Record Restorations is operating againHaving provided this service between 2002 and 2009, I found it necessary to suspend the service indefinitely due to other commitments. Those commitments have now receded and I have therefore resumed the provision of the service, now in simplified form.
Conditions may have changed in some ways since 2009, but there is still a mountain of vinyl out there which has never been reissued in digital form. Such records are the main reason for and focus of this service, though of course I am happy to deal with any vinyl record a customer wishes to have me process.
The service in a nutshellFirstly, as referred to above, I deal with vinyl records only - 12-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch etc, playable at 33⅓ or 45 rpm, and I aim to make transfers to CD of the very highest professional quality.
The pricing structure is straightforward - £50 per 12-inch 33⅓rpm disc, £40 per 10-inch 33⅓, £30 per 7-inch 45 rpm disc.
For these prices, your vinyl record gets the full treatment designed to bring you a high-quality transfer:
- comprehensive professional record cleaning;
- optional pitch-variation correction;
- digitisation using the very highest quality of hi-fi and computer sound equipment;
- minimally-invasive digital processing to remove the thousands of tiny clicks and pops which are present on every vinyl record;
- manual division into tracks;
- immediate email/web delivery of the cleaned-up tracks for you to play;
- return of your record(s) along with an attractive case, for each disc, featuring a quality copy of your record's artwork (if any), and of course a CD containing your tracks.
More details in a section further down.
(Please note: it is necessary to return your record(s) as UK law insists that you retain the original media after digitisation or copying of any kind.)
How to orderThe first thing to do is to email me at the address below with a brief description of what you propose to send me for processing and transfer. Hopefully all of your questions are answered on this page, but you can also use the address link for general enquiries if you wish.
I have found Royal Mail to be at least as good as any courier service, so this is what I use exclusively.
Vinyl records are actually quite robust, especially when there is more than one, so it is not necessary to go overboard with your packaging. As I will use the same packaging to return them to you, you can expect the cost of returning them to you to be similar.
I always use Recorded Delivery, but if you wish to have your records returned using Special Delivery you can request this and include the extra cost in your final bill.
The transfer process in more detailFirstly, please be assured that your treasured record(s) will be handled with the utmost care, and indeed will only out of their cover(s) while cleaning and capturing take place.
Cleaning. Once I receive your records, the first job is to clean them thoroughly using a professional VPI wet/vacuum record-cleaning machine imported from the US. A record in good condition that has been through this process looks like new and already sounds pretty good (on high-end hi-fi equipment) in most cases.
Pitch variation correction. At this stage it is possible to better prepare your record for the digitisation/capturing process. Some records have their spindle hole considerably off-centre. This can affect the sound when the record is played by raising and lowering the pitch with every revolution of the record. If you still have a turntable you may be able to hear this for yourself. Alternatively, you can watch the tonearm head to see if it moves from side to side with each revolution.
It is possible to correct this by enlarging the centre-hole and placing the record accurately on the turntable so that the position of the tonearm remains stable as the record turns.
However, as it involves physical modification of your record, I will only carry out this process if you specifically request it.
(Modern digital recording systems do not suffer from this problem, of course.)
Digitisation/capturing. As mentioned above, I use only the highest quality of hi-fi equipment to play the record and capture the sound it contains onto hard disc. I currently use the Linn Sondek LP12 / Ittok LV II / Goldring cartridge for this digitisation process, ensuring the maximum extraction of quality detailed sound from your record. The LP vs CD page contains information which gives more information on this. Also, you can view the current Linn Sondek LP12 at Linn's site.
At this stage I trim the recorded signal. Your CD won't contain the sound of the stylus dropping onto the record, for example, or leaving it again. Gaps between tracks will be appropriate.
The process results in a large .wav file which has the entire content of your record at its clearest and cleanest in one file.
Please note that if your record is badly damaged in some way, I will not play it as it could also damage my £150 stylus. It might be possible to salvage undamaged parts of the record.
Noise removal. If your record is not too badly worn, it likely still contains thousands of small clicks and pops. I use very sophisticated software at a light setting to remove these without compromising the sound quality in any way. More badly worn records may require a more thorough treatment, though I will always give priority to purity of the sound from the record, even if it still contains a few disturbances.
Division into tracks. At this point the large .wav file is divided into tracks much as they appear on commercial CDs. This results in a collection of smaller .wav files which when played in sequence behave exactly like playing a CD.
If payment has already been received by me, I will immediately send these files to you via the web. If not, I will ask for payment and when received I will send them as soon as possible afterwards.
What else you will receive. I now proceed to write all af the tracks onto a CD-R. The disc will be packed in a jewel case with a paper insert featuring a high-quality copy of the record cover and a track listing. I will include this in the package returning your record(s).
How long does the service take?
I do my best to keep up with demand so that customers have short waiting times. If I am away (I'm never away for very long) your order will receive my attention upon my return.
Once I receive your records, you should not normally have to wait more than a day or two for the digital files to be sent to you.
If, for any reason, you are unhappy about what you feel has been done to your record, or are in any way dissatisfied with the result, I will return your money without fuss if you feel that your concerns have not been fully addressed.
A selection of comments made by previous customers.
'Fantastic, is all I can say'
Mr S R, Yorkshire
'I am absolutely delighted with the quality'
John Samuels, Middlesex
'Just received CDs. Superb'
Mr S W, Cumbria
'What a miraculous job you've done!'
Mr N H, Cambridgeshire
'Received [the CDs] and my wife is delighted, and so am I!'
Mr M K, Cambridgeshire
'Thank you again for the remarkable attention and care you gave to this wonderful transfer, and for your tremendous musical sense and technical expertise'
Mr M M, Portland, Oregon, USA
Mr S T, London
'[The transfers] you provided last year are superb'
Mr B L, Surrey
'I received the latest batch safely this morning - absolutely stunning results! Many, many thanks.'
Nick Hedges, Ely, Cambridgeshire
'The quality is absolutely brilliant. Thank you'
Stephen Bradbury, Huddersfield
'Thanks for the superb job you did on my records'
Mr J A, London
'The transfers are excellent'
Mr D T, Perthshire
'I'm really chuffed with the result and I'll be using you again!'
Mr J H, Oxfordshire
'Excellent work! I'm very pleased'
Kevin Greer, Gwent
'I have not stopped playing the CD you made for me - I am so pleased with it'
Ms T L, London
'I am delighted with your service and will not hesitate to use and recommend you in future'
S Burns, Glasgow
'Fast, efficient and great quality - I will definitely use this service again'
Andrew Barnes, Leeds
'I would recommend this service to anyone - it is A1'
Conrad Smith, London