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Pro-Ject Debut III USB Preamp Advice
Engelsstaub
post May 10 2012, 16:13
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I have the turntable mentioned in the title. I suppose it's no big news that the USB-out is sometimes too loud (no gain adjustment) with some vinyl (which results in clipping,) especially nearly every double-LP I own. Much to my dismay it also happens with a few regular ones like my mint original-pressing Black Sabbath "Mob Rules." For about 70% of my LPs it's fine, though "limited" to 16-bit resolution for recording.

My questions are these:

Would it be feasible to use something like the M-Audio Firewire Solo Amazon to record my needledrops from the preamp's RCA-outs to my Macintosh? (I'm using VinylStudio and it's pretty great IME.) If so, would I be able to effectively do so at 24-bit? (I don't imagine I hear any difference, but would like to do so for editing purposes.)

Any recommendations/good advice is greatly appreciated. (I wish I had researched this TT before I bought it. I'm considering trading it in later and getting a regular Debut III or something else in their line-up for under 800 USD...that's just not going to happen anytime really soon. I'm otherwise pleased with this TT's performance, so I wouldn't mind coming up with a good workaround. I get great results with many records and the hardware/software combingation.)

Pretty new to digitizing vinyl, so please forgive my ignorance.


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The Loudness War is over. Now it's a hopeless occupation.
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AndyH-ha
post May 11 2012, 20:53
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I can be of only limited help here but you should know about a few possible pitfalls.

Macs have used firewire for a long time, so information should be available: For many years firewire has had problems with audio - unless - the proper firewire controller chipset is used. This is the computer's chipset, not what is in the audio interface. I never used firewire so I don't recall just what the difficulty is.

Texas Instrument used to be the only recommended chipset for audio but I think there is another now. Anyway, if the computer uses an audio friendly chipset, no problem. If it does not, going the firewire route is likely to bring more disappointment.

USB generally works well. USB 1 is adequate for LP recording but lacks the bandwidth for some functions. You mentioned being limited to 16 bits, which could be the ADC but is more likely the USB interface. USB 2 does not have this limitation.

Some bus powered USB audio interfaces are rather noisy. This doesn't appear to be a USB limitation, just a device design limitation. Be sure either that you have good information on the interface's noise floor or you get one with its own power supply.

Notebook power supply design is notoriously bad for audio, producing a high noise floor. This is not poor construction or cheap parts, it is basic design. Generally there is a major difference between running on battery and running off the mains supply, so unplugging the notebook during recording might be all you need if the problem exists in your computer. There are some solutions for when running from mains power but, reportedly, no one thing works with every notebook and nothing works for some.

This noise might not be noticed with some music, stuff that has a generally high level and relatively little dynamic range. If you have recorded LPs with quiet passages, such as some classical recordings where there can be stretches that are down 50 to 60 dB, you should know if you have anything to be concerned about.

While there is nothing inherently expensive about producing a line level preamp, there seems to be a cultural taboo against offering stand-alone units for less than high-end audio prices. Small mixers can be had at a much more reasonable cost. That being said, I don't know which to suggest, never having used one myself. If there are no readily forthcoming recommendations from this forum, try
http://www.audiomastersforum.net/
where a fair number of experienced recording people hang out.

Another route is building something yourself, if you have experience or want to get into soldering irons. A basic, but good, line level preamp doesn't have to be complicated, and a stand-alone passive attenuator can be fairly simple.
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Posts in this topic
- Engelsstaub   Pro-Ject Debut III USB Preamp Advice   May 10 2012, 16:13
- - Apesbrain   Absolutely, so long as you run the TT line level o...   May 10 2012, 20:30
- - mixminus1   @Apesbrain: The OP's turntable has a preamp bu...   May 10 2012, 20:35
- - Engelsstaub   Thanks for the replies. Apesbrain: yeah, this part...   May 10 2012, 22:46
- - AndyH-ha   Clipping via the USB connection is caused by the a...   May 11 2012, 01:54
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ May 10 2012, 19:54...   May 11 2012, 03:09
- - mixminus1   No, Andy's saying that the outputs of the inte...   May 11 2012, 03:42
- - AndyH-ha   "it would have to be a VERY hot phono pre...   May 11 2012, 04:55
- - Engelsstaub   mixminus1: my Mac is a late 2010 13" MacBook ...   May 11 2012, 16:45
- - AndyH-ha   I can be of only limited help here but you should ...   May 11 2012, 20:53
- - AndyH-ha   The possibility also exist that you might not have...   May 11 2012, 20:59
- - Apesbrain   @OP, I now understand and I'm sorry for the mi...   May 11 2012, 21:06
- - Engelsstaub   Well, I do have a RCA-to1/8" cable that I use...   May 12 2012, 02:28
- - AndyH-ha   "I adjusted the volume to max out at around 9...   May 12 2012, 03:18
- - Engelsstaub   Nah, I had it turned all the way up on the Mac...   May 12 2012, 04:09
- - AndyH-ha   It seems rather strange that a recording applicati...   May 12 2012, 06:55
- - punkrockdude   What cartridge is it on the turntable? Just asking...   May 12 2012, 14:39
- - Engelsstaub   punkrockdude: it's the stock Ortofon OM5e that...   May 12 2012, 14:57
- - AndyH-ha   QUOTE I'm gathering from everything you've...   May 12 2012, 20:52
- - Engelsstaub   Alright. Thanks for your reply and your patience, ...   May 12 2012, 21:39
- - AndyH-ha   Have you determined that you get clipping using yo...   May 12 2012, 23:16
- - Engelsstaub   Yes, this and a few other records seem to clip in ...   May 13 2012, 00:18
- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Engelsstaub @ May 10 2012, 11:13) ...   May 14 2012, 12:59
|- - Engelsstaub   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ May 14 2012, 06...   May 14 2012, 15:18
- - dhromed   QUOTE Audacity has a clipping indicator. I'm w...   May 14 2012, 15:33
- - Engelsstaub   Oh, ok, Thanks, dhromed. I think I understand how...   May 14 2012, 16:27
- - AndyH-ha   If you were looking at music that had been mastere...   May 15 2012, 03:18
- - Engelsstaub   Hey, AndyH (or anybody else reading) ...as long as...   May 15 2012, 18:05
- - AndyH-ha   According to the manufacturer's literature, th...   May 15 2012, 21:36
- - Engelsstaub   Great. Thanks for your help, Andy (and also everyo...   May 16 2012, 01:19


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