Recently there has been some discussion on one of the blogs I visit about sound clipping and the distortion it causes to the music. There are many examples of badly done Vinyl rips, leaving aside the obvious problems of old, dirty and worn records, which only allow certain levels of improvement, there is one fundamental that should be firmly understood that of LOUDNESS when encoding from analogue to digital. Digital recording is just a bucket of bits, once the bucket is filled, any more filling is lost over the side NEVER to be heard of again. This is a simple analogy as although it would appear that what falls out of the bucket cannot be heard, this is not actually true, the effect of the bits falling out leaves behind unwanted bits, mixed up with the wanted bits... DISTORTION !!
Click on the picture to magnify it for printing/reading
So, next time you consider turning one of your precious vinyl's into something DIGITAL please take care to do it to the best possible quality with the equipment you have available, most will have a record VOLUME control, please USE IT !! (CAREFULLY)
To assist you in getting the ripping levels right, here are some useful utilities.
Retro Style Analogue meters
These are available from the excellent VU-Player site HERE
Then the Professional style Broadcast Peak Program Meters (PPMS)
These meters and others can be downloaded from HERE
Both these meter programs are compatible with Windows 98/XP/Vista
There are enhanced versions that run only with Windows 7.
I have no connection with either of the programmers, I just want to spread the word because I have used them both to great advantage and am grateful to them for their labours.
Now the words you all wanted to read... They are FREE
However donations are accepted.
These programs use your sound card to monitor the current audio stream, they can be set to monitor recording and playback, by making the correct selections on your audio mixer settings. Most computers have a "What You Hear" option, with this enabled, the meters will show exactly what you are listening to, the RETRO meters can be quite a talking point.