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Analogue to Digital quality settings?, need help on settings for transfers
duartisimo
post Oct 28 2011, 00:03
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Hope you Vinyl guys can help me out with this one,

I have about 10 vinyl-only recordings by Pearl Jam and sort of want to know what recommendations you guys would give in order to achieve the best possible results, within a budget of course, for digitizing their music. Have enough money for a pair of Grado headphones and a Woo audio amp connected to a 24/192 capable sound card on a purpose built computer, but not enough to buy one of those $3000 "audiophile" turntables and a $1000 preamp just to digitize 10 records, some of them singles. Hope you guys can help me with these issues:

*On some circles i have read that the Pro Ject III is the best USB turntable and can get good results with it, but i have also read that USB turntables in general suck for digitizing
*I am all for 24 bit digital audio, but don't know if it makes a difference if i digitize vinyl to a 24/192 resolution or a CD quality one, even if some of my records are 180 g, which i also ponder if the thickness of the record itself makes a real difference on resolution capabilities when/if being transferred to digital
*I'm from Baja California, Mexico so a good company in San Diego or LA that offers those services and attends to those issues i have with the transferring process is a quick drive away, so im fine if some of you guys can recommend me one of those
*I have Audacity and have access to Pro Tools at the school where i work, so these 2 are the ones i would be using to do the process with. Is one better than the other on this sort of thing and do those noise removal tools really work? Do i lose much music by doing that?

Nothing against vinyl, i just want to have a quality copy of those records so i can listen to them all the time without having to worry about scratching or deteriorating the grooves from the discs themselves.

Thanks

PS sorry about my spelling, not very good at english

This post has been edited by duartisimo: Oct 28 2011, 00:07
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DVDdoug
post Oct 28 2011, 00:57
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There's no need to go crazy and spend a lot of money on something that's never going to be "CD quality". wink.gif (As you can tell, I'm not really a "vinyl guy".!) But, you don't want to go too cheap either... If you go too cheap you'll get bad results and you might even damage your records.

Grado headphones and a Woo amp aren't going to help you digitize your records. wink.gif (Headphones can be helpful when listening for vinyl "clicks" and "pops" that you want to remove.)

Knowzy.com has an extensive comparison of USB turntables and some recommendations.

It sounds like you've got a good soundcard, but as you probalby know you still need a phono preamp if you want to use an "analog" (non-USB) turntable. And, most "analog" turntables come without a phono cartridge.

QUOTE
*I am all for 24 bit digital audio, but don't know if it makes a difference if i digitize vinyl to a 24/192 resolution or a CD quality one
There's no harm in going "high resolution", but contrary to a lot of "audiophile claims", vinyl does not have higher resolution than CD. i.e. With vinyl, you can hear the background noise between songs and you can certainly hear if the stylus is in the groove, or if the record is stopped or not. You might even hear some hum & hiss from the phono preamp. The "infinite" analog resolution that some people talk about is totally wiped-out by the noise.

A CD has a much lower noise floor (wider dynamic range). You don't hear anything between songs... If you hear any noise it's from the analog electronics following the digital-to-analog converter.

Or, a spectrograph from a vinyl recording often shows high frequenies beyond the capability of CD. But, it's usually just noise and you you can't hear that high anyway (above 22,050 Hz), especially when there's music playing and masking those supersonic frequencies.

QUOTE
I have Audacity and have access to Pro Tools at the school where i work
Your choice of recording software does not affect recording quality... Recording quality is all in the hardware. The software just sets-up the hardware and driver (sample rate, etc.) and routes the digital audio data to your hard drive in your chosen format.

The software becomes important when you want to clean-up the recording. You may not need much clean-up/processing. I'm assuming your records are in good or new condition, since you didn't say that you already have a turntable. There are probably some Pro Tools plug-ins for clean-up. I use Wave Repair ($30 USD) and it does an amazing great job (on most vinyl defects) in the manual mode, but it usually takes me a full weekend to fix-up a transfer from one of my 30-year old records. This page (by the developer of Wave Repair) lists some other more-automated clean-up software. There's a ton of other information about digitizing LPs on that page too.

QUOTE
...do those noise removal tools really work? Do i lose much music by doing that?
I always say this - "A good recording doesn't need any processing. Processing (noise reduction & EQ) can turn a good recording into a great recording. If you have a bad recording, sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease."

General purpose noise reduction can sometimes generate artifacts (side effects), but it's usually worth a try. It's a very tricky process involving FFT, and I assume that Audacity is not the best.

Click & pop reduction/removal takes a special program or plug-in. Of course, this can also sometimes damage the music too.

Wave Repair is nice because only "touches" the audio for the few milliseconds here-and-there where you tell it to fix a click or pop. And, in most cases it does a perfect-sounding repair job. But, not always...

QUOTE
I'm from Baja California, Mexico so a good company in San Diego or LA that offers those services and attends to those issues i have with the transferring process is a quick drive away, so im fine if some of you guys can recommend me one of those
I can't recommend a company to do it, but it would save you from buying a turntable (and possibly a separate phono cartridge and preamp.) Clean-up of any "ticks" and "pops" can be time consuming, so you might not want to pay someone to do that part. And, it's best to do it carefully/slowly, listening to the results (maybe several times) rather than running an automated "one size fits all" program that might have side effects.

And if you do it yourself, you can decide if you prefer the defect or the side-effect whenever there is a trade-off.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Oct 28 2011, 01:21
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mjb2006
post Oct 28 2011, 02:31
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 27 2011, 17:57) *
Or, a spectrograph from a vinyl recording often shows high frequencies beyond the capability of CD. But, it's usually just noise

Usually? I'd say it's always just noise, but feel free to prove me wrong. In all the steps the audio went through during the recording, mixing, and mastering chain, the audio almost certainly passed through a mixing desk or effects unit that rolled off at 20 KHz, especially if it was made before the 2000s. And I've read that they always use a lowpass filter to protect the cutting head from ultrasonic frequencies as it carves the groove into the lacquer master disc from which the vinyl-pressing molds are made (otherwise, somehow the head can be damaged; I don't know any details).

Re: click/crackle/noise reduction tools damaging the audio, these tools normally have a mode where you can preview the results and also preview without applying the filter, and also where you can preview by listening to just what's being removed. The more the latter sounds like music, the more damage it's doing. Ideally, you will play with the settings until you hear only the noise being removed, with no correlation to the music. Also listen to the effect of the tools in the quietest parts of the music, and make sure it sounds natural; I have heard vinyl rips professionally mastered for CD reissues where the main part of the music sounds fine, but as soon as it fades out, it sounds like a bad MP3 due to the over-application of these kinds of tools.
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2Bdecided
post Oct 31 2011, 11:43
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If they're not available on CD, then I'm sure someone else has already made a "needledrop" of these records. You've already paid for them, so IMO(!) you can go and find the needledrop on-line and download it for free, guilt-free. Whether that's strictly legal or not where you are, I don't know.

There are vinyl to CD transfer companies of varying quality. You could pay one of those to do the job.

If these are modern records in good condition, you shouldn't let an automatic restoration tool anywhere near them IMO. You shouldn't be able to hear vinyl noise above typical pop music.

Cheers,
David.
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duartisimo
post Nov 14 2011, 22:22
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Sorry it took so long for me to answer to your reply guys, but as i read, this info did help a lot and thank you.

My Woo and Grado comments was more of a way to reference my budget limits. While i can purchase something i consider above average as Grado headphones and a Woo Audio tube amp, by no means i can afford , say, a Goldmund record player and Wilson Audio speakers!!! Sort of thinking somewhere around the lines of a Rega rp1 turntable and one of their preamps, seem to look good on paper at least.

When it comes to resolution, what i got from you guys is that i probably will be wasting hard disc space by going HI RES. A little disappointed, but not surprising considering the amount of noise generated by a record player, ANY record player.
On that issue, its also a little disappointing so see supposed hi res files being inferior to their CD conterparts (at least some of the ones being offered by hdtracks.com. But thats another story altogether).

Ill just do 2 or 3 "rips", play with the options a little, and decide which one sounds the best.

Thanks again guys

This post has been edited by duartisimo: Nov 14 2011, 22:27
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Glenn Gundlach
post Nov 15 2011, 03:46
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QUOTE (duartisimo @ Oct 27 2011, 15:03) *
Hope you Vinyl guys can help me out with this one,

I have about 10 vinyl-only recordings by Pearl Jam and sort of want to know what recommendations you guys would give in order to achieve the best possible results, within a budget of course, for digitizing their music. Have enough money for a pair of Grado headphones and a Woo audio amp connected to a 24/192 capable sound card on a purpose built computer, but not enough to buy one of those $3000 "audiophile" turntables and a $1000 preamp just to digitize 10 records, some of them singles. Hope you guys can help me with these issues:
<snip>

If you only have 10 discs you'd be better off just finding some old nerd like me who still has a decent turntable and preamp and have him or her do it for you. You could either borrow (not likely as I'd never allow my hardware out of my sight) or maybe use the gear on site under the supervision of the owner. This would not bother me at all. Could likely knock it out in a little more that the total run time and then you could take the files on a flash drive and process them in the software of your choice.

If USB turntables suck for digitizing, it's not the USB part that's the problem. It's the poor quality cartridge and preamp (mostly the cartridge) that's at fault. In 1983 dollars a good cartridge alone was $150 so a cheapy turntable is going to suffer.

G
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duartisimo
post Nov 15 2011, 17:18
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Well, that is what i would prefer, since im not really a vinyl guy and i know that having vinyl being digitized to quality standards takes a lot of money and it just doesn't seem worth it, specially for just 10 or so records. kinda hard to find someone that can do that kind of service, specially in good old Mexico.
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musicollector
post Nov 29 2011, 05:18
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QUOTE (duartisimo @ Nov 15 2011, 09:18) *
Well, that is what i would prefer, since im not really a vinyl guy and i know that having vinyl being digitized to quality standards takes a lot of money and it just doesn't seem worth it, specially for just 10 or so records. kinda hard to find someone that can do that kind of service, specially in good old Mexico.


Even for 10 records, I believe you can do it yourself. Why pay someone else? It is simple. I have 1500 LPs, which becomes a project. Still, I prefer to do the digitizing myself even though the time needed would be gargantuan!

I use AudoGrabber for the digitizing and Sony's Sound Forge to do the mucking around.

This post has been edited by musicollector: Nov 29 2011, 05:18


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Stanzmastertron
post Feb 1 2012, 15:54
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I'm surprised by the comments. My 24/96 vinyl flacs sound better than cd ripped flacs of the same songs.
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dhromed
post Feb 1 2012, 16:10
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QUOTE (Stanzmastertron @ Feb 1 2012, 15:54) *
My 24/96 vinyl flacs sound better than cd ripped flacs of the same songs.


Downsample your vinyl flacs to 16/44.1 and perform an ABX test, otherwise your comment about quality is entirely moot.

There's a good chance your CD version was limited more aggressively than the vinyl version. It is unlikely the difference has anything to do with 24/96, as the difference is mostly low-level noise.

This post has been edited by dhromed: Feb 1 2012, 16:10
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