Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Audiodinosaur

dumb questions from an old guy

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I started ripping my vinyl to FLAC.  Knowing that I really didn't know what I was doing, I started with stuff I seldom listened to. Some of these were in poor condition, so I've had lots of opportunity to experiment with click repair, noise removal and high pass filters (kind of interesting to observe the wave form of an LP with an off center hole and a bump in the vinyl).

 

Before I get to ripping the good stuff, I'd like to ask some newbie questions about data other than the music.

 

When I save export an Audacity rip to FLAC, I get an opportunity to enter metadata.  Hate the format, especially for classic. 

1. When music has been saved to FLAC, can I go back later and change the metadata?

2. Can I change the fields saved? Composer, conductor, orchestra and/or performer, title of piece.  eg. Tchaikovsky's violin concerto conducted by Eugene Ormandy. Itzhak Perlman with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Lot's of data that really does not fit the standard fields.

 

Cover art seems easy to find for most "normal" stuff if all you want is a picture of the front.  What about all the notes on the back or booklets enclosed? (I've got a Charles Ives box set with a 50 page book. Some of this stuff isn't exactly mainstream.)

 

Lyrics.  I'm not quite sure what my options are here.  I see an option to add lyrics in Exact Audio Copy when I rip CDs to disc. When I hit the "add" button nothing happens. When I rip vinyl, can I do something that captures the lyrics?  Is this part of the FLAC file or a separate file?  Can lyrics be added later?

 

Sorry if these are basic questions that are common knowledge to most computer audiophiles.

 

I use Audacity to rip vinyl. (exporting to 24 bit 96K FLAC and 16 bit 44.1 WAV)

Exact Audio Copy to rip CDs.

Foobar to play music. Don't want to make irrevocable choices now if I go to something fancier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been recording vinyl digitally for over a decade, almost all of it pop/rock.  But I think I can offer some advice.

 

  1. Yes, you can edit the metadata tags of FLAC files later, and with better tools.  I use a combination of an open source tool called Kid3 and other mac tools like Tag.  The great thing about Kid3 is it will both use filenames for tags and tags for file names.  It saves a LOT of time once you get used to the interface.
  2. Yes, you can continue to further edit and refine the metadata tags as you wish.  Metadata tagging for classical titles is always a challenge for me, as there has to be an easy way to discern composer and conductor and/or musician on the fly.  Pop/rock is much easier in this regard.

Regarding cover art, I have some titles that are so obscure, I ended up using my scanner and Microsoft ICE to make my own high quality LP cover scans.  If you can justify the cost, Adobe Photoshop has a better stitcher than Microsoft's free one.  And yes, I've also scanned liner notes for the most obscure titles (and uploaded to Discogs just to "give back" to the community).  Keep in mind that a flatbed scanner capable of taking a 12' X 12' item is really expensive, so the "scan portions and stitch together" method is probably what you want.  A 50 page book is past my patience limit, good luck there. :)

 

Lyrics?  I'm aware such a tag is available, but I've never bothered with it.

 

Depending on how much you want to go down this rabbit hole, I recommend you consider commercial software like iZotope RX.  I've been using it for several years now and it beats the pants off of anything else I've used for vinyl recording.

 

If you want to expand on the workflow from vinyl capture to finished FLAC files suitable for playing on a DAP or home streamer, I'd be happy to offer additional advice.

 

Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Audiodinosaur,

 

You might be old (who isn't) but for the record I didn't see one dumb question., and the answers from Sam were very informative.


LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on the obscurity of your albums you might be able to find pdf booklets for albums that were mastered into the digital domain.  50 pages is a labor of love that will likely damage your copy and might not turn out as well as you would like if it is a bound book.    

 

One aspect you didn't mention was splitting files and naming them.  Embedding a CUE sheet is normally ideal and they aren't too hard to type up once you get the format down.  You can also make any field you want in metadata and edit files singly or in batches.  

 

Cuetools

 

MP3 Tag (not really for MP3, all music files)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, rando said:

One aspect you didn't mention was splitting files and naming them.  Embedding a CUE sheet is normally ideal and they aren't too hard to type up once you get the format down.  You can also make any field you want in metadata and edit files singly or in batches.

 

In attempting to streamline my workflows over the years, I now record each LP side, then concatenate them together in one big file.  This can be tricky with 192kHz (file can be bigger than 4GB, which, with a few exceptions, is bad) but no problem with 96kHz and lower.

 

After adding track markers, you get something like this:

 

LOF_RX.jpg

 

 

Now you can add whatever DSP and gain you like, downsample and dither as desired, and export each region to a separate file.  I find this WAY easier than working on individual files.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very helpful.  Might I ask what you feed the analog signal into to record it?  This is something I should procure in the near future before I get too large a stack going.   

 

There was a thread here last year, can't remember make/model he decided on, where the thread starter was recommended a rack mountable device that recorded to Compact Flash cards.  Not sure if there is an equally solid solution that goes direct to the editing suite on a hard drive.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, rando said:

Very helpful.  Might I ask what you feed the analog signal into to record it?  This is something I should procure in the near future before I get too large a stack going.   

 

There was a thread here last year, can't remember make/model he decided on, where the thread starter was recommended a rack mountable device that recorded to Compact Flash cards.  Not sure if there is an equally solid solution that goes direct to the editing suite on a hard drive.    

 

Well, understand that my setup has evolved and while I saw it happen over many years, it might seem like overkill to some when seeing the list all at once.

 

Here goes:

 

Pro-Ject Perspex

Audio Technica AT150MLX

Musicial Fidelity M1VINL

Antelope Audio Pure2 ADC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Direct lines to the top are not confusing.  You appear to go direct into your computer through USB with what you feel are acceptable results.  

 

I should note all of this is rather new to me.  A few weeks ago the urge to indulge in some vinyl recordings not likely to see a studio anytime soon hit me.  My self enforced limit of 50 LP's came along pretty quickly.  Now it comes down to choosing between a fairly substantial investment or sending a select few off to be cleaned and digitized.  Maybe even just unopened and VG condition copies of the same LP to see and listen to the difference in high frequencies that start dissipating after a few plays.      

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, rando said:

Direct lines to the top are not confusing.  You appear to go direct into your computer through USB with what you feel are acceptable results.  

 

I should note all of this is rather new to me.  A few weeks ago the urge to indulge in some vinyl recordings not likely to see a studio anytime soon hit me.  My self enforced limit of 50 LP's came along pretty quickly.  Now it comes down to choosing between a fairly substantial investment or sending a select few off to be cleaned and digitized.  Maybe even just unopened and VG condition copies of the same LP to see and listen to the difference in high frequencies that start dissipating after a few plays.      

 

For me, the journey has been a mixed bag.  At the end of the process, the best you can hope for is a faithful digital rendering of vinyl playback.  While I agree that vinyl has "charm", and that I've heard vinyl playback that was stunning, the less euphonic detail I've heard from well mastered digital from original master tapes always wins.  Because vinyl playback is an inherently mechanical process, a mind numbing number of things can either go wrong or be suboptimal.

 

On the plus side, I have quite a few digital recordings that I'm fairly sure no one else has, so there's that.  I would have to spend probably another $10k to get an incremental improvement from the table/phono pre.  And with the obscure stuff I record, the math tells me I would be paying hundreds of dollars for one good LP transfer.  At this point, I think I'm good with what I have.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of this depends on what era your records have come from. Myself, I have a lot of records that predate digital and while these records can be quite nasty, they can also be very nice. But they are all from a completely analog reproduction chain and this can influence what you are doing. I find that capturing record sides is easier, but does not accommodate track-to-track changes in gain. If one wants to nursemaid gain settings, then changes will be required that may be minor, or they can be fairly significant.

 

I will test the first track of an album and determine what gain settings seem appropriate for any given album. Then while recording individual tracks I watch my gear closely for any significant changes in the tracks gain and if there is any, I will adjust things accordingly.

 

This procedure is not as tedious as it may sound and I believe will result in recordings that more closely replicate what is on the record. Some equipment will accommodate this technique more readily that others and is perhaps, that which separates the equipment. Part of what is being striven for is to reduce or eliminate any "clipping" events. Clipping is when gain levels are too high and exceed a threshold. We can control this and would want to achieve recording levels of sufficient gain without any clipping.

 

Audacity is quite suitable for this whole process and will show clipping events as quite evident red lines when the recording is viewed. Sometimes there will only be a few clipping events, and sometimes there will be many ... depends on how high gain control is set. This is all pretty normal recording technique and doing ADC is no different. 

 

Records though are subject to numerous problems which can become quite evident when capturing record playback. The most important being to CLEAN THAT RECORD ! How you choose to do that perhaps is not so important except that the cleaning will determine the results. If your cleaning technique is not rigorous enough then playback will make evident any debris that has not been removed. 

 

There are a number of highly regarded cleaning machines available all of which can cost significant money and in general, will produce quite good to outstanding results. Learning to use the machine to it's utmost abilities will produce the best results. However, I use a simple cleaner called a "Spin Clean". It is a plastic tank with rollers, brushes and cleaners that is a VERY manual process.  But, with patience and perseverance you can obtain results equal to most of the machines except maybe those with ultra-sonic cleaning.

 

Whichever method is used, the cleaning of the record will have more influence on your end results than just about anything else that you can do. It is possible to capture a record that is sufficiently well recorded so that the resulting files will sound like they originated as digital output files. They will sound exactly like the records that were used as the source.

 

The captured files ... Audacity can capture pretty much whatever you might want and I found that while 16 bit 44 kHz sounds quite good, increasing bit rate and frequency generally produced better results right up to 24 bits and 192 kHz. But those high rate files are huge so do keep that in mind when determining your capture rate. I chose 24 bits and 96 kHz and in the WAVE format as my default capture technique. A wave file is like a RAW camera image, totally devoid of any compression. If you want FLAC files and I do use FLAC as my playback library format then it is easy to convert/copy your existing WAVE files to whatever format you want to use. The main reason to use FLAC in the playback library is because while we can embed metadata (tag data) into a wave file, that is not normal and takes able editors and players to utilize wave files with tag data.  Whereas, flac has none of these problems.

 

A last consideration, once you have a wave file and a flac file of the same piece of music it should be listened to with a critical ear in order to determine whether you think there is a significant, or even any differences between the play audios. Under certain circumstances, I think a wave file can sound somewhat better than a flac file although, the differences are subtle and quite dependant on the originating music and it's engineering.

 

So, modest gear can produce very good copies of records and as always, better equipment will generally create better ADC conversions. I suggest getting started and copying some records using whatever is at hand or readily available. The process is tedious but the rewards are significant and one can always buy better equipment. Some records will even justify that expense.

 

But there is something special about ADC captures that creates a digital file that has many of the qualities exhibited by vinyl playback.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...