Adjusting the volume before recording from vinyl...

Hello everyone,

I’m a newbie here, so apologies if this has been asked before - I have searched the site and haven’t been able to find an answer.

Anyway, I’ve been using Audacity for sometime to record vinyl off my ion turntable and onto my PC, via the USB link.

It’s been going very well, but the problem I’ve always had is determining the volume of the recording. When I listed back to my recordings on my ipod, sometimes the recordings end up being too low or too high (even with the sound adjustment thingy turned on).

Obviously, there can be a lot of difference of the volume between a 7" single and an album.

Annoyingly, my ion turntable doesn’t have an easily accessible volume dial. It does have a volume gain dial, which is helpfully underneath the turntable. Which makes it quite hard to obtain recordings that are similar in volume. I’ve also found that it needs to be quite high but can end up turning out a bit distorted.

I found (and read for the first time!) the Audacity manual last night and read about something called the volume normaliser, which tells me to adjust to -3db. I’m going to try this tonight.

My question is this: could this normaliser be the answer to my problems? i.e. will it mean that I’ll end up with recordings that are the same in volume?

I hope someone out there can help, and sorry again if someone else has already asked this?


Woody :slight_smile:

At least it has got one - some ION turntables do not !!!

It is important that you do not set this too high, or you will get distortion that is near impossible to repair.
If your recording is a little too quiet, you can use “Normalize”, or “Amplify”, or adjust the volume slider on the left side of the track. Of these 3 methods, Normalize is probably the most suitable for what you are doing.

I usually normalize to about -1dB, which is a little bit louder than -3 dB.
This does not mean that all your recordings will sound the same “loudness”, though they will probably be mostly similar.
What it means is that the peak (highest/loudest) bit will be the same level.

If you have a record that has just one very brief loud crackle, then that will be brought up to -3dB (or whatever your normalize level is set at). You will probably therefore need to normalize after repairing any clicks and crackles on the recording.

There is a good tutorial about recording vinyl here: