Why Are Some Records Louder Than Others?

The volume of some records is affected by how they were cut, a factor that varies from label to label. Vinyl tracks also have varying levels of volume due to the amount of modulation the groove receives. As the groove gets thinner, its wall weakens, reducing the volume. The volume can also be affected by pre-echoes.

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Recordings have a wide dynamic range

The dynamic range of recordings is the range between loud and soft sounds, expressed in decibels. It can be very large, sometimes reaching as high as 120 dB. The human ear is capable of hearing sounds at as low as 10 dB and can detect sounds as high as 96 dB. Therefore, a recording’s dynamic range should be at least 90 dB.

In contrast, a song with a narrow dynamic range sounds squashed and fatigues the ear. A wide dynamic range allows musicians to contrast dark and light, and the variations in volume and intensity can be subtle or very apparent. A wide dynamic range gives you the best opportunity to enjoy a wide range of sounds, thereby improving the listening experience.

Dynamic range can be difficult to measure. To be accurate, you should measure the range of noise between the quietest parts of a recording and the loudest parts of it. In audio engineering, this factor is constantly considered during recording, mixing, and mastering. Dynamic range can be changed with compression, which reduces the range of sound in the loudest sections and increases the dynamic range in the quietest ones.

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Off-center pressing causes flutter pitch drift

Flutter pitch drift is caused by the off-center pressing of a record. This issue affects the sound quality of vinyl records. This is a problem that can be fixed by buying a turntable with self-centering features. An off-center pressing causes a pitch drift, or wow, which is a variation in pitch once per revolution. It can occur when a record is warped or if the pressing plate is not perfectly centered.

Dynamic range compression can result in audible distortion

One common cause of audible distortion is dynamic range compression. These devices intentionally distort the amplitude relationship between sound levels within speech. This can affect speech identification cues. In a study conducted by Hawkins and Naidoo, subjects with mild to moderate hearing loss preferred to hear compressed sound over uncompressed sound because of the clarity and sound quality of the latter.

When mastering, audio engineers use compressors to shape dynamic ranges. Compressing a signal makes the loudest passages louder, while bringing up the quietest passages. However, if the dynamic range is too narrow, the result will be audible distortion.

Static build-up on the record causes crackle

Crackle is a common sound produced by vinyl records. It can be caused by dirt buildup in the grooves of the record. This dirt can interfere with the stylus, causing the stylus to jump and produce the crackle sound. Another common cause is static build-up on the record. Whenever dust or dirt accumulates on a surface, it forms a static electric charge, which stays fixed to the surface until it is discharged.

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Record players and vinyl are highly prone to static build-up. This can be caused by several factors, including the vinyl material itself and the way the record is stored. A positively charged record will attract dust and other debris, resulting in pops and crackles. This problem is most common with new records. These records are often contaminated with static from the manufacturing process. In addition, thicker vinyl is more likely to produce static than thinner vinyl.

Another cause of crackle on vinyl records is dust. Dust is attracted to electrically charged surfaces, and when vinyl records are touched with a conductive object, this creates a static charge. This build-up of static will affect the sound quality and the cleanliness of your collection.