Improve quality of flat sounding record

What’s the best way to modify a flat recording? I have mp3 files from a LP rip (done by a friend), but the original LP sounded flat. Would the amplify or equalization be the best way to improve the sound? Which option would improve the vocals?


Step one, don’t use MP3 for production. It contributes compression damage and bubbling. So now you have two problems, and it’s going to get worse because if you make a new MP3, you’ll have double the damage, even if you don’t do anything else.

Do you know somebody with a newer Windows machine? Avery Fisher Hall is your friend.


I always export my rips as aiff files, but this rare (African) album was sent to me saved at 320 kbps. He has a PC, so i don’t know how he saves his files. Thanks.

It depends on what you mean by “flat”. Is it lacking in high frequencies? Is it lacking in dynamic range?

Amplification will just make it louder.

Select a portion of one of the recordings and do Analyze > Plot Spectrum. Choose a log axis and 8192 size. Make note of the levels - perhaps take a screen shot.

Import a copy of a recording - that has similar instrumentation to the first - that is not “flat” and do Analyze > Plot Spectrum on it. Take a screen shot then compare to two plots. Are there easily identifiable differences in the plots? For example, if the plot of the first is lower than the second in the region above 2000 Hz then the original may benefit from some boost above those frequencies using the Equalization effect.

If the recording sounds flat due to lack of dynamic range there’s not much you can so about it. Reversing dynamic range compression is just about impossible.

– Bill

That is the only way out of this. If the original work was produced an an insanely high bitrate, you’re probably OK. You can do production and go off to your iPod without further unexpected damage.

I don’t know of a good concert hall effect available on the Mac, but you can try the fake depth trick. Split the two tracks, L and R, and delay one very slightly with respect to the other. If you don’t go overboard, it will sound deeper and wider. I’d love to figure out how they did the effect in that posting. That’s seems to be perfect.

Maybe there’s room for Windows after all.