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Pure Vinyl


Blu
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I have just read Mikey Fremer's favorable review of Pure Vinyl software in the March 2009 issue of Stereophile. Pure Vinyl is used to rip your vinyl LP's up to 24/192 digital and Mikey reckons it gives the best sound he has heard yet. It is only available for the Apple Mac at present.

 

Has anyone given it a spin, as I notice that it is being offered on discount until the end of February, just before a free version 3 update of the software is due.

 

This computer music server world just gets better and better.

 

Cheers, Blu

 

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Blu,

 

Sounds interesting, could you provide a link to the review by Mikey. Stereophile is a magazine worth listening to.

 

However, I'm laughing because you've mentioned vinyl so soon after one of the hottest threads ever to exist on this site is probably about to, erm, close/finish.

 

Matt.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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It may sound funny but there are some people, like Mikey Fremer, who claim that vinyl digitized to CDs sound better than commercial CDs. Still others claim that CDRs burned from commercial CDs ripped to the computer sound better than the original commercial CD.

 

And for some of us who have been fortunate or old enough to have had R2R tape decks, most of our music came from recorded vinyl. In fact I remember many music lovers would buy an album, record it to tape, preserve the album except for special occasions and only play the tape. Years later, the convenience of cassette tapes often replaced the R2R.

 

With the arrival of CDs and the “Perfect Sound Forever”, cassettes went by the wayside and the music industry stopped selling LPs. Many who loved music were often disappointed with the fidelity of CDs and remembered the musical satisfaction of analog vinyl and tapes. Fortunately years later the high-rez digital formats came along, SACD and DVD-A and there was a resurgence in vinyl.

 

Now we have high-rez computer audio and if Mikey Fremer has his way, I have come full circle – recording my LPs again.

 

 

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Yes I remember making up compilation cassettes from vinyl albums and 45 singles copied via a Nakamichi cassette deck, then the audiophile choice in cassette decks. I would play these in the car or using a Walkman cassette player with headphones on the train to work.

 

I have a lot of vinyl so it will be good to transfer them to digital and make use of the convenience of music servers.

 

Mikey Fremer has been digitizing vinyl for a few years now and he advises that the Pure Vinyl software for the Apple Mac produces the best result so far, even over harware recorders.

 

Blu

 

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Audiozorro,

I can't say I have A/B'd the two, for me it more a matter of cost. I believe I should buy the rights to use music in my own environments, no need to purchase twice, unless I lose my first copy or am trying to get improved sound quality out of a second purchase. You do get very good sound out of ripped vinyl when done well. So by buying the vinyl and ripping it I am getting more use as I can throw it on an Ipod and use it in my car or when I travel as opposed to only at home... Convenience factor of just using the ripped formats for background music is also good when you don't have or want to spend the time to deal with flipping sides or just to randomly go through your music...

 

Only wish Ipod, as limited as its DAC is would do high rez formats like 24/96 up to 24/192, as it would reduce the need for maintaining multiple versions for the various uses...

 

 

Regards

 

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Has anyone actually compared Pure Vinyl against any of its competitors? I am currently using Sound Studio 3. I also own Amadeus Pro and I've tried an evaluation version of Wave Editor. For me, Sound Studio is the easiest to use for transferring LPs to my computer. It cannot do 24/192, but only 24/96, which is certainly plenty for me. (It also does 32 bit sample size.)

 

I read Michael Fremer's article, and I don't recall that he compared Pure Vinyl with other software. Is it really superior to these others, or is it just that this was the one bit of software that he tried?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just read Michael Fremmer's favorable review of Pure Vinyl software in the March 2009 issue of Stereophile today. In comparing the 24/192 digital file with the original LP he states, "the sounds weren't identical, but they were awfully close; the digitized version lacked just a touch of body and warmth and added only a bit of brigthness".

 

I don't see how he determined this. Fremmer had described his setup earlier and stated "I invested in a 24-bit/192kHz Lynx L22 card" for $700. Well as far as I know the Lynx L22 card only has 24/96 digital I/O. IMO 24/96 will never equal analog so his findings are not surprising to someone who appreciates excellent digital and analog.

 

Am I missing something or is his review flawed?

 

 

 

 

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Is Mikey fiddling with the eq in the software? Because if he is using the same ADC and has a bit-perfect digital path from there to disc, there should be no audible difference between discs made from one piece of software and another. I know some audiophiles disagree, and I'll not argue the point further, but I've yet to hear from a computer scientist with nothing to sell, who said bits were anything but bits.

 

Caveat emptor. Regardless of who Mikey writes for.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Mikey wouldn't have to 'fiddle with the eq in Pure Vinyl. Pure Vinyl comes with an "RIAA equalized" setting that is designed to replicate the 'sound' of vinyl without having to use a phono preamp. I'm fairly sure that that is the 'default' setting. I don't know if that is what Mikey used, but that is pretty much the point of Pure Vinyl - It attempts to replicate the sound of vinyl. I haven't used it myself yet. But I intend to give it a try...

 

- markr

 

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Anyone who thinks a Lynx L22 cannot make a 24/192 digital recording from vinyl is sadly mistaken. It can.

 

Personally I think it's a pretty pointless thing to do since to capture entirely the frequency and dynamic range of a vinyl lp requires much less than 24/192 offers. IMO 24/48 is more than adequate.

 

I have not read the Stereophile article, so I don't know how he replayed the file, but having made the 24/192 recording the problem is then to replay it. The L22 cannot do this without reducing it to 24/96 but I think that would be ok.

 

If you wish to replay the 24/192 file in its native mode then first you have to find a piece of replay software that will handle that. Then you have to find a dac with a 24/192 input capability and use it for replay instead of the lynx card.

 

I do have equipment which will handle the 24/192 both in and out, and again IMO, if a recording is properly made 24/48 is good enough and absolutely indistinguishable from playing the original record.

 

Again imo, another serious error is to use digital riaa correction whist making the master recording. The cut and boost levels require about 40db of headroom which detracts directly from the overall dynamic range available. In practice there is usually about 90-100db available which leaves 50-60db net for the music on the record. Barely enough for a good vinyl and not likely to be achieved in practice as the modulation setting would then be very critical and no room would be available for matching the device gain sensitivities of the chain, if digital level control is employed as it is in the L22.

 

Far better is to use a convention analogue phono stage of known quality for the riaa eq, and to use an ADC with an analogue level control on the input, so as to maximise the digital dynamic range available. Some of this range could then, if absolutely necessary, be employed to run additional digital eq at low levels just to clean up what might be perceived as inaccuracies in the overall eq response.

 

In fact the above system is mandatory almost when transcribing 78's properly since they vary widely with date and manufacturer as far as eq is concerned and do not employ riaa at all since it wasn't agreed upon till vinyl was commonplace. Even early vinyl doesn't use riaa eq.

 

All in all the lynx cards are a poor choice for digitizing LP's and will result in less than perfect results almost always.

 

A much better choice is a UA25, but the real test is the skill of the operator in getting the settings, eq, and levels right. It does require practice but is definitely capable of producing a digital file which is audibly indistinguishable from playing the record.

 

And 24/96 is perfectly good enough.

 

Regards JCBrum.

 

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Hi JC - Thanks for the info. Have you done much A to D of Vinyl? It sounds like it but I just want to make sure I know where you're coming from or if you've only read about it in places. Not judging, just want to get a solid perspective on your opinion which will help everyone out.

 

I do have a question for you about the Lynx L22 supporting 24/192. I'm guessing you have a little more insight on this than I do because it looks like the card tops out at 24/96. Help me out on this one.

 

 

Thanks JC.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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I've digitized a lot of records. My speciality is 1925-1935 which is 78's but unusual vinyl interests me too.

 

Songs by the Andrews Sisters, (ask your grand-pa) are a good example. They sold more records than the Beatles, and Elvis Presley who bridged 78's and vinyl, especially 45's.

 

I'm not a fan of the vinyl album at all. It was only introduced as an extra money-making project for the record companies.

 

33.3 rpm vinyl 12" was intended for classical performances which could not be accommodated on 4 minute 78's properly. Popular music was always sold by the 3-4 minute song on 'single' records, and in my opinion still should be so. Downloads are great for this, and albums are a boring abomination.

 

Classical performances are superb on vinyl 12" however, but better on digital, where the play length is not critical at all.

 

Therefore the thinking man will digitize his records, albums especially, so as to achieve the flexibility of making up desirable playlists, much as we used to do by making 'compilation tapes' with tape recorders, but much more easily, and still preserve the 'vinyl sound' if that's what is desired. (not always, especially the clicks)

 

Turning to the L22, here is an extract from the instruction manual ....

 

Appendix

Specifications

Analog I/O

Number Two inputs /Two outputs

Type Electronically balanced or unbalanced, XLR connectors on

L2Audio Cable

Level +4 dBu nominal /+20dBu max. or -10dBV nominal / +6dBV

max., software selectable in channel pairs

Bandwidth < 10Hz – 92 kHz @ 200 kHz sample rate

< 10Hz – 46 kHz @ 96 kHz sample rate

< 10Hz – 23 kHz @ 48 kHz sample rate

(analog input to analog output)

............................................................................

 

The ADC will do 24/192 but the dac will only do 24/96 in most applications. Thats why you think it's a 24/96 card because mostly hi-fi folk only use it for playback. (why bother these days, just use usb or toslink, it's free !)

 

Lynx cards were originally designed to drive older digital mixing desks / audio workstations and so are entirely software controlled. Not an ideal setup for audiophile use, where we are greatly concerned with the analogue bits at the front, like mics and pre-amps, and record players, and analogue bits at the back end like amps and speakers.

 

I think the popularity of Lynx cards stems from CES about two or three years ago, when outfits like Reference Recordings and others, were demonstrating digital playback of their high resolution files through high end hi-fi kit. Basically none of the dealers had a clue how to do it so they asked the smaller (cheaper) studio guys to help set up the kit. Those guys had pentium PC's running XP and used Lynx cards to connect to their mixing desks, so thats what they knew about and thats what they used. It took off and everyone else copied them. (yes, you as well Coops!). It's actually still documented on the Reference Recordings website, in the notes.

 

For true audiophile use a lynx card is almost totally useless. Most people have their favorite dac, which if it's properly designed will use an input which can be directly connected to a low cost computer. Toslink, sp/dif, usb, and 1394a firewire are all good enough for the best audio results when used with properly designed equipment.

 

Hope this is of some interest,

 

JCBrum.

 

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If you think my reference to the Andrews Sisters is off topic have a look at these pages ....

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4kR8OQCrlQ

 

 

 

The music video of "Candyman" by Miss Aguilera, on the iTunes store is a work of art, both for the sound quality and also the brilliant video editing, to give the impression that Miss A. is all three Andrews Sisters.

 

Try the iTunes demo's if you don't believe me.

 

JCBrum.

 

P.S. I found this review (from 2003 ! ) of the L22 ... The conclusion of which was ......

 

IS IT WORTH IT?

 

At an MSRP of $749, the L22 is certainly not for everyone. But with performance that truly rivals stand-alone converters, which cost far more, the L22 is an excellent and affordable choice for mastering, DVD authoring and other applications that don't require synchronization. Now, if only the rest of my system could support 192 kHz.

 

http://www.lynxstudio.com/news_media_detail.asp?i=20

 

JC.

 

 

 

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"Hey Tim,

 

Mikey wouldn't have to 'fiddle with the eq in Pure Vinyl. Pure Vinyl comes with an "RIAA equalized" setting that is designed to replicate the 'sound' of vinyl without having to use a phono preamp. I'm fairly sure that that is the 'default' setting. I don't know if that is what Mikey used, but that is pretty much the point of Pure Vinyl - It attempts to replicate the sound of vinyl. I haven't used it myself yet. But I intend to give it a try..."

 

I don't think I understand. Wouldn't the record run through a phono pre when played into the ADC? And if so, then wouldn't an RIAA equalized setting double the RIAA equalization? I'm sure I'm missing something.

 

Tim

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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Last time I looked, you could turn the riaa software eq on or off in PV.

 

The interesting thing is, .... if it was on ..... you need a phono stage with an L22 to get the signal up to line level, so .... if he used a phono stage ...... he must have turned the riaa off in PV.

 

If you see what I mean ........

 

PV is far from unique in providing software eq anyway ......

 

JC.

 

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I have a bunch of Vinyl Rips on my hard drive and when I play them back through my Audio Note Tube USB based Dac, I feel the vinyl rips sound more natural and analog when compared to the same recordings from CD. In some recordings, the difference is Night and Day, Vinyl wins.

 

Liz

 

Powerbook G4 15 inch Aluminum, \"Fidela,\" M2tech EVO (BNC)with RF attenuator,dedicated PSU, Stereovox XV Ultra (BNC) Audio Note Dac Kit 2.1 Level B Signature Upgraded to 12AU7 tubes, ARC SP-16L Tube preamp , VAC PA100/100 Tube Amp), Vintage Tubes, Furutech ETP-80, (Alon 2 Mk2, (upgraded tweeters, Usher Woofers), Pangea Power cords, Omega Micro Active Planar PC. Signal Cable Silver Resolution ICs.

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...one would not need a phono pre when playing into the ADC as long as you can properly control your ADC system's gain structure. This supposition is from reading the documentation for PV and not any real experience with it however. Judging by his post, JCBrum seems to have some experience with it though and maybe could expand on that matter further. I don't have any direct experience with Pure Vinyl yet, having only downloaded the demo and read some of the 'manual'. My point about the EQ portion of things however, was that if it has an RIAA equalization curve built in, THAT in itself is changing the EQ. so Mikey wouldn't have to change any EQ - it is already changed. From what I see in the documentation, you certainly can switch off the RIAA curve in the software, and that may or may not be what Mikey did - The website also sells a hardware phono-preamp for just such a purpose. Right now, the details are 'mystery' to me. I'm sure I'll try PV, I just don't know when I will try it.

 

- markr

 

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There are four serious problems with records .....

 

1. sig to noise ratio - surface noise is high (compared to silence)

 

2. dynamic range - too much and the groove excursions are too violent.

 

3. geometry preservation in playback - lots of peculiar forces causing distortion.

 

4. playing time - you either need very big records or very fine grooves or both, and it's still not enough.

 

Leaving aside 3. for the moment, which is mostly a playback problem, RIAA eq addresses the others. It increases playing time and increases signal to noise very considerably, perhaps double.

 

However it works by deliberate distortion introduced into the original master cut. What is put on the record is not what the original performance sounded like. What your hear on conventional replay is an artificial re-construction, created from the information on the record, by applying further distortion, but in the opposite sense. That is the purpose of RIAA eq.

 

It was employed purely for financial reasons to make the records cheaper and smaller than they would otherwise be. i.e. more music per square inch of black stuff. - that's it, nothing else.

 

It works this way, - mics are connected to special pre-amps which boost high frequencies and cut low frequencies - a lot !

 

That modified (distorted) signal is then put on the record. You buy the record in that state, and if you played it straight through a perfect amp and speakers it would sound awful. So, you have to buy a special pre-amp which has tone controls in it, and apply a lot of bass boost and treble cut. Then it might sound a bit like the original performance. They're called 'phono stages'.

 

So much for the 'purity' and 'accuracy' of vinyl, - ha, what a laugh !

 

Whatever way you want to achieve it you've got to apply heavy frequency response modifications to the recording to make it sound 'right', and you can do this with a phono stage, or with a 'straight' non-distorting pre-amp and apply digital frequency response mods. - Take your pick !

 

I choose to use a phono stage with selectable eq (RIAA or otherwise) to get a feed at line level to the ADC. Then by a process of careful analysis make final small adjustments in the digital domain to get the resultant frequency response completely accurate and appropriate.

 

After having tried both systems extensively for many years that's my conclusion. YMMV.

 

JCBrum.

 

 

 

 

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... in my case, you are preaching to the choir. You are also telling people what to like. I do not understand the percentages in either equation. Do you? These sort of post are really becoming tiresome. Thirdly, you didn't answer the question posed as to whether one needed a phono preamp for Pure Vinyl or not. The question was not about the worth of doing this, it was about HOW to do it.

 

This sort of communication seems to be more and more prevalent online lately. Is the cause of it the fact that many of us have lost our jobs or are about to? I don't know, but this sort of communication is not acceptable. Please screech somewhere else if you cannot control your rage.

 

- markr

 

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"So much for the 'purity' and 'accuracy' of vinyl, - ha, what a laugh !"

 

-- Of course none of this means you can't "like" the sound that comes out at the end of all of this compensation better. That is a matter of taste. We could avoid a lot of analog/digital arguments on audiophile forums is we could just get there: "I "like" vinyl better." The problem is when people must insist that it IS better, not that they like it better.

 

Tim

 

 

 

I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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