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Advice on Set-Up for Recording LPs


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Hi All,

 

I’m just getting started with recording my vinyl collection and want to see where the weak links in my recording chain might be. I’d greatly appreciate any suggestions on where to apply a little money

 

So here is what I have used to do some rips already. What I have done sounds OK and I have been happy with Peak so far (I just want to record and do a minimum of pop and scratch editing manually). While I’m interested in the technology and the differences, my main goal is to start ripping my collection of 300+ album in earnest and I don’t; want to spend the next 2 years trying to catch the next 1% increment of improvement if it means that I don’t get to listen o my music (I don’t have a good place for my turntable or to set up the speakers for decent sweet spot so it’s the iPod and the car for most of the listening right now).

 

At the same time I don’t want to be 50% through the albums and find that I should have done X, Y or Z. However, a lot of the music is punk and new wave singles from High School days; none of it very high quality to begin with (the rest is a wide mix with a lot of reggae and dub and some classic Jazz).

 

• Current IMac

• Rega Planner 25 w/Dynavetor 10x5

• Creek OBH-8SE MM Phone Pre-Amp (yes the gain is down a bit with the 10X5, but it is a high output MC and sounds great)

• Edirol UA-3d 24/48

• Peak LE 6.0 w/Sound Soap (not used much, I have taken out the big clicks manually)

 

I would be interested in recoding at 24/96 or more and I think that means I need another ADC. I have looked a bunch of places but everything seems complicated or has XLR or other inputs that don’t work with the plain old RCAs the come out of the Phono Amp. Is there a recommendation for a decent (like under $400) ADC that will work with my Phone Pre-Amp?

 

One other question may be a dumb one, but … if I record in 24/96 can I store a version in iTunes with Apple Lossless (or another lossless Codec) and preserve the goodness of the 24/96 or does it get down converted to 16/44.1?

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

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ajvare asks, if I record in 24/96 can I store a version in iTunes with Apple Lossless (or another lossless Codec) and preserve the goodness of the 24/96 or does it get down converted to 16/44.1?

 

I've done some transfers from vinyl to 24/96 and you'll simply output these as wav or aiff files. Then in iTunes you'll select "Add to Library" and this will pick up the file in full resolution. From there you can convert to ALAC.

 

My approach to this process was to get a used Alesis Masterlink. The quality of the output is good.... and it's nice to have some of my favorites available on my iPod.

 

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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In my experience with vinyl, lots of pops and ticks can be remedied by a thorough wet/vac cleaning of the records. This is vital to get the noise floor down.

 

Sometime in the future I was hoping to do more needledrops and get 24/192 files on my server to listen to when I'm not in front of my turntable.

 

The Korg MR-2000S 1-bit (SACD) recorder seems highly recommended by some engineers I know to make recordings in 128fs. Then use the supplied audiogate software to convert to 192/24 PCM files. Or you can simply use the Korg unit and playback the SACD files from the internal hard drive of the Korg unit.

 

I know some who simply transfer files to and from the Korg Unit via USB and play from the files directly on the Korg.

 

It's not a cheap solution by any means.

 

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I recommend both ClickRepair and DeNoise. This software is mathematically far more sophisticated than programs like SoundSoap (which I also own, but haven't used since getting ClickRepair almost two years ago). ClickRepair does not apply any global filters. Rather it searches music files for approximate delta functions and smoothly truncates them (locally). This means that it removes clicks and pops without changing anything that isn't *very* close (in time) to the click. Once you hear the result, you'll want it.

 

Oh -- and the person who wrote this software is only charging $40 for it, and he allows a three week unlimited trial. I bet you'll want this after trying it, and probably DeNoise as well (also $40). I now prefer listening to my digitized LPs over playing them 'live'. All the detail, sparkle, etc. is still there, but no noise at all.

 

Here is a link to the developer's website

http://wwwmaths.anu.edu.au/~briand/sound/

And, of course, I have no relation at all to him (other than the coincidence that we are both mathematicians).

 

 

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I have found that Sound Soap does dull the music and it bothers me that it is touching the whole file. I worked well for taking background noise out of some recorded speeches but then that is more a matter of being abel to hear the voice.

 

On badly scratched LP recordings I have used the "pencil" tool in Peak to go directly to the spike and edit it out. It affects a very small time span and definitely gets rid of the click. You pay for past record maintenance sins however by doing it manually; it takes long time. Programs you mention sound interesting; will check them out. Thanks.

 

PS Still looking for a reasonably priced ADC; sounds like a look of the recommendations here are pretty pricy but may be worth it as I don't want to do this twice.

 

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I have found that Sound Soap does dull the music and it bothers me that it is touching the whole file. I worked well for taking background noise out of some recorded speeches but then that is more a matter of being abel to hear the voice.

 

On badly scratched LP recordings I have used the "pencil" tool in Peak to go directly to the spike and edit it out. It affects a very small time span and definitely gets rid of the click. You pay for past record maintenance sins however by doing it manually; it takes long time. Programs you mention sound interesting; will check them out. Thanks.

 

PS Still looking for a reasonably priced ADC; sounds like a look of the recommendations here are pretty pricy but may be worth it as I don't want to do this twice.

 

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I use an Apogee Duet. It's not very expensive and does a great job. If you are willing to spend more, you can most likely do better. The software that I use with it is Sound Studio. I've tried many others, but this seems to me to be the easiest to use. Just remember to set the input sampling rate in Audio Midi Setup before beginning or you will simply be upsampling 16/44.1 with the software.

 

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Dear Ajvare:

 

I recommend the vinyl to digital transfer @ a sample rate in the 44.1k family, (88.2k or 176.4k). This will yield a better translation should you ever wish to convert the files to CDs for other playback purposes.

 

Yes, you can convert the files into a lossless format. Please pay attention the the sound of the AD converter and clocking.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Regards,

 

 

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I do all my recordings at 24/96. I have not been able to hear the difference to 192k, and have yet to hear a convincing argument to do so (but if you have one, please let me know).

 

I down-convert the files to 24/48 and then use Apple Lossless to put it on the iPod. I have found that this preserves the 'goodness' of the sound as well as I would need for 99.99999% of my iPod listening.

 

shane

 

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We used the DAD AX24 to record the Jun Fukamachi CD for First Impression Music at 32/352.8kHz. We didn't remove any ticks/pops because it took too much from what is so good about LP's. We had access to the best plugins ever made and neither really did it for us.

 

 

Regards,

Bruce

 

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Very lucky to have found this forum...

Some years ago I dabbled in converting records to CD's...did this on a fairly old PC using a creative sound card.

Having trawled this forum (and various other websites) I now understand that the creative card is not the best way to do this. The discs I made were for a party and I still have them.

Since making them I've upgraded my sound system (turntable, avr and cd/dvd player) but thought I'd do a comparo between the trusty old vinyl and the cd version of same.

After some jiggerypokery with the turntable I finally got around to doing this and now appreciate that the creative card is somewhat of a weak link (of course the old turntable is not as good as the current one either). Actually, the records were so much better than the cd's that it was astounding.

My turntable is a Pro-Ject Debut III running thru a Denon AVR 3808. I'm able to run audio cables of about 10 metres to the PC and had been thinking of installing an old creative audigy (something or other) to capture the analogue sound.

What I'm wondering is would I be better off with something like these

http://www.springwoodhifi.com.au/product.asp?id=542&pid=236 or

http://www.phonic.com/en/audio-interface/digitrack.html or

http://www.rolandcorp.com.au/default.aspx?prd=701 or

http://www.behringer.com.au/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx

or are these quite basic and not much better than (say) a creative audigy or similar. Whilst I'd love to declare myself an audiophile, that's simply not possible - I haven't won the lottery ...yet. However, if the above adc's are essentially basic, how much further up the product list does one need to go to get a cd that's on par with the original vinyl?

Thanks in advance

blairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm afraid all that you have suggested are not must better than your Audigy card. My suggestion would be is if you have a decent phono pre now, to run a line out of your Denon into something like a Benchmark or Lavry A-D. Hell... even a something half the price would be better than the Audigy!

 

 

Regards,

 

 

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I think he's looking to digitize and record to his hard drive, not just play the LP.

He's looking for a better Analog to Digital conversion than the Audigy will provide.

 

Once digitized, you are correct, playing out through a good DAC will be the way to go.

 

shane

 

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There is one point to consider in "needledrops":

 

If they should be of a pretty good quality, one have to take care and starting the whole thing with cleaning up the discs first! There are several possibilitys to do this, and because I don`t do it at a regular basis, I admitt not to comment on these here. Maybe there is a dealer who can do the job for you for a small margin ...

 

Second: The playback system - the deck, tonearm and cartridge - should be also of a good quality, and it should be set up correctly (which could be a real pita).

 

If these two points are "cleared off", a real good phono-pre and AtoD converter will benefit from the above.

 

For the mentioned turntable, something like a EMU 0404USB (maybe a 0202USB or TrackerUSBwill do fine) should fit the needs.

 

For a better playback system, I would consider getting a good (high output ) MC cartridge with a competing Phono-pre and something like the benchmark ADC-1 or the Lavry AD10.

 

Another possible way would be to use a really good Microphone-Pre with integrated AtoD converter. In that case a Phono-Pre isn`t needed anymore, but the neccessary RIAA (De-)Equalisation must be done after the recording on the computer. There are several threads out there in other forums - but I don`t have a link at hand ... sorry.

 

Cheers

Harald

(who might have the need to do such a "job" in the near future ...)

 

Esoterc SA-60 / Foobar2000 -> Mytek Stereo 192 DSD / Audio-GD NFB 28.38 -> MEG RL922K / AKG K500 / AKG K1000  / Audioquest Nighthawk / OPPO PM-2 / Sennheiser HD800 / Sennheiser Surrounder / Sony MA900 / STAX SR-303+SRM-323II

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Thanks for all the replies. Phew, lots of info there...I've clearly got quite a bit to learn.

 

The Benchmark and Lavry are well out of my league, partly on price but I suspect mostly on complexity.

 

The E-Mu is a bit more like it, however doesn't feature standard RCA inputs (which probably comes back to the level of complexity and my lack of knowledge). Presumably one can get a cable that's rca at one end and Neutrix (or whatever it is) at the other end.

 

Of course all these solutions do far more than I really require although at the other end of the product spectrum they don't seem to be a decent quality.

 

Might kick this round with my son. He's been looking at mixers (korg I think) as he wants to start making his own music and getting it into a PC.

 

Thanks again and I'll post back as to how this pans out.

 

Cheers

Blairy

 

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  • 2 months later...

blairy commented... "The E-Mu is a bit more like it, however doesn't feature standard RCA inputs (which probably comes back to the level of complexity and my lack of knowledge). Presumably one can get a cable that's rca at one end and Neutrix (or whatever it is) at the other end."

You are correct that the inputs into the E-Mu (0404 USB 2.0 I assume) are Neutrik's combination XLR / Jack. These, as you commented, are not recognisable to a HiFi user who is used to RCA / Phono connections mostly. However there are simple adaptors available which will plug into the Jack portion of the connector and easily present you with a standard RCA socket.

 

An example of the adaptor is this from Maplins in UK however a trip to Radio Shack in the US (you do still have Radio Shack don't you?) will get you the same thing. You can also use these on the output connectors if you wish to use the E-Mu as a DAC as well.

 

Hope this helps you - I know your post was a short while ago.

 

Eloise

 

Eloise

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...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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