Mastering Vinyl

Hey Guys,
Kinda new here and im looking for some advice… I recently bought some vinyl and I need some help, Im looking to learn how to master audio taken off a vinyl record, i have asked people to do it for me, but it gets way to exspensive. the genre of music is called Happy Hardcore/ UK Hardcore. I deal with .wav form audio, Im using logic express to try to master, i know i need to mess with the EQ, i also need a Limiter and a Compressor, which i have but really have a very vaghe idea what im doing with them. is there anything i should try to in audacity first? If anybody has any kind of advice or is willing to give me a hand, that would be great.

Thanks again guys!

If you want your CD to sound like the original you don’t need to do any of that. Just clean the record, check that you turntable and stylus are in good condition, and record it.
You may want to try and reduce any clicks, crackles and background noise. Audacity 1.3 contains some tools for this such as “Click Removal”, Noise Removal" and “Repair”.

There are also some very good alternatives to Audacity for cleaning up the recording. I use “Gnome Wave Cleaner” which is excellent for cleaning up vinyl recordings (it’s free, open source and runs on Linux). There are other alternatives for Windows and Mac (but not necessarily free or open source).

Once you have recording, Export it as a “16bit 44100Hz stereo (PCM) WAV” file and use your favourite CD burning software to make an audio CD. Make sure that you specify “audio CD” or you will end up with a data CD that will only play on computers and not on most CD players. For Windows I like CDBurnerXP (free) or Nero (not free) for burning CDs. On Linux my favourite is K3B, but Brasero is also very good (both free and open source).

If you want the CD to sound different to the vinyl version you will need to specify what you want it to sound like.

Thanks for the quick reply,

Im looking for the sound to sound different than on the vinyl,

here are some examples

check it out, when listening to them, the differences (besides it being louder) the high end is a lot clearer as well as the low end has a bit more thump.

let me know what u think

thanks again

Based on the first of those examples:

SC4 dynamic compressor, followed by Equalization, followed by a peak limiter.

Use fast attack and decay times on the SC4 and set it to “Peak”. The compression ratio should probably be no more than 4:1. Do not use makeup gain.
The threshold level will depend on the peak level of your audio, but with a knee radius of 3dB you will probably be looking at around 8dB below the peak level.

For the Equalization, gradually increase the treble from about 1kHz to 3kHz then level out. Drop the level a little between 1kHz and 300Hz, and gently rise from 300Hz down to about 100Hz. You may want to add a little boost somewhere in the mid if there are any particular sounds that you want to make more prominent. Again. the exact settings will depend on the source material, so experiment.

You may have trouble finding a peak limiter, so attached is one that I made.
Extract the zip file and place the contents in your Audacity Plugins folder. When you restart Audacity it will be listed in the Effects menu as “Soft Clipping…”

Your source material will probably be totally different to those examples, so you will need to experiment. Experience comes with practice. (786 Bytes)

Here’s a quick example of the type of result you can get.
This is taken from the first “before” example. I only spent a few minutes on it just to get some ballpark figures to play with, so with a bit of tweaking you will be able to master to your own taste.

Also, remember that unlike those examples, anything that you are recording from vinyl will already have been mastered (before being pressed to vinyl)

Thanks again for the help,
here is a clip of my attempt at mastering, the first part is the unmastered track, the second is my attempt. I tried your plugin and i kept getting errors, so i used one that i have in my sequencing program. (Logic Express)

let me know what you think, thanks again

also, i have no idea what kinds of files we can upload here, so i had to upload it to the link below. sorry.

Thanks again for the help.

on a side note, the reason im asking about this stuff is because im a DJ, I use a DVS (Digital Vinyl system) to do shows and events, the sound always sounded weird coming out of my monitors, I talked to a few sound engineers and they told me i have to the the audio i ripped from the vinyl mastered, i would have them do it, but its way to expensive, like $30 a song, so im trying to learn on my own, so i hope that clears up anything that i might have missed.

Yes that’s done what you said you wanted.
Personally I prefer to normalise to just below 0dB. If you look at the file in Audacity (1.3) and turn on “show clipping” (View menu) you will see a few red vertical lines where the waveform is banging against 0dB. There’s only a few lines, so it probably doesn’t matter, but as a general rule it’s better to keep the signal just below 0. There can be problems with 0dB if you compress as MP3 as some encoders, and some players will misread 0dB and reverse the polarity.

Now you just need to see how it sounds on your rig and then you can make adjustments as necessary.
Good to hear that you kept the processing quite subtle - a common mistake with this sort of thing is for people to massively overdo it.

The forum does not allow large file attachments, and only a limited range of file types (that does not include MP3 or WAV) so we recommend that people upload and post a link as you did.

What errors were you getting with the plug-in? Which version of Audacity are you using? What’s your operating system?

I kept getting “NYquist could not return audio” as the error message. I was using the older 1.2.5 but recently moved to 1.3.9 and loving it! Im also using OS 10.5.8.

Hope that helps and thanks again!!

It doesn’t surprise me if it does not work on Audacity 1.2.5.
Do you get the same error on Audacity 1.3.9, or does the plug-in work on this version?