A method for automatically characterizing non-linearities of a perpendicular read-back signal of a recording system is disclosed. The method includes using dibit extraction to obtain a read-back signal having a main pulse and a plurality of echoes where the read-back signal exhibits a baseline shift. An area under the first echo is integrated to obtain a first area where the integrating subtracts any baseline shift area within the first echo and where the first echo is associated with a first non-linearity. The method integrates an area of the read-back signal under the main pulse to obtain a second area where the integrating subtracts any baseline shift area within the main pulse. A first parameter is computed that characterizes the first non-linearity based on the first area and the second area. The method may be applied to characterize several non-linearities.