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I Rebuilt My Technics 1200's And Want To Rip Some Vinyl. Which...
FreddyBlades
post Aug 27 2008, 05:10
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Software and hardware setup does everyone recommend?

I rebuilt my 1200's from the ground up and soldered on the heavy duty gold plated RCA patch cords. I am using an Ortofon Arkiv Concorde cartridge & stylus.

I use Serato Scratch fairly often (with my Shure M44's) and the SL1 interface seems to record fairly well into the .aiff format.

Is there a better way to do it? It seems like the most direct method of getting the data into the PC. I am a producer and have all software at my disposal. I use Soundforge, Goldwave, Acid, Protools, Sonar, Cubase, etc. on my Thinkpad T61P on a regular basis. Speed/latency is not a concern. I maxed out my RAM at 3gb & also dual boot to stripped bare-bones version of XP.

What will give me the best quality? Throw all tips at me (tracking weight, stylus, balanced inputs, etc).

Much Appreciated.
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Glenn Gundlach
post Aug 27 2008, 06:21
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QUOTE (FreddyBlades @ Aug 26 2008, 20:10) *
Software and hardware setup does everyone recommend?

I rebuilt my 1200's from the ground up and soldered on the heavy duty gold plated RCA patch cords. I am using an Ortofon Arkiv Concorde cartridge & stylus.

I use Serato Scratch fairly often (with my Shure M44's) and the SL1 interface seems to record fairly well into the .aiff format.

Is there a better way to do it? It seems like the most direct method of getting the data into the PC. I am a producer and have all software at my disposal. I use Soundforge, Goldwave, Acid, Protools, Sonar, Cubase, etc. on my Thinkpad T61P on a regular basis. Speed/latency is not a concern. I maxed out my RAM at 3gb & also dual boot to stripped bare-bones version of XP.

What will give me the best quality? Throw all tips at me (tracking weight, stylus, balanced inputs, etc).

Much Appreciated.


I wouldn't worry a lot about 'bare bones' XP. My first audio into a PC was Windows 95 on a Pentium 166 with a Turtle Beach Montego II using CoolEdit 96 which had no problems at all. Currently using Audition 1.5. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't solder RCA connectors and I definitely don't use gold unless both the male and female are gold. Otherwise you get dissimilar metal reactions - not good. Balanced line is a good thing but not needed for the 5 foot hops into the computer. Where it becomes important is with long cable runs particularly if crossing different power feeds such as another building. What is most important is to not overload the temperamental computer audio inputs. On my machine the input stage is before the Windows level control so if you send too much signal, there is _no way_ to fix it later. Easiest way is to set the Windows mixer to around 3/4 and set the preamp levels to get within a few dB of clipping on the peaks. I always saved to .wav but now flac is just as easy. Since you're coming from vinyl I assume you'll do some post processing for clicks / pops and perhaps noise reduction and possibly some EQ. I'm not familiar with your various software but those tasks are snap in Audition.

See a very recent thread about turntable tracking force but my long experience is use the high end of the recommended force rather than the low end. It reduces mis-tracking - very unpleasant. Careful alignment of the cartridge offset and overhang makes noticeable improvement as well.

G
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Axon
post Aug 27 2008, 07:58
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I'm not really sure what would be an improvement from your perspective, really. Are there any specific issues you're running into?

You could try swapping in an OM40 stylus or something like that on your Arkiv, but it might be overkill for what you're doing, unless you are planning on seriously going down the hifi route. I'm not aware of any reviews of the Arkiv in comparison to higher-end carts - consider searching for it on other audiophile forums. It might be a great cart all around.

If you don't have interference issues or an MC cart, running balanced is probably just going to give you headaches. Balanced audiophile phono stages are hard to find and generally quite expensive; mic preamps have special loading considerations for MM carts, and will not automatically do the right thing out of the box.

Are you absolutely sure your cartridges are correctly aligned and the antiskate is calibrated? If not I'd suggest ordering a copy of the Hi-Fi News and Record Review record, which is probably the easiest way to get all of that straightened out. That more than anything is probably going to make a long term impact on sound quality.
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FreddyBlades
post Aug 27 2008, 15:36
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Wow, you guys are absolutely fantastic... I think I found a home here at hydrogen.

I'm actually having no problems whatsoever. What I ripped so far sound great on my Dynaudio BM6A's and I cross reference the rips with a pair of Ultrasone 7's and AKG 701's. I recorded in Soundforge and only applied the Bias Soundsoap vst plugin. No compressor needed and all the sound is pretty warm. I like the Arkiv Cartridge a lot. Is there a better one out there already proven?

I am archiving my records for future use and also to use in serato scratch. I have to rip to .aifff if using the serato interface, convert to .wav or .flac (my preferred formats) and also convert to V0 for .mp3 (DJ'ing purposes for scratching, etc).

It's so nice to scratch my ripped records using the .mp3 with a control record rather than the actual record.


All I meant earlier was that I swapped out the standard RCA cable (it was oxidized and bent up) with the newer Technics gold plated ones. My interface females are also gold plated, yes.

I also have an RME Fireface interface to use but I'm not sure if I should use that or the Serato interface (for quality purposes). I'll try to google it up.

Top notch tips, thank you so much fellas. More are greatly appreciated. I want to get it right the first time. I have about 3,000 records! (Plus 2,000 CD's and 20,000+ .mp3's). It's a daily battle keeping this stuff organized.
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Axon
post Aug 28 2008, 05:57
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Well, if you're looking for a "warm" sound, most audiophiles would usually steer you towards the Shure M97XE or the Denon DL-110 or 160. AT carts at that price range and higher are not at all known for their warmth, but they tend to track the best. You might also give the Ortofon 2M series a look since they are among the more recent cartridge designs.

FWIW, I have an AT440ML and an ATOC9 and I love them to death. But they are not "warm" in any way, shape, or form.

If you've got several hundred dollars to blow you can consider testing the low output MC waters - with the DL-103R in particular - but you're generally heading into serious tweak territory above the $300 mark. MCs are very, very overrated.

If you can audibly hear any ground hum or hiss at normal listening levels without playing a record on the table, you might want to consdier switching phono stages. You can play around with the HFNRR test record bands if you're worried about frequency response, but there are some issues with its design that make it hard to trust for measuring that.

Be sure to use a stylus cleaner of some kind. The recommended cleaner nowadays is a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Search Audio Asylum for how to use it - it's rather easy to break your cart if you don't know what you're doing, but if you do, it's ludicrously cheap and ludicrously effective.

Make sure your levels aren't clipping, etc etc. It's possible to overload your phono stage, but given that Serato is designed for this sort of thing, highly unlikely.

At some price level you're going to want to invest in an automatic record cleaning machine because that is likely to give you more quality improvement for your money. However those are running in the $1,000+ range IIRC. The manual models are much cheaper, but then you have to clean all 3,000 records by hand... That said, most people (myself included) will say that the time or money investment is generally worth the money.

Beyond that..... take a gander at the KAB mods (kabusa.com) or consider getting an Origin Live adapter and throw a Rega tonearm on. But IMHO those sorts of things are not worth getting unless you are solving specific issues, or you want to explicitly start tweaking.

This post has been edited by Axon: Aug 28 2008, 05:58
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Juan C.
post Aug 28 2008, 06:08
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Hi, just to not open a new topic, I want to know which is the best way to record vinyl 44.1 or 48khz? It's good to capture at 48khz, edit and then resample to 44.1 or record directly to 44.1, can someone give an advice which is best?
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Axon
post Aug 28 2008, 06:12
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Do 44.1 unless you have a good reason to do otherwise. There are lots of good reasons, but as a rule of thumb, you don't have any of them.
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gkmeyer
post Aug 28 2008, 06:15
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QUOTE (Juan C. @ Aug 27 2008, 21:08) *
Hi, just to not open a new topic, I want to know which is the best way to record vinyl 44.1 or 48khz? It's good to capture at 48khz, edit and then resample to 44.1 or record directly to 44.1, can someone give an advice which is best?

Don't complicate your life, 44.1
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Juan C.
post Aug 28 2008, 15:12
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Ok, thank you smile.gif .
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pdq
post Aug 28 2008, 15:59
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If you never, ever want to make a CD from your files then you might want to consider 48, otherwise definitely 44.1.
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FreddyBlades
post Aug 29 2008, 20:19
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Thanks again guys... (especially Juan for the Jack Move, lol) wink.gif

Where would I get the Hi-Fi News Test Record? There is one on eBay and seems to be a newer one? http://cgi.ebay.com/HI-FI-NEWS-ANALOGUE-TE...p3286.m63.l1177

I live up the street from Rock & Soul in Manahattan and they don't have it... odd.
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Axon
post Aug 29 2008, 20:35
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Record shops are unlikely to carry it. Hifi shops are more likely, but who wants to walk into one of those establishments for a single record? Needledoctor.com and acousticsounds.com carry it.

That said, you can also get alignment protractors for free, and there are allegedly test records of a superior quality produced nowadays (The Ultimate Analogue Test LP).
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FreddyBlades
post Aug 29 2008, 23:09
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QUOTE (Axon @ Aug 29 2008, 14:35) *
Record shops are unlikely to carry it. Hifi shops are more likely, but who wants to walk into one of those establishments for a single record? Needledoctor.com and acousticsounds.com carry it.

That said, you can also get alignment protractors for free, and there are allegedly test records of a superior quality produced nowadays (The Ultimate Analogue Test LP).


I actually get 12" singles every Friday, lol.

Ok, I'll check around and get the newer test LP.
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Axon
post Aug 29 2008, 23:14
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OK, I'll backtrack a bit and state that 99% of what you need is the protractor, and 1% is the test record smile.gif Having something to calibrate antiskate with is nice, and that's largely why you need the test record. Everything after that is fairly incremental stuff that takes a lot of work to get right and doesn't have a major (or even minor) sonic benefit.

Oh, that reminds me, do you have a working stylus force gauge? Shure's $20 is the usual recommendation, but one should be able to find a much better digital scale for around the same price. Some people have been known to buy them from head shops, actually.

This post has been edited by Axon: Aug 29 2008, 23:15
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FreddyBlades
post Aug 30 2008, 02:44
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QUOTE (Axon @ Aug 29 2008, 17:14) *
OK, I'll backtrack a bit and state that 99% of what you need is the protractor, and 1% is the test record smile.gif Having something to calibrate antiskate with is nice, and that's largely why you need the test record. Everything after that is fairly incremental stuff that takes a lot of work to get right and doesn't have a major (or even minor) sonic benefit.

Oh, that reminds me, do you have a working stylus force gauge? Shure's $20 is the usual recommendation, but one should be able to find a much better digital scale for around the same price. Some people have been known to buy them from head shops, actually.


Actually no I don't have one... I'd like to get everything from one place if possible to save on shipping... I can't believe I can't find this stuff in NYC.
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WmAx
post Aug 30 2008, 18:00
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If you get a test record, I agree with Axon also, and I recommend The Ultimate Analogue Test LP. This was a test LP specifically designed for very accurate measurement/analysis of turn tables and cutting lathe calibration, and is even the standard testing disc used by many audio equipment manufacturers such as VPI, today. The disc is also more carefully pressed(with 2x longer pressing than a standard premium hi-fi vinyl pressing) and on very limited runs(much shorter than hi-fi recording pressings) before changing the press forms to keep the product as high quality as possible for testing purposes. I use this LP, and it allows for very accurate testing/measurement of THD, frequency response, etc. and allows precise set up of all turn table adjustments with computer aided analysis(you can also do it by ear; I'm sure most do, listening for large distortions - but the most precise method is to adjust while monitoring the waveforms). This test LP runs about $40, so it's actually $10 cheaper than the HI Fi News record, from some sources.

-Chris

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Axon
post Aug 30 2008, 18:41
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O RLY?? The Ultimate LP has superseded B&K/CBS/JVC/etc?
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WmAx
post Aug 31 2008, 07:25
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QUOTE (Axon @ Aug 30 2008, 13:41) *
O RLY?? The Ultimate LP has superseded B&K/CBS/JVC/etc?


I don't know anything about CBS, JVC, etc..

The Ultimate LP was specifically designed to be of a higher consistent quality as compared to the common test records, from the quality of the pressing to the accuracy of hole center and warping QC. It has the standard required test signals to ascertain all of the relevant performance characteristics for proper/ideal set up/adjustment. I only mentioned VPI as a specific company example - and they indeed did say the use this as their standard test LP for turntable measurement(s).

-Chris
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FreddyBlades
post Sep 3 2008, 17:52
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Fantastic answers that help a lot. Thanks again guys.

I got the newer reference record, shure force gauge and

My only concerns left are:

1. Ripping into Serato Scratch Live. SSL offers a USB 1 connection but I have no problems. The quality seems great without issue. I believe that it has the RIAA eq curve. I have a Denon DN-X100 mixer and the Technics 1200's seem grounded well. Is there a better way?

2. My Ortofon Arkiv Cartridge. I can't find many reviews but the ones I do are all positive. I ripped one 12" single and it sounds great on my Dynaudio BM5A's. I wish the highs were a little higher but I think the lack of it was in the mastering.

3. Record brush... Any recommendations? I saw one by Audioquest. I also saw "Gruv Glide". Anybody have experience with that? I have a lot of records but will only be sampling about 300 so I don't mind handwashing.

4. Turntable grounding. I have it grounded to my denon DN-X100 mixer which seems fairly quiet. I tried to ground it through my technics + DMC 1200 battle mixer and it hums like crazy. Will it ground better going through the RCA via the "SL1200 conversion" that seems very popular? I think that may be more for convenience but want the best ground. Again, I have gold to gold RCA's and I upgraded to the heavy duty Technics RCA's.

I'm just aiming to get the best quality possible with what I have without going crazy. Being a producer, I know that I can go crazy and spend thousands but I do that with monitors and such. I think I have good quality components that should let me rip great sounding samples. I guess I just want to "fine tune" and do it right the first time. I use Acappella's and old funk samples for remixes and such so I want great quality.

Again, you guys rock. :-D
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Axon
post Sep 3 2008, 21:07
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QUOTE (FreddyBlades @ Sep 3 2008, 11:52) *
Fantastic answers that help a lot. Thanks again guys.

I got the newer reference record, shure force gauge and

My only concerns left are:

1. Ripping into Serato Scratch Live. SSL offers a USB 1 connection but I have no problems. The quality seems great without issue. I believe that it has the RIAA eq curve. I have a Denon DN-X100 mixer and the Technics 1200's seem grounded well. Is there a better way?
You might try recording the test record and ensuring that the frequency response is reasonably accurate. If you're +-3db then you're probably in good shape (and I suppose you could probably eq out any particularly nasty stuff you find).

I'm not aware of anybody who has tested that mixer or preamp on audio quality (alas you probably came to the wrong board if you wanted comments on those). How audible is the background hiss? If it's audible even while a record is playing, you should probably switch. What is the peak level on your recordings?

QUOTE
2. My Ortofon Arkiv Cartridge. I can't find many reviews but the ones I do are all positive. I ripped one 12" single and it sounds great on my Dynaudio BM5A's. I wish the highs were a little higher but I think the lack of it was in the mastering.
This is the second time you've worried about that cart smile.gif

Ultimately, for both your cartridge and your analog setup, you're not really going to know how bad it is unless you have something to compare it against. And like I said, the test record can help you out a smidge with this by giving an accurate frequency response.

But if you're paranoid about the cart quality, you're probably going to continue to be paranoid until you buy a hifi cart like an AT440ML or AT150MLX or Ortofon 2M or Denon DL110 or something like that and see for yourself. If you're not feeling the love in the treble, the ATs tend to be notoriously cold-sounding carts and that might be exactly what you're looking for. Or not.

QUOTE
3. Record brush... Any recommendations? I saw one by Audioquest. I also saw "Gruv Glide". Anybody have experience with that? I have a lot of records but will only be sampling about 300 so I don't mind handwashing.
Heh, record cleaning is a rat's nest of subjectivity and controversy, so you're not going to get a clear answer on this until you start trying things out yourself. However, you should certainly splurge on a good cleaning system if you can afford to. The quality improvements from record cleaning tend to dwarf system improvements right around your price point.

For dry cleaning, most people use carbon fiber brushes. They're cheap ($10). Don't get them wet, though.

I tried Gruv Glide for a while and didn't notice much of an improvement. (Also, the can rusted out. Yuck.) The application sponges are notorious dust traps and dust tended to stick more closely to the record after application, I thought. And I always felt a little loopy after using the stuff. That said, LAST is a competing product (with a substantially different formulation) which has received all manner of superlatives from hifi reviewers.

For wet cleaning, which generally works much better than dry cleaning, the canonical recommendation is the KAB EV-1, which is the cheapest vacuum record cleaning machine available, with any number of different cleaning fluids - Audio Intelligent, Disc Doctor, LAST, Bugtussel, etc. They all have their fans and to some degree they all work pretty well - you're not really going to find anything that is head and shoulders above the rest. A few of the fluids (notably Audio Intelligent) require multiple brushes for correct operation. I use the KAB with Audio Intelligent, but I'm not a partisan of AI. Don't use the KAB with a vacuum cleaner you care about, because water tends to get sucked into it rather easily.

Some people on Audiogon have had good success with steam cleaning; you might want to investigate that.

Use on-site filtered DI water like the FreshPure stuff at Whole Foods for rinsing. It's considered considerably purer than bottled distilled water.

On a budget, do not hesitate to try your own cleaning recipes - I've used Simple Solution carpet cleaner, and besides imparting a (scary) fragrant smell to the records, it seems to work pretty well. But take particular caution if you do not know exactly what is in the cleaner, test it out on a beater record first, and rinse it all out with high purity water (like DI water) until the scent of the cleaner is minimized.

QUOTE
4. Turntable grounding. I have it grounded to my denon DN-X100 mixer which seems fairly quiet. I tried to ground it through my technics + DMC 1200 battle mixer and it hums like crazy. Will it ground better going through the RCA via the "SL1200 conversion" that seems very popular? I think that may be more for convenience but want the best ground. Again, I have gold to gold RCA's and I upgraded to the heavy duty Technics RCA's.
I think the ground wire removal is mostly for convenience. I don't know what it does for hum. Components are so finicky with ground loops that there are few hard and fast rules for how to eliminate hum.

QUOTE
I'm just aiming to get the best quality possible with what I have without going crazy. Being a producer, I know that I can go crazy and spend thousands but I do that with monitors and such. I think I have good quality components that should let me rip great sounding samples. I guess I just want to "fine tune" and do it right the first time. I use Acappella's and old funk samples for remixes and such so I want great quality.


If your background hiss and hum levels are reasonable, and you have correctly aligned your cartridge with a protractor (you did that, right?), and the VTA and antiskate are set right, and the sound is otherwise fine, you probably should be dumping your money and time into cleaning the records, if the pops and ticks are objectionable.
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