Noise when recording vinyl

Trying to record from vinyl (through line in of an external sound card) and getting a quiet but annoying kind of ringing noise. It must be coming from the turntable in some way from the sound of it, and the fact that I don’t get it when recording from tape. However, when I listen to the recording, even through the soundcard output the noise just isn’t there, it only appears when I actually play back the audacity recording.

Any ideas?

Recoding of the start of a record:

There appears to be a ringing around 3900 Hz that repeats once per revolution of the disk. What turntable and cartridge are you using? Is anything loose on the turntable? Is the cartridge securely attached to the head shell? How are you connecting the turntable to your computer (through a pre-amp, etc.)?

– Bill

It’s a Thorens TD166 MKII with Grado cartridge going through a project pre amp then into the amp and a line out to the soundcard (creative x-fi).

I’ve taken the plate off and checked everything, can’t hear anything rubbing or making a noise. Cartridge is on firmly, but looking at the record there is a tiny warp - not large enough that it should effect anything and I get the same noise on any record I try. I know it must be coming from the turntable but it doesn’t appear when I just listen to a record normally, only when I listen to a recording I’ve made using audacity. Could I be amplyfying a tiny problem by running it through all the stages?

Could I be amplyfying a tiny problem by running it through all the stages?

Stages such as?


The spectrum of the ‘noise’ sample looks like a comb
'noise', spectrum looks like a comb.png
this can be caused by feeding back a delayed version of the signal.
Look for sources of feedback, e.g. check you are only recording the turntable, (the not turntable and the output of Audacity).

The feedback could be mechanical (rather than electrical) via the turntable arm, (adjust the arm counter-weight),
However that type of feedback would be audible on the output from the turntable, not just on the recording.

If loudspeakers are being used (rather than headphones) there could be acoustic feedback …

adjustable rubber-damped feet ensure that the Technics SL-1200 series are well-insulated against acoustic feedback

The age / type of turntable mat may be to blame …

Edit the recording to remove the vinyl ticks (choose to retain a section between the ticks), apply a high pass filter 200 Hz 48 dB/octave, then amplify. You can clearly hear the ringing coming and going every 1.8 seconds. If you do a plot spectrum at this point you can clearly see the peak at about 3900 Hz.

As for why the OP can not hear it while recording, it could be that he can’t turn it up loud enough while recording to hear it without causing feedback … or some other effect. My guess is that the sound is coming from the turntable. It sounds like something scraping on the platter every so slightly - but that doesn’t make sense as you’d think the platter mat would damp it out. In fact I can’t duplicate it with my Thorens TD160.

I’m mystified.

– Bill

Maybe the (25 year old ?) rubber has gone stiff with age.

If all else fails can notch out 3909Hz …

Seems feedback was the problem. Unplugged the input to the souncard from the amp while recording and it’s perfect now. Not sure why it’s fine to leave it all plugged in when recording from the tape deck but not from vinyl, or why I couldn’t hear yje noise when listening to the recording output, but I won’t lose any more sleep over it.

Thanks all for taking the time to look and reply.

The turntable system is a pure mechanical process. The disk revolves and causes the needle to vibrate. Anything else in the room causing vibration can make the needle vibrate, too. It doesn’t have to be coming from the desk underneath the turntable. Loud enough sounds can cause the record itself to vibrate. That’s deadly.

Tape is magnetic not mechanical, and as long as the tape is moving past the heads, it doesn’t matter how loud your speakers are. Try just turning them down or using headphones.


When I was a kid the only music source we had at home was a tape recorder/player.
My uncle had a turntable and a big collection of LP’s. Sometimes he would land us the turntable and some records and we (my father and I) would make a… eerrrm… backup copy to tape of the records.
The room where he had the equipment had a window to the street.
I remember one time, when we were in the middle of such a process my mother went out and passed in front of the window and decided she needed to get our attention so she knocked on the window with her keys and shouted something… Later when listening to the recorded tape we could clearly hear the key hitting the window and my mother’s shout (not so clear as the knocking).

Well, I was a little inebriated when I posted the other night, and the blessed silence I heard then was actually due to me forgetting to plug the sound card output back into the amp when playing the recording back, coupled some rather stern advice from my girlfriend to get to bed and to stop playing with t’hat bloody record player’.

After many more hours of playing with ‘that bloody record player’ and ‘that sodding computer’ including fiddling with the suspension springs, trying various weird cures from the internet to dampen platter ring, lots of swearing, and for a while losing all sound on my computer, I think I’ve stumbled on the answer.

If I change the sample rate to 96000kb to record and then back to 44100 to export, I get this:

It still has noise, now a deep heartbeat though and it has to be turned up way louder than I would listen to music for it to be any problem. It also sounds like it is exactly what I am getting out of the amp when I play a record. It, or something similar, appears on every record I have tested so clearly there is something wrong with my turntable somewhere, although I think I can put up with it I finally have enough money to upgrade (in my dreams to a TD160). The recording of the record converted to FLAC and played back on my mp3 player sounds wonderful to me anyway.

No idea why it works and the technicalities will probably go way over my head, but would be interested if someone can try and explain.

I have an idea of why it may be.
Did you say what your operating system is?
What sample rate did you originally have Audacity set at?

Using Windows vista. Can’t remember what the sample rate was set at but don;t think I ever changed it, so whatever the default is, 48,000?

The default sample rate in Audacity is 44100.

In Windows 7 and Vista the sample rate for the recording device can be set in the Windows Control Panel.
Audio hardware will have one or more “native” sample rates that they use internally.
It is not uncommon to for there to be some sort of problems if the native sample rate, the Windows Control Panel sample rate and the Audacity sample rate do not match (this should not be a problem, but it often is).

I’d like to suggest that you try setting the Audacity sample rate to 48000 and see if that works.

Yep, turned everything to 48000 in the control panel and set the same in audacity and it’s all working fine now.

Thanks .

If you fancy trying another test, try changing everything to 44100 and see if that works.
This would be preferable if you are making CDs as CDs use 44100 Hz.

Yes, that works too. I’m starting the process of recording my vinyl to listen to on my mp3 player, the player supports flac, which does sound subtlely better to me on there when I’ve tested against mp3 - little things like echo on drumbeats are better detailed.
Will sample rate make any difference to that?

By the way, I noticed this morning that the only record I have successfully recorded so far after all the angiush of getting set up had a download coupon inside…

yes FLAC is better sound quality than MP3, though the quality of MP3 can be very good if you use a high quality setting. In Audacity 1.3.12 you can select different “Quality” setting for MP3 during the Export, by clicking on the “Options” button on the Export dialogue screen. The “Extreme” Preset will provide extremely good sound quality that is virtually indistinguishable from Flac or WAV.

I doubt that you’ll notice any difference in sound quality due to sample rate as long as it is at least 44100 Hz

I was having this ringing issue and found this thread to be a surprise. It was even more perplexing that the ringing was stated to be 3900 Hz which matched my ringing frequency. I realized that the likelihood that two turntables resonated exactly as described was pretty farfetched. I took the solution from this thread and ran a quick test. If Windows 7 audio sampling rate in the control panel is set differently than Audacity’s sample rate for recording, the ringing occurs. In the case of issue discussed in this thread, the ringing was 3900 Hz. That happens to be the difference between 48000 and 44100. Go figure! As long as the two sample rates match there’s no ringing. I tried all 4 combinations between these two rates. I should have thought of this but the ringing really does sound mechanical, like the platter barely touching something making the platter “sing” so to speak. It leads you to think that it had to be the turntable. Thanks for posting the solution guys. I’m certainly happy now.