Jul 8 2011, 00:08
|- - greynol   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Jul 7 2011, 16:08) I...   Jul 8 2011, 00:55
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Then what is the difference to just doing a ...   Jul 8 2011, 00:39
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Jul 7 2011, 19:39) But a...   Jul 8 2011, 01:57
- - AndyH-ha   The Sonic Foundry Noise Reduction plugin 2.0 has b...   Jul 8 2011, 02:46
- - greynol   I simply wanted to let you know that I respect tha...   Jul 8 2011, 02:53
- - AndyH-ha   I made an inquiry elsewhere. I got back that your ...   Jul 8 2011, 03:04
- - tinpanalley   Ohhh!!! Well, why didn't someone j...   Jul 8 2011, 07:34
- - AndyH-ha   Because Sound Forge has such an unusual approach (...   Jul 8 2011, 08:19
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 8 2011, 03:19)...   Jul 8 2011, 15:45
- - tinpanalley   This is the info from a download from the site (wh...   Jul 8 2011, 16:08
- - 2Bdecided   Nothing automatic there, just "manual click r...   Jul 8 2011, 20:30
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Is Audacity totally a lame program? Vinyl ca...   Jul 8 2011, 20:32
- - AndyH-ha   I 've paid no attention to Audacity for some y...   Jul 8 2011, 20:36
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 8 2011, 15:36)...   Jul 8 2011, 21:09
|- - greynol   Um, no, The Beatles were recorded to tape and the ...   Jul 8 2011, 21:16
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 8 2011, 16:16) Um, n...   Jul 8 2011, 22:46
||- - greynol   Denying that vinyl was the most common medium back...   Jul 9 2011, 00:07
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 8 2011, 21:16) Um, n...   Jul 9 2011, 12:30
- - Juha   Couple questions: Would normalization be more sec...   Jul 9 2011, 09:31
- - AndyH-ha   What one gets by normalization is independent of t...   Jul 9 2011, 09:40
- - tinpanalley   If I'm going through a recording process with ...   Nov 12 2011, 23:24
|- - mjb2006   Why did you bump this thread? Your question has no...   Nov 13 2011, 00:20
||- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (mjb2006 @ Nov 12 2011, 19:20) Why ...   Nov 13 2011, 05:09
|- - botface   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Nov 12 2011, 23:24) ...   Nov 13 2011, 10:24
|- - tinpanalley   QUOTE (botface @ Nov 13 2011, 05:24) by s...   Nov 13 2011, 22:24
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (tinpanalley @ Nov 13 2011, 22:24) ...   Nov 15 2011, 11:23
- - AndyH-ha   It also depends on the channel balance. Some cartr...   Nov 15 2011, 11:36
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Nov 15 2011, 11:36...   Nov 16 2011, 13:43
- - botface   Yes, I wasn't suggesting recording in mono as ...   Nov 15 2011, 17:27


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