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audiojerry

a/d analog to digital converter recommendatons

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I'm looking for a good quality but not too pricey A/D converter to transfer my favorite lp's to high qulaity digital flac or aif files. I recently tried the inexpensive Behringer UFO202 with free open recording software Audacity, but was not at all satisfied with the 24/96 results. I'm not sure if the shortcomings are due to the Audacity or the a/d converter inside the Behringer.  One mistake I probably

made was using the Behringer phonostage rather than the output from my much better Vincent PHO-8 phonostage.

 

Any recommendations on A/D converters or recording software would be greatly appreciated. I've looked into DAW Digital Audio Workstations, but they seem to be overloaded with functions and features I don't need.    

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Here is one objective test comparing "pro" AD DA converters using a repeatable procedure, that folks can run themselves if they wish: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost.php?p=14093948&postcount=1776

 

While the Lynx Hilo is on top (it is amazingly transparent!), any one of the converters listed in this thread will work just fine. The simple reality is that LP's typically have 10 to 12 bits of resolution  and even the most mint, first time use from top mastering labs like Analogue Productions may make it to 14 bits of resolution (max).

 

Wrt bandwidth. While there may be some output in the 20 to 24 kHz range on an LP and in some rarefied cases higher, the real limitation is the source. Meaning microphones, mixing consoles, effects boxes, tape machines, tape heads, tape electronics, tape itself, compressors/limiters, mastering lab amps, etc, and on it goes. Not to mention most speakers , when measured, don't have significant output beyond 20 kHz anyway. Most studios then and now, still consider 20 Hz to 20 kHz as the standard bandwidth. I would consider 24/192 kHz to already be overkill. 24/96 kHz is more than enough and even 24/48 kHz is likely to be just fine. Source: ex recording/mixing engineer that spent +10,000 hours in the chair.

 

Personally, I would grab one of the higher ranking AD DA converters in the list above plus a copy of Vinyl Studio and start converting and then enjoying the music!

 

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I spent many moons researching the topic, and do R&D for a living.  What you want is a Korg MR-2000S or MR-2000SBLK.  It’s been discontinued, but you can find NOS units on eBay for under $1K. 

 

And then, you want to use VinylStudio for software rather than Audacity.  The key point is how proud are you of your turntable, and how many LPs do you want to record?

 

They’re not big on vinyl over here - with apologies to Chris you may want to head over to the Audio Asylum with their Vinyl forum.  Lots of sound advice over there.

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14 hours ago, SJK said:

I spent many moons researching the topic, and do R&D for a living.  What you want is a Korg MR-2000S or MR-2000SBLK.  It’s been discontinued, but you can find NOS units on eBay for under $1K. 

 

And then, you want to use VinylStudio for software rather than Audacity.

I used the Korg DS-DAC-10R and VinylStudio to record my LP's at 88.2/24 and am very satisfied with the results. It loses a bit of the finesse, but convenience and click & pop removal more than make up for it. Available for just over $400 on Amazon.com.

 

"Inside the DS-DAC-10R, you’ll find the same PCM4202 (made by TI) AD converter used in the MR-2000S 1-bit studio recorder. We have insisted on the same exacting quality as this recorder—which continues to be used in many professional studios." 

https://www.korg.com/caen/products/audio/ds_dac_10r/. 

 

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4 hours ago, audiojerry said:

Thanks to all for your advice and recommendations.

Dude.  You should tell us what turntable and cartridge you plan on using and how many LPs you plan on recording. 

 

I know it seems a bit obvious, but the recordings are only as good as your vinyl rig.  If you don’t have the gear, you may want to look at other options.

 

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I have been using a Metric Halo ULN8 ADC/DAC to digitize my LPs to PCM 192/24. I have an older version which is Mac only firewire connected, but newer versions use usb and work with Windows as well. The ULN8 has excellent preamps and can be modified to work as a phono pre. It also comes with really good recording software and dsp which provides a digital RIAA filter.

 

i've used it plus Izotope RX Advanced to digitize thousands of LPs, and I'm very happy with the results I've obtained. I haven't checked lately, but a few years ago, it was very easy to find used ULN8s.

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19 hours ago, ronfint said:

I have been using a Metric Halo ULN8 ADC/DAC to digitize my LPs to PCM 192/24. I have an older version which is Mac only firewire connected, but newer versions use usb and work with Windows as well. The ULN8 has excellent preamps and can be modified to work as a phono pre. It also comes with really good recording software and dsp which provides a digital RIAA filter.

 

i've used it plus Izotope RX Advanced to digitize thousands of LPs, and I'm very happy with the results I've obtained. I haven't checked lately, but a few years ago, it was very easy to find used ULN8s.

The key words are that you’re happy with the result.  I always had this paranoid fear that as I changed my vinyl rig I would find that I had to go back and record a bunch of LPs again. That never happened, but I did get a lot more fussy about how the turntable was setup.

 

We’ll have to wait and see if the OP has any commentary. 

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IMO, if your going to go thru the effort of ripping all your albums its probably best to save up for the best unit you can get your hands on. If it were me, I would hold out for an Ayre QA-9 or a Benchmark ADC1 and as Mitcho mentioned, I'm sure the Hilo will do a fine job as well which is probably the cheaper option of the 3 mentioned and has other capabilities you may be able to use as well.

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9 hours ago, cjf said:

IMO, if your going to go thru the effort of ripping all your albums its probably best to save up for the best unit you can get your hands on. If it were me, I would hold out for an Ayre QA-9 or a Benchmark ADC1 and as Mitcho mentioned, I'm sure the Hilo will do a fine job as well which is probably the cheaper option of the 3 mentioned and has other capabilities you may be able to use as well.

What sound quality information do you have to rank any of the AD converters recommended in this thread?

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I have also some other ADCs like Prism Lyra, which is also very good performer, but limited to 192/24 PCM. Should be enough for vinyl though, if one wants PCM. But I would personally go with DSD256 recording for vinyl.

 

At some point I'll hopefully also have the new Merging Anubis, which is potentially good for the purpose too.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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On 9/14/2019 at 4:53 PM, ronfint said:

Unless one has only very new records, some processing post conversion will be needed. (I really like iZotope RX Advanced for this.)  If a record is converted to DSD, how does denoising get done?

 

You'd maybe need to develop tools for that, entirely possible though.

 

But I don't do denoising, so far I find they all cause more harm than good. But you can always preserve the original DSD as master and convert it to for example 705.6/32 PCM for experimenting with PCM tools if you like to.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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8 hours ago, Miska said:

 

You'd maybe need to develop tools for that, entirely possible though.

 

But I don't do denoising, so far I find they all cause more harm than good. But you can always preserve the original DSD as master and convert it to for example 705.6/32 PCM for experimenting with PCM tools if you like to.

 

I agree on de-noise algorithms.  Some aren't bad, but all are causing more harm than good.  I've manually removed clicks and sounds caused by scratches.  Otherwise leave it alone.  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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9 hours ago, esldude said:

I agree on de-noise algorithms.  Some aren't bad, but all are causing more harm than good.   

I disagree. The default VinylStudio denoising algorithms do no harm that I can detect. Some of the second-hand records I own that were almost unlistenable due to surface noise and ticks, now either sound fully restored or at at least enjoyable.

 

I could find no technical reason to record at resolutions beyond 88/24. I chose to PCM over DSD, for several reasons:

- PCM is more universally playable.

- DSD recording is kludgy with Vinyl Studio

- Tagging, downloaded track separations, song titles, album covers is problematic.

- DSD recording loses processing capabilities:

  • RIAA equalisation when recording (which I did not use)
  • declicking and patching filters (hiss, hum, rumble, graphic equaliser, normalisation and equalisation curves / FFT filter)
  • fading tracks in and out (huge loss with some albums)

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6 hours ago, audiobomber said:

I disagree. The default VinylStudio denoising algorithms do no harm that I can detect. Some of the second-hand records I own that were almost unlistenable due to surface noise and ticks, now either sound fully restored or at at least enjoyable.

 

I could find no technical reason to record at resolutions beyond 88/24. I chose to PCM over DSD, for several reasons:

- PCM is more universally playable.

- DSD recording is kludgy with Vinyl Studio

- Tagging, downloaded track separations, song titles, album covers is problematic.

- DSD recording loses processing capabilities:

  • RIAA equalisation when recording (which I did not use)
  • declicking and patching filters (hiss, hum, rumble, graphic equaliser, normalisation and equalisation curves / FFT filter)
  • fading tracks in and out (huge loss with some albums)

Yes, I've used Vinyl Studio.  Excellent software.  If you have something so noisy it borders on unlistenable, then this software can do wonders and make it enjoyable.  On better LP's that are merely somewhat noisy, I find it has an audible signature.  Not much of one, and if someone is hyper-sensitive to all noise still a good choice.  On fairly quiet disks with some minor noise here and there I prefer to leave it as is.  

 

I'm not a proponent of DSD for the reason you can't do much processing.  I do recommend using 88 or 96 khz when doing needle drops.  Nothing more.  I've found 44 and 48 khz not quite enough.  Though with better ADCs it might be.  


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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9 hours ago, audiobomber said:

- DSD recording is kludgy with Vinyl Studio

 

I just use my own software to record in DSD with ADI-2 Pro. It is at least equally kludgy as PCM in my case... :D

 

9 hours ago, audiobomber said:

- Tagging, downloaded track separations, song titles, album covers is problematic.

 

I don't think tagging and album covers is any different from PCM, since DSF file format supports ID3v2 tags and MP3tag can tag DSF files.

 

9 hours ago, audiobomber said:

RIAA equalisation when recording (which I did not use)

 

I can do that if I want, but I prefer to use analog RIAA in the phono stage.

 

9 hours ago, audiobomber said:

declicking and patching filters (hiss, hum, rumble, graphic equaliser, normalisation and equalisation curves / FFT filter)

 

I can already do any kind of eq (due to convolution engine) and normalization, just haven't implemented the other stuff yet. I could also do reverb/echo, but not relevant in this scope.. :D

 

9 hours ago, audiobomber said:

fading tracks in and out (huge loss with some albums)

 

I have that too in the sofware, but no way to edit such (yet).

 

 

You can of course do quite a bit of DSD editing with tools like Merging Pyramix (with DSD option).

 

You can of course always convert DSD master to PCM for processing. With any modern ADC the digital data begins as DSD-like data and then gets converted into PCM by the ADC chip in digital domain. I rather leave that phase out or for later. If you use for example your Korg DS-DAC-10R, or Korg MR-2000S, or TASCAM DA-3000, or something like RME HDSPe AIO card, the ADC chip is really running at DSD128 also when you record PCM and just converting it to PCM for you.

 

If you don't still care about DSD recording capabilities and want pre-converted PCM, there are plenty of options out there. The ADI-2 Pro is still a good option and so is Prism Lyra too.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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I wish I can keep my vinyl collection, see no point in recording BUT think it would be nice to apply via HQP same convolution filters I use with digital sources to vinyl source (excellent, much more expensive/ambitious than my TEAC 501)

 

suggestion of ADC for that ?

 

ADI-2 Pro DSD 256 recording capabilities seem overkill, thus overcost, except if it can perform SIMULTANEOUSLY and reliably as ADC fed by my phono pre and as a DAC that would be significantly better than my TEAC 501 (otherwise I 'd rather dream of a Merlot and think I would be happy settling for a second hand T+A DSD 8)

 

 

 

 


I❤️ HQP and convolution (REW + RePhase for correcting frequency and time domains for the actual results presented below)

Currently investigating Embedded on mid 2012 15" rMacBP> 2.0 certified Supra > Green Regen > NAA (Miska's Linux image on MB Air)> TEAC UD 501> (balanced output) >Cardas Golden Ref> JRRG all balanced pre> Cabasse system with clean deep LF extension via 36 cm active drivers, played live loud

 

 

 

Proofing B&K C @ -9 copie-Modifier-2.jpg

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11 hours ago, Le Concombre Masqué said:

I wish I can keep my vinyl collection, see no point in recording BUT think it would be nice to apply via HQP same convolution filters I use with digital sources to vinyl source (excellent, much more expensive/ambitious than my TEAC 501)

 

suggestion of ADC for that ?

 

ADI-2 Pro DSD 256 recording capabilities seem overkill, thus overcost, except if it can perform SIMULTANEOUSLY and reliably as ADC fed by my phono pre and as a DAC that would be significantly better than my TEAC 501 (otherwise I 'd rather dream of a Merlot and think I would be happy settling for a second hand T+A DSD 😎

 

Same ADC's I already mentioned. ADI-2 Pro or Lyra. Note that from usability perspective ADI-2 is easier because it can be fully operated from the front panel. Lyra needs it's own control application and is thus bound to Windows and macOS.

 

I would go for ADI-2. At the moment you cannot use it for both input and output simulataneously in HQPlayer. And to keep processing power needs lower, it is anyway useful to run ADC at lower rate for such processing (like 705.6/32 PCM or DSD128) and then output at higher rate like DSD256 - which means that in any case same device cannot be used for input and output simultaneously.

 

I don't think it's an overkill. But there are of course many many other possible devices at lower price if you settle for 192/24  or lower inputs.

 

 

By the way, if you are thinking about Merlot as DAC, have you thought about Pinot as ADC? I have not tested Pinot myself (only Merlot), but that could be sort of natural combination.

 

Mytek has also ADC, but I have not tested that one either.

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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14 hours ago, Miska said:

 

Same ADC's I already mentioned. ADI-2 Pro or Lyra. Note that from usability perspective ADI-2 is easier because it can be fully operated from the front panel. Lyra needs it's own control application and is thus bound to Windows and macOS.

 

I would go for ADI-2. At the moment you cannot use it for both input and output simulataneously in HQPlayer. And to keep processing power needs lower, it is anyway useful to run ADC at lower rate for such processing (like 705.6/32 PCM or DSD128) and then output at higher rate like DSD256 - which means that in any case same device cannot be used for input and output simultaneously.

 

I don't think it's an overkill. But there are of course many many other possible devices at lower price if you settle for 192/24  or lower inputs.

 

 

By the way, if you are thinking about Merlot as DAC, have you thought about Pinot as ADC? I have not tested Pinot myself (only Merlot), but that could be sort of natural combination.

 

Mytek has also ADC, but I have not tested that one either.

 

thank you ; I don't have at all the money for a  Merlot and Pinot at the moment. Might happen but as I wrote : dream for the time being

 

btw, is it worth dreaming of a Merlot  or a T+A 8 DSD, both HQP fed EC @256, would be non distinguable ?

 

for the record, as ADC for records,  there's also the discontinued TASCAM UH 7000 you once recommended that looks as the cheapest good solution


I❤️ HQP and convolution (REW + RePhase for correcting frequency and time domains for the actual results presented below)

Currently investigating Embedded on mid 2012 15" rMacBP> 2.0 certified Supra > Green Regen > NAA (Miska's Linux image on MB Air)> TEAC UD 501> (balanced output) >Cardas Golden Ref> JRRG all balanced pre> Cabasse system with clean deep LF extension via 36 cm active drivers, played live loud

 

 

 

Proofing B&K C @ -9 copie-Modifier-2.jpg

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6 hours ago, Le Concombre Masqué said:

for the record, as ADC for records,  there's also the discontinued TASCAM UH 7000 you once recommended that looks as the cheapest good solution

Hard to beat this on price or value: https://www.amazon.com/Korg-DSDAC10R-SOFTWARE-ANALOG-CONVERTER/dp/B017TZ0KYO/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=korg+ds-dac&qid=1568898519&sr=8-2

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13 minutes ago, audiobomber said:

The Tascam's XLR entries suit my existing cables and architecture better but interesting, thanks

 

https://tascam.com/us/product/uh-7000/top


I❤️ HQP and convolution (REW + RePhase for correcting frequency and time domains for the actual results presented below)

Currently investigating Embedded on mid 2012 15" rMacBP> 2.0 certified Supra > Green Regen > NAA (Miska's Linux image on MB Air)> TEAC UD 501> (balanced output) >Cardas Golden Ref> JRRG all balanced pre> Cabasse system with clean deep LF extension via 36 cm active drivers, played live loud

 

 

 

Proofing B&K C @ -9 copie-Modifier-2.jpg

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