Recently I've been working on some tracks to be released later this year which have a Old Skool vibe to them, one of the things I wanted to do with one of the tracks was to make it sound like it is being played on traditional vinyl by having a record needle put down at the start and then bring in the crackles, hum and sound just like a record. One way to do this is to actually put it on vinyl and then rerecord it, but that's just too hard, costs money and has uncontrollable results. Thankfully it wasn't too hard to do and we show you below how I managed to do this.
Here's a quick example of the intro of the track to give you an idea of what you could create using this technique.
I am pretty pleased with the results and believe it would fool many people into believing that it is a real recording from an old vinyl. So here is how it was done with a little bit of help from some free software.
Firstly I needed a sample of a record being put down at the beginning and as I had some decks to hand to hand. I just recorded from a direct input whilst we put some vinyl on. No record player or decks? No worries, here is the sample, use it if you need to.
25 putneedledown.wav (Right Click > Save As)
I could have also recorded some crackle noise too and then looped it but thankfully there is some free software that emulates vinyl and best of all it is free. It's also a lot better because you can set it to just the way you want the vinyl to sound. The software is called iZotope Vinyl.
IZotope Vinyl is an effect plugin and by putting through your final mix allows you to mix in mechanical noise, electrical noise, wear, dust, scratch, warp and also emulate a year for the vinyl to sound. I just wanted to use it for the noise it created, so simply placed it on a separate channel and set it up to sound how we wanted it. By using it on the final mix as an effect it was slightly changing the sound of the music by adding something to the mix that must be emulating vinyl, this felt like there was less control over the final sound.
Next I automated the mute button on the channel with the effect on so that it would un-mute just after our needle put down sound and the effect was nearly complete. Lastly vinyl is mastered a different way to a CD and one of the more noticeable differences is that a vinyl mix will has less bass so we roll off the bass below about 50Hz using E.Q. to emulate vinyl mastering. Job Done.
I think the wanted effect was achieved pretty easily and the results were pretty decent. It is nice effect to add that little something extra to a track on an album. Giving an authentic feeling in the age of digital.
This is also good effect if you've made a track that doesn't fit too well with the sound of other tracks on an album, for example you might have a bit of a noisy track or a track that you just can't get the mix right. Whack this on and you can pretend that you meant it to be like that and it was an artistic decision. ;)