best settings for recording vinyl?

Hi guys, Looking to record some vinyl using Audacity and wondered what are the best settings to do so…kinda new to this program. I have a Tech 1200 and using my sony receiver as a preamp with tape out to my pc. My Pc is a gaming pc, pretty fast. tons of ram. I was considering connecting via by USB but not sure if there are any real benefits. When I do record I notice the screen in Audacity is kina choppy, is there a bubber settings to smooth it out?

I will be removing clicks and pops and a touch of eq here and there but have other plugins for that so I dont want Audacity to apply any noise reduction or eq of any kind…just straight clean recording…no dither or anything…Ill do that later.

any help on the settings would be great…thanks!!!


My Pc is a gaming pc

Is that a desktop/tower with a regular soundcard? Are you connected to line-in (blue)?

I was considering connecting via by USB

From what? Do you have a USB audio interface?

…I can give you some input later but now I have to log off for a several minutes or maybe an hour.

just straight clean recording…no dither or anything…Ill do that later.

The “rule” is to dither whenever you reduce the bit depth. You can enable/disable and select the dither method under [u]Qualty Preferences[/u]. If dither is enabled, it’s applied during export (when you make a WAV or other audio file).

Dither is added noise that’s supposed to sound better than quantization noise (aka quantization error). But at 16-bits the dither is down around -90dB so you can’t hear dither or the effects of dither. And with vinyl (or almost any analog source) the analog noise is way worse than that so it’s “self dithered” and the dither noise is masked by the analog noise so it really doesn’t matter one way or the other.

At 8 bits, you CAN hear quantization noise. Quantization noise “rides on top of” the audio so like regular noise it’s more noticeable with quiet sounds, but it’s different because when there is no audio signal there is no quantization noise. (I’ve heard 8-bit files, but I’ve never tried dithering them.)

best settings for recording vinyl?

By default Audacity will record and process as 32-bit floating-point which means you’ll be capturing at 16 or 24-bits resolution, whatever your hardware supports. 44.1kHz (CD compatible) or 48kHz (video compatible) are both better than human hearing so that’s “good enough” but if your hardware supports 96kHz the only downside is larger files.

Recording levels are not critical with digital recording as long as you avoid clipping. Your analog-to-digital converter will clip (distort) at exactly 0dB. The standard advice for digitizing analog recordings is to shoot for peaks at about -6dB, allowing headroom for unexpected peaks. (if you are recording live, the levels are less predictable so you usually need more headroom.)

Usually, I’ll run the Amplify effect after recording as an indirect way to check the peaks. Audacity has pre-scanned your file and Amplify will default to whatever gain (or attenuation) is needed for 0dB peaks. For example, if Amplify defaults to +3dB, your peaks are currently -3dB. If Amplify defaults to 0dB (no change) before amplifying or any effects/processing your peaks are probably clipped. With vinyl, the clipped peak may be a loud click and in that case it’s the click that 's the problem, not the clipping. :wink:

…If you are old enough to remember analog tape, you wanted a “hot” signal to overcome tape noise but with digital there is no tape noise! Tape also can go over 0dB where it starts to soft-clip so it was common to occasionally go “into the red”. Digital hard-clips at exactly 0dB.