Tinny Sound from LP

Hi all- I’ve recorded a number of my old vinyl albums via a direct turntable to Audacity . The sound of the recordings is a bit tinny and not nearly as full sounding as downloaded songs when I play through my speakers. Anyone else had this issue? Any ideas how to improve the sound? Thanks

Tell us about your hardware setup.

I’d guess you are missing RIAA Playback Equalization which is built-into phono preamps. Without it, highs are exaggerated and bass is diminished.

But it would be extreme, not “a bit” tinny.

Or, there are certain wiring errors that can create a center-channel “vocal remover” effect. You get diminished vocals and diminished bass which is also usually in the center.

Thanks for the reply. I have a Popsky turn table I bought from Amazon plugged into my MacBook Air. I will have to see if the RIAA is built in. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s weak per se, just not as “loud “ and full as downloads. Each instrument etc seems to be proportional to each other. Just tinny and quieter.

Audacity comes with a RIAA preset in the “Filter Curve EQ”.

Ok that makes a big difference based on my one song test. Thank you!

This one with USB? USB or “line output” will have an RIAA preamp built-in. If it’s USB that’s NOT the problem.

“Tinny” and “not as loud” are two different things.

You can run the Amplify or Normalize effect to “maximize” the volume digitally and linearly. That doesn’t change the sound character/quality as long as you don’t “try” to go over 0dB and clip/distort.

There are a couple of reasons that digitized vinyl may not be as loud as original digital -

  1. Older records were made before they had digital “weapons” to “win” The Loudness War.

  2. The process of cutting & playing a vinyl record changes the wave shape making some peaks higher and some lower. Digital levels are limited by the peaks so when you bring the volume down to prevent clipping, the overall volume is reduced. (A similar thing happens with MP3.)

You can increase loudness by using the Limiter effect with make-up gain (or you can Normalize after limiting). But that reduces musical dynamic contrast and IMO makes music more boring. (But some people like that “constant loudness” or “constant intensity”.)

Tinny sound could be from the record itself or from the phono cartridge. You can use the Graphic EQ effect to boost the bass or to cut the highs. You may need to normalize again after EQ to prevent clipping. Audacity will “show red” if you go over 0dB but as long as you normalize before exporting, the waveform isn’t clipped (yet).