If it's a record or a tape and I can play it - it's suitable.
I can also work with externally created transfers (digital files).
All vinyl in common shapes and sizes:
7, 10 and 12", ANY speed.
up to 13" in diameter.
Masters up to 13" in diameter (although I cannot use moving coil
cartridges on these for reasons of magnetic attraction!)
I prefer to work in-house, recording your vinyl on the resident equipment and returning
it with the resulting restored files. You can send externally transferred files but note that I cannot be held reponsible for external equipment - and any faults they may have.
important: I can only work with what I'm given.
It is not always possible to restore damaged audio to an acceptable quality.
As a general rule you should find the cleanest copy of the
recording that you can. It can quickly become more expensive to treat a damaged record than to
find a better, cleaner copy. The results will also be better.
Please read through the following list of known issues that you will need to consider before sending your material.
If it ain't there - it ain't worth worrying about. For example on older 78 RPM shellac discs; a good example of what cannot be achieved: You can't get
frequencies back that were not recorded in the first place - however you
can draw attention to the music that was recorded by limiting
frequencies that cannot have been recorded. A paradox ;-) Some contend
that without that tell-tale 'swoosh' of background noise, it just doesn't
sound right. You decide!
The most common problem and usually the most startling results after restoration.
If the clicks or crackle are surrounded by enough clean audio, the results
are usually very good. Very deep (huge) scratches can be problematic.
As a general rule, the more 'pure' the recorded note (for example a piano note), the harder it is to fix a
big click. If it's hidden in lots of other stuff, results can be 'invisible'.
Skipping or sticking records:
Very difficult, for obvious reasons, you need to use a very blunt tool to get around
this issue: apply temporary lateral and downwards force to the cartridge with a thin wand
of flexible plastic to 'shove' the stylus through the click (either forwards
or backwards depending on stick or skip). Hi-fi purists will quite rightly
blanche at the thought!
Most common dirt, fingerprints, smudges, oil, wax, mold release agent and dust is easily
removable. If it hasn't 'impacted' the vinyl surface, it's as good as
gone. All vinyl is routinely cleaned before transfer takes place. This
serves both to preserve the vinyl and to make the restoration more effective.
Cleaning is by VPi HW-17F professional record cleaning machine.
Certain types of material cannot easily be cleaned from vinyl including
most paints or nail varnish etc. NOTE: Acetate 'dub plates' will not be cleaned using any corrosive solutions. It is sometimes best to play them 'wet' using a safe solution of neat detergent and water.
Vinyl records can often be flattened using a carefully controlled heating and clamping process. It is not entirely free from risk but is relatively safe. Ask for more details if you have the inclination to do this or your record is unique.
Badly warped records cannot be tracked accurately by any method because
there has been a general deformation of the surface areas of a record.
It's a geometry thing. The 'sharper' the warp the worse it is. Provided
the stylus is able to track the grooves without any sudden deviations,
it is possible to get a good basic recording but some long-period timing
errors will remain. This is due to the VTA or 'Vertical Tracking Angle'
being in conflict with the rise and fall of the playing surface - the
normal orientation of the tone-arm causing shortening of the time taken
to 'rise' up or 'fall' down a warp and to return to normal over flat 'peak'
and 'valley' areas. These are manifested by slight 'wow' effects. Sometime
this is not a problem but for example if the recording is of long piano
notes... you'll hear the problem alright!
45 RPM discs sometimes benefit from slower transfer at 33 RPM,
so the warp is less sudden and the stylus can track it - just! Best to try and find a flat copy.
Wear (AKA groove wear) is caused by over-playing or by worn or damaged
stylii. This type of damage causes random distortions centred on the highest
amplitudes and in bad cases renders the recording untreatable. It is not
normally recoverable with any degree of accuracy. Having said that - listenable
results are often possible with care and time. Useful when a recording is only
very sporadically distorted in this way. Can be expensive.
Amazingly the most common manufacturing fault. Playing a record off-centre
sounds awful. As nasty as it sounds the solution is to carefully enlarge
the centre hole in the direction of the offset to allow accurate rotation.
It's a decision for the owner of the vinyl to take if this is acceptable
or not. An off-centre recording cannot be accurately treated 'digitally'.
Another solution would be to use a turntable with no centre spindle (or
a narrow one) but I do not currently use one.
Chemical or heat damage:
For example the damage caused by old style plastic inner sleeves leaching
and causing discolouration and scarring. Also: Sunlight or radiator /
amplifier heat damage.
Often fluctuating in nature and very difficult to suppress evenly. Avoid.
Heat damage quickly reaches a level where actual information is lost as
well as noise and warps introduced and it is rare if not impossible to
get a good result from a significantly heat-damaged record.
If the record is playable over the crack and still holds together somehow,
the clicks resulting from a crack are easy enough - if time consuming
- to treat. NB I've lost a couple of stylii to cracks! Risky.
Records made from previous transfers:
Your audio material might contain audio that was itself made by a previous transfer
from vinyl. This audio is harder to isolate than audio taken from a master
sourced vinyl. Generally speaking the results can never be as good. You
may also wish to preserve the 'artifacts' from a previous transfer such
as you might find in a hip-hop sample. Tricky.
External recordings supplied by you:
If you submit material not sourced from vinyl for example tape, CD, cassette,
minidisc, etc, please also note the 'cautions' below.
If you submit material transferred elsewhere from vinyl, See Why Audio
will be at the mercy of the standards of equipment and care taken when
making the transfer. Take care to use high quality equipment. Any faults
introduced at the transfer stage must be addressed later on and will add to the cost of restoration. Prevention is always better (and cheaper
in the long run) than cure and applies to: Noisy or just plain bad quality
turntable, worn stylus, tracking errors, incorrect playback speed, feedback,
hum, dirty records, acoustic isolation of the turntable, etc. See 'Recording
Recording Cautions: (for those supplying recordings
Even if you
only require a final format of 44.1Khz/16bit (CD), record at a higher
sample rate if you can, up to 96khz/32 bit because the increase in resolution
allows for better restoration with subsequent downsampling to CD.
a vinyl recording at high listening levels - this can introduce acoustic
feedack - use headphones or keep the volume low (especially the bass).
OGG Vorbis, WMA or other compressed 'lossy' formats: Once you lose information
by compression to these formats you never get it back. Avoid. Always try to use non-lossy formats: AAC, WAV, FLAC, etc.
levels: Do not allow digital clipping or 'saturation' of the audio. This
is normally unrecoverable. Please allow sufficient headroom for the loudest
sections of audio (NB: sometimes big clicks are louder
than the maximum audio amplitude - you can let those clip!). As a general rule I advise a recording level that leaves approximately 5dB headroom at the loudest points.
Mono records: Although it
may sound less 'noisy' do not be tempted to record vinyl in mono eg. using a mono button or mixing the channels to one, or recording only one channel. Information
from both sides of the groove makes restoration
entire 'sides' of vinyl at once, at a continuous recording level. Save
as one file per 'side' - especially if seguéd or continuous (eg.
live albums or mix-compilations).
If you have
any other concerns not listed here please ask me before making the recording.