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Anyone who has ever seriously approached the task of digitizing vinyl records knows how tedious post-processing might be: eliminating clicks, noise etc.

If we rip more than one pressing of the same vinyl record, clicks and other distortions related to imperfections of vinyl will occur at different times. Now, if we perfectly match/align the different rips' waveforms, there is a good chance to put together a flaw-free waveform by taking good segments from different rips.

Has this approach been used? Are there tools for it, or am I speculating something that has never yet materialised?

(This question might be seen as duplicate of that one, but I am wondering is something has changed over the last 3 years. Vinyl is big again now).

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There are simply far too many variables in this as a potential workflow.. compared to, for instance, just buying the song on iTunes.

  1. How good is your record deck, DACs & other hardware, before you even get as far as a WAV file on a computer?
    I'd say, as a rough rule-of-thumb; unless your deck was a grand $£€ or more & the rest of your gear of commensurate quality, you'd do better from iTunes.
    Something like Capstan would be useful to make up for some of the issues you can have transferring from less-than-perfect systems, but it would be cheaper to buy a better deck.. Capstan is $4000 approx.

  2. No matter how good your deck, the chances of it staying phase-coherent for 4 minutes is zero.
    You're going to end up shuffling tracks by hand, or trying to time-stretch one against another.

  3. Good de-clicker software exists, but is not cheap either. Waves Restoration [click, crackle, hum removal] comes in pretty cheap at $180 Izotope are very respected for their audio cleanup tools, RX7 being the flagship at $399 for the standard version or $1200 for the full.
    Right now they have a deal on for a bundle of all their entry-level versions of all their apps for a steal at $49 rather than the usual $850 [no idea how long that will last, nor did I comprehensively check what you get in it.]

So, TL:DR unless these are truly rare vinyls you cannot get from anywhere else, even a CD or one of the online stores, iTunes etc, then just buy them from iTunes. They were at least made from the masters [some from EQ masters, some from re-masters] but all a lot closer to source than your vinyl.

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  • oooo - thanks for the info on the deal, @Tetsujin! – Rory Alsop May 28 '20 at 16:49
  • Most welcome @RoryAlsop:) - I was actually considering it myself to pick up some of the Elements versions of things I can't justify paying for the full-blown version ;-) – Tetsujin May 28 '20 at 17:20
  • You must be kidding re iTunes. It is lossy — frequencies are cut off at or below 20KHz. As far as I am concerned, the point of ripping vinyl is to preserve as much audio information that was on the studio masters as possible. This includes frequencies above 20KHz which most humans kind of do not hear or care about but some do. Any decent deck in good working order will deliver those frequencies — does not need to be a grand $£€. The question of staying phase-coherent is the most relevant here. I was hoping there will be some AI to deal with that already, but looks like none yet. – Greendrake May 29 '20 at 3:17
  • Your arguments for vinyl don't hold water, sorry. This same debate ran for years when CDs first came out. Initially it was a valid argument, but that's not been the case for 20 years or more. Vinyl has a 'perception issue' I'm afraid. How certain are you of the source before the lathe? The vinyl quality? The number of runs the stamper has done before your copy? ... – Tetsujin May 29 '20 at 8:26
  • … I do get your point as regards being able to 'average out' many copies, but you'd need software specifically written to initially pull all these different copies into phase-alignment & you still wouldn't be certain that your resultant 'average' would be any better than iTunes. At best it would be as good as your record deck/stylus/circuitry… all of which are consumer-level – Tetsujin May 29 '20 at 8:27

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