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Author Topic:  Repairing warped vinyl
Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 25 Oct 2016 12:21 pm     Reply with quote

I just bought a cheapo vinyl-to-mp3 turntable and it seems to work OK - I hope to tweak the recordings in Audacity to make them sound less tinny.

But here's the thing: some of my vinyl has warped slightly (like my prized Buddy Emmons BE-E9 course) and it's distorting the sound.Sad

So does anyone have any solutions to somehow flatten the record again? Like ironing it, or hanging it while taking a hot steamy shower? Smile

Putting weights on the record itself might work but how much? I couldn't put too much weight while actually spinning the wax 'cause that would slow down the turntable, right? So collective wisdom and experience of the Forum, waddya got?

Thanks in advance.
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 25 Oct 2016 9:49 pm     Reply with quote

How did they get warped? Storing on a slant, long term? Exposure to heat? Bought that way new?

If you drill into the Internet, you'll probably find recommendations to put the disc between panes of glass and then put it in an oven.

It can work.

Obviously too much heat and you have something with er, ah, uh erectile difficulties.

So--practice with vinyl you don't care about and be prepared to wish you'd never had such an idea.

I did it once around 40 years ago. Didn't go well on a valuable rockabilly 45 by Link Davis.

Alternatives:

Find another copy of the vinyl.

Find mp3s of the same recordings.

Put a weight on the tone arm for a one time playback that you record. Maybe a dime, nickel, or quarter. I've done that with success. The less weight the better. The slower the disk spins, the less problem the warp will be----warps on 78 rpm discs are very tough, but you can have better luck with a 33 rpm LP.

Good luck on removing the "tinny" with Audacity. It's a great program, but I wouldn't expect anything near a miracle.

You have to gauge how much time you are willing to expend on improving the sound by only marginal amounts.

If your time is worth money to some extent, you might be better off getting a traditional higher quality turntable instead of the cheapo---assuming the cheapo is the cause of the tinniness.

Regardless of the turntable, if you intend to process the sound in Audacity, I'd certainly record in a lossless format (WAV most likely) if at all possible. Every time you re-save an mp3 in Audacity, you lose a little fidelity. You might not notice it on the first generation, but if you did it 2 or 3 times, you probably would---particularly if the sound quality and bit rate is marginal to start with.

The noise reduction filter in Audacity is very good at reducing hiss and groove noise once you get the hang of it. It won't do anything for ticks and pops and general crackling like you might hear on a worn record.

But there are other software programs that do deal well with ticks, clicks, and pops. Audacity has such a filter, but it's manual only (one tick at a time), so very tedious and time consuming.
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Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 26 Oct 2016 4:23 am     Reply with quote

A lot to chew on - thanks, Mitch.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 27 Oct 2016 9:11 am     Reply with quote

If that BE course record is on very thin vinyl, like the one that came along with the Winnie Winston book, it has to be supported by 45 rpm underneath.
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Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 27 Oct 2016 9:15 am     Reply with quote

Hi Joachim -

No, it's LP-type vinyl.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 27 Oct 2016 9:40 am     Reply with quote

Oh I see!
Quote:
you'll probably find recommendations to put the disc between panes of glass and then put it in an oven.

Maybe Mitch's tip will help, I would lightly tighten the panes with clamps. And of course let them cool down before you take the record out.
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Chris Clem


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 Nov 2016 7:43 am     Reply with quote

As a guy with a large vinyl collection.I have been using turntable clamps for many years now (like the audiophile guys use). They do a remarkably good job on flattening warped records.There are generally 2 different types that are made.One is a big heavy mass of steel that fits over the spinal and the other is a light weight style that tightens around the spinal.Most modern turntable have constant speed motors that won't slow down with the extra weight,but it will still "stress" a cheapy turntable.I would stick with light weight clamp.I use a "JA Mitchell" light weight style. I like the light weight clamp because it has a larger diameter that covers most of an LP label and really helps to flatten a warped record.It won't fix all warped records but can make a big difference and is especially good on records that are cupped.

Like Mitch was saying that "tinny" sound is kind of what you get from those Vinyl to Mp3 turntables.They just don't have very good digital converters in them and Mp3 bit rate is just not what I would call High Fidelity.But you can always move up to something better in the future.
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Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 2 Nov 2016 7:46 am     Reply with quote

C2 -

TY

F2
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Mitch Drumm


From:
Frostbite Falls, hard by Veronica Lake
Post Posted 2 Nov 2016 10:29 am     Reply with quote

Frank:

It matters what type of warps you have.

If the records have a shallow bowl shape to them, you may not need to do anything. I've very rarely encountered this and never had it cause audible problems. I'd guess a suitable weight around the spindle would suffice if it is worth curing. These types of warps aren't particularly stiff and can be helped by weight alone if you think sound is affected.

Edge warps at the perimeter are the type I've encountered most often and they can be very troublesome if severe. In my experience, any type of a weight near the spindle won't have any effect.

There are such things as circular clamps that go around the perimeter of the turntable, but I have no experience on their usefulness. It's these type of warps that might be treatable with glass panes and oven heat, but you can easily make things worse.
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Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 2 Nov 2016 10:57 am     Reply with quote

Hey Mitch -

No, the edges aren't the problem, it's the general warp of the LP. I thought I had stored the album upright in a room with not a lot of heat/humidity variation but ... time passes.
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Chris Clem


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 2 Nov 2016 12:00 pm     Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT_4oSL4VgQ

This is a YouTube video of the one I use.Mine is about 15 years old and has a black thumb screw,but is otherwise the same.I bought it used on Ebay for $20.00 Most audiophile items are way overpriced when buying new.I love mine and use it every time,even if it is not warped at all,it helps stabilize the record if you like to clean/dust them before you play them. I have never used that felt washer he has in the video.
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Jim Kennedy


From:
Brentwood California, USA
Post Posted 12 Dec 2016 4:42 pm     Reply with quote

If you don't want a tinny sound you have to have a turntable preamp built into your unit. Back in the days of component stereos most amps had those built in. That's why they had phono, tape, and aux inputs. Recordings on Vinyl are compressed. If you don't have something to "expand" the sound it comes out tinny.
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Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 8:44 am     Reply with quote

Jim Kennedy wrote:
If you don't have something to "expand" the sound it comes out tinny.


It sure does! Thanks, Jim.
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Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 15 Dec 2016 9:58 am     Reply with quote

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization
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Michael Butler


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 30 Dec 2016 4:00 pm     Reply with quote

i used to use two panes of glass(i think plexiglas would work) and a black vinyl sleeve or something black colored. leave it in the sun for a while and check it now and then. that's why i won't use the oven method again--i left it in too long and made it much worse.

just out of curiosity, how about a microwave on low power? also with some sort of protection as you wouldn't want to just shove it in the microwave naked.

play music!
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Paul Brainard


From:
Portland OR
Post Posted 2 May 2017 3:16 am     Reply with quote

FWIW I have one of those red Rolls phono preamps that sounds pretty decent. Not sure if they are currently still made but it wasn't that expensive. You plug your regular turntable into it, then run the output from that into whatever recording interface you have on your computer or DAW & record into Audacity, Protools, etc.

In fact, you could just send a 1/4" cable from the headphone jack on your receiver into your interface - you'd have to watch the levels, might be kinda hot. But either way it's going to sound better than a cheap turntable going through USB.
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