Recording LP to CD

I’ve been trying to figure out why the cd’s I burn, after recording LP’s, sound way to quiet. I’ve adjusted all the levels, and am now wondering if it could be the quality of the computer’s sound card. Can a sound card effect the volume of the recording?

Use the “Amplify” effect (default settings) on the entire recording before you export.
The resulting CD will probably still not sound as loud as a commercial CD as they often use lots of effects to artificially boost the loudness, but it should be sufficiently loud.

Should I do that instead of Normalizing, or after Normalizing?

I would (and indeed do) use Amplify and not Normalize. This is because Normalise works independently on each of the stereo tracks and brings each L & R up to the same level - theus the stereo balance and the stereo image can be destroyed. There has been much discssion on this topic in other threads recently. Use the Search function at the top right of the forum window and you should find them.

And when using the Amplify don’t just accept the default to amplify fully to 0db - choke it back to -6db or so


I don’t agree (but it is good that we have room for different opinions) :wink:

We are talking specifically about amplifying (normalising) immediately prior to Exporting and burning to CD.
While it is true that theoretically this could cause distortion, in practice it is extremely unlikely to cause a problem. In a recording from vinyl, it is likely that if the recording is amplified / normalised so that the peak amplitude is 0dB (the default for the Amplify effect) then there will probably be only one sample in the entire recording that is actually at 0dB, and only a few very short peaks that come close.

-6dB is quite an appreciable amount, and much more than is necessary to prevent the theoretical possibility of clipping occuring with a maximum sample value of 0dB. To guarantee that no clipping occurs, dropping the peak value to -0.3 should be more than sufficient.

Given that the question was regarding making the recordings louder, the possibility that normalising to 0dB could possibly cause a minute amount of distortion for a period of 1/44100 second is not significant.

Where I would agree, is that if there is further processing to be done, then I would leave plenty of “headroom” (at least 6dB) to ensure that subsequent processing did not cause clipping. Also, if the final format was to be MP3 rather than CD I would leave a bit of headroom as some MP3 encoders and decoders do not handle high amplitudes very well, but even in this case, -1 dB is more than enough.

Thank you for your replies. I have now tried the amplifying, rather than normalizing, and it sounds the same. I have just started going back through old posts and see that this is a very common problem, indeed. I am now really thinking that this must have something to do with the fact that my computer just has a spec, “non-fancy” sound card. I will have to investigate this.

In which case you might want to consider an external soundcard - see this sticky thread for reviews of ones that are known to work with audacity:

Just a thought: you are passing the signal from the TT through a phono preamp - or your TT has a preamp buily in, right? If not then you will get a somewhat thin sound as the RIAA equalization will not have been applied. If that’s not the case, then note it is possible to buy external soundcards that have pre-amps built in (ART, who make the pre-amp I use, make a good combined preamp & soundcard - post back if you need more details).


Thanks for that, and that is a good question re the pre-amp. I assumed it is built-in, as I have another turntable that has that for sure. So, I assumed this one does too. I’m not sure though how I would know for sure.

Most older TTs tend not to have preamps built in - they only started building them in when amps started being made with no phono input (sometime after the advent of CDs when the manufactureres assumed that vinyl would just disappear :smiley: ).

If you dont have the RIAA equalization applied (via a preamp) then the music tends to sound a bit thin and bassless. It is possible to do the equalization after capture with Audacity’s Equalization effect (there are several RIAA curves that you can select in 1.3.x - can’t remeber what happened in 1.2.x). Though it’s generally reckoned to do the RIAA in hardware prio to capture rather than post-processing in software.