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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.

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...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...

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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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