Lost Vocals

I’ve been converting old LP’s to MP3. Some of my Beatles albums on Capitol label are “acting up”. It sounds like some of the recording mikes are turned off. I get faint vocals in the background. Occasionally 2 voices appear, also sounding like there are others in the background. Is this related to a setting in Audacity (2.0.0)? This seems to come and go; it doesn’t happen for all tracks on the LP.

I’ve been converting old LP’s to MP3.

How? By what process and how is it wired? USB? Who made the turntable?

You could be listening in a funny way.

Download and play his short test clip.


Did you hear all four parts of the test and did the correct voice come out of the correct speaker?


You could be recording in a funny way.

Some of the early Beatles tracks were mixed to extreme stereo, almost two distinct mono channels, with vocals in one channel and instruments in the other.
The symptoms you describe sound just like what will happen to those tracks if you listen to only one of the two stereo channels.

Do both left and right level bars move while recording? Do you get two blue waveforms?


Do both left and right level bars move while recording? Do you get two blue waveforms?

Does that test track look like your shows and does it sound OK?


I’m using Audacity 2.0.0, Windows 7, an Audio-Technica AT-LP60 turntable with a USB hook-up to the PC. I get the same result using 1.2.14 beta.

I listened to the test. I heard all 4 parts of the test. The left audio seemed faint on both sides, the right audio was clearly on the right, the center audio was clearly in the center. I don’t know what out-of-phase means. It sounded different, perhaps a bit “farther away”, maybe a bit “nasally”.

When I’m recording, my setup is for option (2) Stereo Input. The two bars that appear during recording appear to be the same.

I get two audio bars while I’m recording. They look the same, and neither is clearly labeled right or left. I also seems strange that different tracks on the same album record differently; some act up and some are fine.

I suspect that Windows is configured for a mono USB mic, and you are only getting one channel from the turntable (recorded into both channels of Audacity). What version of Windows are you running? [u]This[/u] might help.

That turntable also has line-level analog “RCA” outputs. Do you have a stereo system you can plug the turntable into? That way, you could determine if the missing vocals always come from the left or right channel. If you don’t have a stereo, a stereo TV with audio inputs would work.

Or, if you have a desktop computer, it’s soundcard will have line-level inputs. With an [u]adapter cable[/u], you can use those instead of the USB. (Most laptops only have a microphone input, and you’ll need to use USB.)

Of course if you want “digital quality” (with ALL of the vocals and NONE of the vinyl “snap”, "crackle’, and “pop”), all of The Beatles albums have been released on CD. Or you can download the AAC files from iTunes. :wink:

Here is an easy way to determine if you have mono
(the same sound in both channels). Try Audacity’s Vocal Removal effect. (Use the defult “entire spectrum” setting.) Don’t worry about the name of the effect… It subtracts left from right to remove “center channel” vocals, and everything else that’s the same in both channels. If you run this effect and you get silence (or near silence), both channels are the same (you have mono).

Some beatles recordings were mono, but you should be getting full-vocals on these tracks even with only one channel working.

I downloaded the instruction manual for the turntable. It doesn’t mention USB anywhere. Can you describe your hookup in more detail ? “The AT-LP60 has a white and a red RCA plug that are connected to ???.” As much detail as possible. We can’t have too much information :wink:

Do the blue waves look exactly the same? (zoom in for a close look.) Are they the same even in the problematic parts?

Also, how are you listening, speakers or headphones? Can you test with both?

EDIT: I see that DVDdoug posted while I was typing.


I also seems strange that different tracks on the same album record differently; some act up and some are fine.

What album is this, and what songs are different? When I get home, I’ll listen to the CD (or MP3) to see if the vocals are in the left channel on one song and in the right channel on another song.

Actually, the turntable is At-LP60-USB, with built-in USB output and included USB cable to hook it to my laptop.

The Beatles album is “Yesterday”…and Today.

I found the laptop audio settings that DVDdoug refers to. I changed them and now IT WORKS! Now I have audible vocals all the way through, as well as different audio tracks. Which is right and which is left? As it appears on my screen, it looks like virtually all the vocals come out of the right channel – which I think is the bottom audio waveform. Correct?

I had no idea that there might be an internal setting in my laptop that I had to fiddle with. Maybe this is in the documentation and I missed it. I think it would be worth emphasizing in some way.

This is good news and bad news. I’m glad to get real stereo now, but I thought I was almost done. It seems the most time-consuming part of the LP-to-MP3 process is putting in Section Labels. Is there some way to shortcut this process as I go through re-recording my LP’s to get real stereo? Can I line up new recordings by the old ones and then copy the section labels to the new recording – or something like that?

I really appreciate all the help you all have been.