How I restore a vinyl recording:

Please note that this way of restoring is mostly for normal Pop- , Rock- or Dance-Music.
High-End-Freaks, Classical-Music-Listeners might not get the result which they expect !  

  • First of all I spend a lot of money getting some rare vinyls. You can check out the link section where I have listed the best shopping opportunities within the internet.
    But how do I know what's rare ? Well, as I am music-specialst working since 1996 in a music mail order service for 2nd hand and rarities I got all that on the way.

  • One of the important, if not THE most important point in the restoring process is the cleaning of the vinyl.
    (Sadly) I have underestimated this topic and did not gave it enough attention in the past. Meanwhile I am disabused !
    It really saves a lot of time when the vinyl is cleaned correctly. As this topic is quite comprehensive I have added a new part on this website in which I explain the washing process. click here ...

  

  • One of the best turntables around is still the "1210 MKII" by "TECHNICS" !
    Of course there are also High-End or even cheaper ones around, but I do have my first one for over 10 years now and it is still like new just like the day I bought it.
    It was worth every cent !
    (German "Pfennig" at that time )
  

  • During the last 3 years i used and recommended the "Concorde" system by "Ortofon". It is great for DJs and "normal" listening, but if you want to archive / restore your records it is not the best solution. It is not "bad", but I found something better ! Some years ago I already used the "Prestige Black" system from "Grado" und got back to it now. The reason is quite simple: The high frequences of this system goes up to 50khz, the Ortofon "only" reaches 20khz. Generally the human sense of hearing reaches its maximum at 20khz, but the fine high level frequences (especially US-pressings of the 80s) will not get distorted. Due to the "power" of the Ortofon high frequencies get lost or distorted ! The Grado system is generally a bit more "quiet" and therefore the high frequences are not distorted. This crystal clear sound is miles away from the Ortofon. Another reason is the cost-performance, which is a about 50 Euro. Sadly a replacement needle costs nearly the same as a new complete system... To cut a long story short: Grado wins against Ortofon !

    You can purchase the system at your local HiFi-Store !


  • In November 2009 I have purchased an additional "tuning" part !
    The record stabilizer turntable weight made by Rudolf A. Bruil from the Netherlands (Thanks !)
    Click here for more info.
    Audio & Music Bulletin

  • OK ... Let's continue :
    I transfer the music directly into the computer as a ".wav" file. Make sure you have a good audio recording card, not a "normal" soundcard. With a normal soundcard you will NOT get a good sound in the end as too many frequences are cutted! The sound is then like through a "watering can" as I like to say ...

    The advantage of the audio card is that there is no loss of any sound as it is the "direct way" ...

    Make sure you do NOT make any other things with the computer during the recording process as it could happen that there while you work with one programm as a result sound errors might appear in the recording!

    Meanwhile external harddrives have quite reasonable prices and you can save or store your recordings on them so you always have a backup and a safe place for your work.
    Nothing is more annoying to record and restore tracks again....


    Formerly I also recorded with an Audio-CD-Recorder from "PHILIPS" (CDR600).
    High-End professionals would say it is crap but "normal" people are not able to spend thousands on an amplifer or any other High-End tool *g*... anyway...
    In my experience one of the best Audio-CDR's are the MAXELL XL-II 80. Other brands like Philips , TDK or "cheapbrands" are not recommended, as many of them cannot be finalized or get "burned" - why so ever ...

    The audio-recorder is also fine, but the solution with the soundcard is simply better ...




  • After the CD is recorded I transfer the tracks as wav files on the computer. Then I edit them with "WAVELAB 3.0" by "STEINBERG". I know that there are newer versions available than 3.0, but it is enough and has a much more user-friendly-overview than the later edtions ! First I normalize the volume level and then I delete the cracks, skips and other unfriendly vinylnoises. You should be at least familiar with using the normal wavelab options, as I cannot explain the whole process within wavelab. So sense of hearing and work on your skills then you are able to recognize the slightest touch of unwanted noise


  • You can now continue with "CLEAN 4.0" also from "STEINBERG". It is not very expensive and worth the price. Furthermore I would suggest to buy a seperate handbook which explains the features of that program better than Steinberg does. Their way of explaining processes within their programs is simply pathetic ! (Sorry guys - you know your software but you don't know why...)
    Anyway ... Here are the simple steps in a very short way :
  1. Load one wav file into "Clean" (better do it one by one - not to get mixed up
  2. Activate "DeClicker" and "DeCrackler" in the "Restauration" part and adjust them on "50" (this might sound very high, but more is too much and less is too less. Then let the program calculate that first.
  3. After that switch these functions off and start the "FP DeNoiser" and choose in the dropdown field " 8. Good Vinyl Maximum". Then also adjust it on "50" and let it calculate again.
  4. Now you can click on the "optimize" fields and choose "Brilliance". Here only adjust the level on "5" and let it run again.
  • I can only advise to let each part run individual and not all at the same time. Your mainboard processor says "thanks".

    Step 4 is necessary because the first cleaning parts made the recording sound a bit muffled and the brilliance pimps that a bit.
  

  • Now we are slightly finished. The wav file should be opened with "Wavelab" again and you will be amazed. Nearly every noise has been cleaned ! You should listen to it now and delete all the rest of the noises (if there are still some). After that you can adjust a bit on the mastering section by rising highs, mids and/or lows. But please be careful now : Keep in backmind not "destroy" to the "real sound".

NOTE:
This point is not "really" necessary with "normal" 12" Maxi-Singles! If the sound is OK you can overleap this one...
It is mostly needed when 7" Singles or LPs need the "final touch" ...

  • Before you start burning the final tracks, it is good to "pimp" the sound a bit. I found a very useful tool with the 31-Band Graphic-Equalizer-Studio by PAS (Programmable Analysis Software). This software has a "Wav Refreshing Tool" which can analyse the music and gives the whole recording a good "updated sound". Very useful for LPs and 7"Singles as they don't have the "Power-Sound" of a 12"Single... but you can also use it for 12" as it simply sounds better after that. You only have to get familiar with this very easy tool.
    NOTE : This point is not "really" necessary - do it only if you think the music really "needs" it.

 

  

It seems we are finished so far !
When you have enough tracks ready for a CD, then you can enjoy your music over and over again without losing listening pleasure