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Low quality of my cartridge+preamp—can you suggest others? ≤€500
dumdidum
post Feb 15 2012, 00:58
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I currently digitize vinyl working with a technics 1210, an audio-technica at-95e, and the preamps built into my native instruments traktor kontrol s4. presumably, few people here will know what an s4 is. for purposes of this thread, it should be sufficient to note that the s4 is a midi controller (roughly speaking--actually, it uses a different protocol) which includes a 4-in, 4-out audio interface with 2 phono preamps that's geared towards DJs. the audio interface in the s4 might be comparable to standalone 4-in, 4-out USB 2.0 audio interface with 2 phono preamps in the $200 range (again, it would be an audio interface geared towards DJs so it would come with very low-latency asio drivers).

i am unsatisfied with the results i'm currently getting. i record with audacity at default settings (32-bit floating point, 44.1kHz). the gain in windows' volume mixer for the channel to which the 1210 is connected to is at 100%. the peak levels i'm getting during recording are at about -12dB to -15dB. (there's no way in audacity to further boost the volume during recording.) i don't perceive the audio quality as good at all despite the fact that i'm digitizing records in mint condition. (i'm trying to digitize vinyl-only releases so buying digital is not an option. unfortunately, in the genres i listen to--certain areas of house and techno--, vinyl-only release are relatively common.) on some recordings, the kick drum sounds muffled. on most recordings, i feel noise levels are excessive.

now, i certainly don't think the preamps in my audio interface are any good. the at-95e cartridge which i recently bought for EUR 20 is entry-level, too. does anyone have suggestions as to what preamp and cartridge to buy? as for my budget: EUR 500 (~$650) is my absolute max. ideally, i'd like to spend less. so i'd be happier if i can get something reasonable for, say, EUR 300 or so.

This post has been edited by dumdidum: Feb 15 2012, 01:01
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Gretschguy
post Feb 15 2012, 20:52
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QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 15 2012, 00:58) *
i am unsatisfied with the results i'm currently getting. […] the peak levels i'm getting during recording are at about -12dB to -15dB. […]

If you are recording at a peak of -12dB then something is definitely wrong. Your peaks, without normalizing, should be around -1dB.

Are you sure you are using the right MC or MM setting for your phono preamp or does your turntable have a preamp built into it?

I would recommend the Denon turntable and DL160 cartridge, the Denon has a built in preamp and you can upgrade to something like a Graham Slee phono preamp, they are exceptional for the money. I also suggest you look at Parasounds equipment.

When I record my vinyl it peaks at about -1dB and the average loudness is typically around -20dB.

QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 15 2012, 13:55) *
QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Feb 15 2012, 13:02) *
The problem I do have is that my rips rarely if ever sound as subjectively loud as the same tune in MP3 or WAV downloaded from the likes of Beatport or Juno. This is after normalising the rip to 0dB as well. What I suspect is the case here is that it is possible to compress the arse off a digital version compared to vinyl and that's what happens.

i have heard this as well, and i believe this considerations relevant to this topic are covered on HA's wiki.

Dumdidum, I would suggest not normalizing to 0 and simply adjusting your input levels to peak safely below 0 such as -1dB. The beauty of vinyl to me is the 3D sound and wide soundstage that compression destroys. BTW I've just uploaded some 24 bit vinyl rip samples that you may want to check out.

Note that I also find that having the average loudness lower than MP3 or WAVs is actually preferable as it gives you more volume control to zone in on just the right volume that you want. I find with my stereo that if an MP3 is really loud then one notch on the volume dial makes too big of a jump.

If you do feel you need to process in some way, such as normalize, then I'd suggest keeping a copy of the raw file in case at a later date you change your mind about this approach or decide on a different approach then you won't need to re-rip.

In terms of equipment check out Parasound if you have not done so already, I've been very happy with their support and their JC phono pre.

This post has been edited by db1989: Mar 4 2012, 22:23
Reason for edit: merging double-post and truncating huge quotes
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Posts in this topic
- dumdidum   Low quality of my cartridge+preamp—can you suggest others? ≤€500   Feb 15 2012, 00:58
- - DVDdoug   I can't recommend a preamp. But for cartridge...   Feb 15 2012, 02:48
- - zaentzpantz   I used to have the Audio Technica cartridge, and i...   Feb 15 2012, 11:21
- - RonaldDumsfeld   I had a similar chain as yourself. Technics 1210,...   Feb 15 2012, 13:02
|- - dumdidum   QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Feb 15 2012, 13:0...   Feb 15 2012, 13:55
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 15 2012, 07:55) QUO...   Feb 15 2012, 14:36
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Feb 15 2012, 02:48) for ...   Feb 15 2012, 13:48
- - 2Bdecided   I'd have no problem digitising the kind of mus...   Feb 15 2012, 15:54
- - RonaldDumsfeld   I did also consider that maybe the loudest parts o...   Feb 15 2012, 16:21
- - derty2   Comments by a friend of mine who is quite good at ...   Feb 15 2012, 16:44
- - dumdidum   Arnold B. Krueger, derty2: This is good stuff, yo...   Feb 15 2012, 18:31
- - Gretschguy   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 15 2012, 00:58) i a...   Feb 15 2012, 20:52
- - RonaldDumsfeld   QUOTE If you are recording at a peak of -12dB then...   Feb 15 2012, 22:02
|- - DonP   QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Feb 15 2012, 17:0...   Mar 5 2012, 21:52
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Dumdidum, I would suggest not normalizing to...   Feb 15 2012, 22:27
- - kraut   QUOTE I would recommend the Denon turntable and DL...   Feb 17 2012, 14:58
- - pdq   The problem with software equalization is that it ...   Feb 17 2012, 15:27
- - dumdidum   ok, it took me awhile, but i have prepared samples...   Mar 4 2012, 16:19
- - db1989   The point of an ABX test is not to compare two pro...   Mar 4 2012, 22:19
- - 2Bdecided   I'm amazed that two supposedly working RIAA pr...   Mar 7 2012, 12:08
|- - cliveb   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 7 2012, 11:08) May...   Mar 7 2012, 19:35
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 7 2012, 12:08) I...   Mar 7 2012, 13:09
|- - db1989   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Mar 7 2012, 12:09) I...   Mar 8 2012, 15:01
- - pdq   If you think that one channel of the preamp has a ...   Mar 7 2012, 20:23
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (pdq @ Mar 7 2012, 20:23) If you th...   Mar 8 2012, 14:49
- - pdq   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Mar 8 2012, 08:49) QUOT...   Mar 8 2012, 16:09
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (pdq @ Mar 8 2012, 16:09) QUOTE (du...   Mar 8 2012, 17:05


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