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How to transfer from vinyl?
Old 19th June 2009
  #1
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How to transfer from vinyl?

Need to transfer some stuff, and I noticed that with any record player/phono preamp I used, the signals comes in at the A/D at around -30 dB.

What's the verdict here? Is it better to normalize afterwards or should I boost the signal before the A/D (maybe even use the headphones out of the amp to get a decent signal - which probably defeats the purpose somehow?).

Does a different preamp (e.g. the Radial J33) offer a corrected output signal?

Thanks!
Old 19th June 2009
  #2
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Or am I doing something completely wrong here? heh
Old 19th June 2009
  #3
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calibrate your converters, if you can, to have more analog gain,
set them to -10dBu,
etc...

most converters sound good at -6dB some sound better with overload,
use your ears.
monitor the DAC out coming from the ADC.
and try to do some A/B tests.
analog source vs. AD/DA signal.

try to use a good wordclock.
Old 19th June 2009
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MASSIVE Master's Avatar
 

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Are you running an unbalanced signal to a balanced input...?
Old 19th June 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrVelvet View Post
Does a different preamp (e.g. the Radial J33) offer a corrected output signal?
Thanks!
As John stated above, make sure you're using a pro, not consumer interface. We recorded the Jun Fukamachi direct to vinyl album using a couple of phono pre's with balanced outs into a PM Model 2 and a DAD AX24.

Regards,
Old 21st June 2009
  #6
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Thanks!

I'm using a set of UA 2192 converters which have regular line level (except for messing with the trimpots for fine tuning the input gain, there's no way to calibrate them) - so I thought connecting the line out of a consumer phono preamp device should yield a good result, but apparently that's not the case.

Will try a pro phono preamp device like the J33 with -10 dB line level and see if that helps!
Old 22nd June 2009
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And leave a healthy several dB of headroom at the A-D for any clicks/pops. No sense in trying to de-click or de-crackle square waves. The extra headroom may also help retain that real vinyl 'open' sound.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #8
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I just record out of my Allen + Heath Xone 92 or Rane MP2016 (remake of the Urei) which both have +4db outputs.

The XLR outputs of the mixer go straight into the Lynx converters.

Works fine. I get great level and the sound is always good!
Old 22nd June 2009
  #9
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Thanks! Any single unit +4 dB phono preamp device?
Old 22nd June 2009
  #10
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And don't forget to use amazing needles. Other than having low phase delay filters used in the pre-amp (for the RIAA de-emphasis), that's basically the most important contributing factor to quality of a vinyl rip/transfer/whatever.

On the "cheaper" side of the great sounding needles, if you can come across an Ortofon X3-MC... I'm still amazed by how well balanced of a needle it is, and how little of the surface noise it reproduces. It's a high-output moving coil so it will work with "regular" phono pre-amps.

Are you sure you're not using a low output moving coil needle right now? Cos that could cause your pre-amp to be kicking out very low levels, and of course increase the noise floor in relation to your final -0dBfs. If so, you'll need some in-line transformers to kick up the voltage before your pre-amp.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrVelvet View Post
Thanks! Any single unit +4 dB phono preamp device?
The Simaudio Moon LP 5.3 has both balanced and unbalanced outputs and is very clean and accurate - Simaudio MOON LP5.3 Phono Preamplifier

To me it's well worth demoing as part of a chain for reference quality transfers from vinyl record.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Old 22nd June 2009
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cellotron View Post
The Simaudio Moon LP 5.3 has both balanced and unbalanced outputs and is very clean and accurate - Simaudio MOON LP5.3 Phono Preamplifier

To me it's well worth demoing as part of a chain for reference quality transfers from vinyl record.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Thanks! This thing sure is great - but 1400 $ for a phono pre is a little over my budget heh Anything cheaper with +4 dB outs?
Old 22nd June 2009
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncajesse View Post
And don't forget to use amazing needles. Other than having low phase delay filters used in the pre-amp (for the RIAA de-emphasis), that's basically the most important contributing factor to quality of a vinyl rip/transfer/whatever.

On the "cheaper" side of the great sounding needles, if you can come across an Ortofon X3-MC... I'm still amazed by how well balanced of a needle it is, and how little of the surface noise it reproduces. It's a high-output moving coil so it will work with "regular" phono pre-amps.

Are you sure you're not using a low output moving coil needle right now? Cos that could cause your pre-amp to be kicking out very low levels, and of course increase the noise floor in relation to your final -0dBfs. If so, you'll need some in-line transformers to kick up the voltage before your pre-amp.
Thanks - I tried the Ortofon OM10, OM20, Stanton 500 MKIII and right now I use a dirt-cheap AT-95E which seems like a good compromise, but then again has little bass and slightly sizzling high end with some records.

Just checked and the X3-MC seemingly is discontinued... Now followed by their MC3 Turbo (whatever that is ). Is that as good (or any other recommendation that's well balanced and not too expensive)?

Man, I just wish I hadn't opened that can of worms heh
Old 22nd June 2009
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrVelvet View Post
... but then again has little bass and slightly sizzling high end with some records...
Well i think that's the point, the stylus should fit the record(s) you intend to transfer. No 'one size fits all' here.

From the types that you mentioned, i only know the OM10 and Stanton500 by experience. The latter seemed right for more recent cut records while i preferred the far less expensive OM10 for more classic 60's/70's stuff.


+1 on the leave ample headroom for declick interpolations remark
Old 22nd June 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finetuner View Post
Well i think that's the point, the stylus should fit the record(s) you intend to transfer. No 'one size fits all' here.

From the types that you mentioned, i only know the OM10 and Stanton500 by experience. The latter seemed right for more recent cut records while i preferred the far less expensive OM10 for more classic 60's/70's stuff.


+1 on the leave ample headroom for declick interpolations remark
Thanks for the hint. Yes, probably I'll have to find my 2-3 favorite styluses to cover a wide range of records...

Any idea what would be the an affordable pro interface between turntable and UA 2192 with +4 dB output?
Old 22nd June 2009
  #16
The J33 that you first mentioned has -10dB line outputs, but it also has balanced mic level outputs, meaning that you can hook it up to a pair of your existing mic preamps and then match gain to your heart's desire.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post
The J33 that you first mentioned has -10dB line outputs, but it also has balanced mic level outputs, meaning that you can hook it up to a pair of your existing mic preamps and then match gain to your heart's desire.
Thanks - tried that with my current solution, too, but I found that any preamp I'd tried imparted too much colour for this application, so I'm probably better off looking for a +4 dB solution.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrVelvet View Post
Thanks - tried that with my current solution, too, but I found that any preamp I'd tried imparted too much colour for this application, so I'm probably better off looking for a +4 dB solution.
Interesting, would you say that the preamps that you own tend to be colored or do you have some clean ones too that were too colored?
Old 22nd June 2009
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post
Interesting, would you say that the preamps that you own tend to be colored or do you have some clean ones too that were too colored?
The clean one I used was the Cranesong Flamingo... Brought a harsh edge to the sound. But then again, maybe another "clean" one (e.g. a Pendulum) would solve that problem - but I'd have to get it first heh. Or the harshness had to do with an impendance mismatching (since I used my low-output rec out signal instead of a balanced mic input signal).
Old 22nd June 2009
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrVelvet View Post
The clean one I used was the Cranesong Flamingo... Brought a harsh edge to the sound... But then again, maybe another "clean" one (e.g. a Pendulum) would solve that problem - but I'd have to get it first heh.
I'm very curious because I was about to purchase a J33 for playback only, not archival. I would be interested to hear if others have the same quality issues. My preamps would be Millennia or Nagra. My assumption was that the J33 simply added the RIAA EQ filters and transformed the MM cartridge impedance to mic loading, but if it seriously detracts from the sound quality... might have to reconsider.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #21
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Hope you didn't get me wrong - I do not have any experience the J33. I used consumer phono devices and was asking in the first place if the J33 would help me to get better level, but apparently it doesn't match my UA 2192 for use without an additional mic pre.

I did run my low-level consumer rec out signal through a mic preamp to see if that would help, but I just found it altered the signal in a way I didn't really favor. Hence the search for a phone pre with +4 dB output.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #22
In this case, you should really look at the J33, I did misunderstand you. The J33 costs only $200 USD or so. A high end phono pre can cost more than $1000, but you are basically paying for really high quality amplifiers to bring it up to line level, and in your case, +4. For a typical consumer, who does not already own really good amplifiers in the form of mic pres, they should buy a phono stage with the appropriate level of quality that they are looking for. For professionals, who usually already have great (pre)amplification, the J33 makes use of their existing gear by only inserting the RIAA filter and impedance matching transformers, then allows your existing high end amps to do the heavy lifting up to line level.

Your other option is to just buy a budget phono stage or buy a high end stage, but then you are simply paying for another set of gain stages that you can't ever use for any other application. Taking -10dBU consumer line level and amplifying that via a preamplifier is not the same thing, as you noted with the associated quality issues.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsvisser View Post
In this case, you should really look at the J33, I did misunderstand you. The J33 costs only $200 USD or so. A high end phono pre can cost more than $1000, but you are basically paying for really high quality amplifiers to bring it up to line level, and in your case, +4. For a typical consumer, who does not already own really good amplifiers in the form of mic pres, they should buy a phono stage with the appropriate level of quality that they are looking for. For professionals, who usually already have great (pre)amplification, the J33 makes use of their existing gear by only inserting the RIAA filter and impedance matching transformers, then allows your existing high end amps to do the heavy lifting up to line level.

Your other option is to just buy a budget phono stage or buy a high end stage, but then you are simply paying for another set of gain stages that you can't ever use for any other application. Taking -10dBU consumer line level and amplifying that via a preamplifier is not the same thing, as you noted with the associated quality issues.
Thanks for your input. Good points! Yes, the double duties of a great mic pre which works as a line amp in this case is tempting... I'll probably go that route. Maybe the Cranesong sounds more appropriate when fed mic level as it is supposed to be.

Thanks!
Old 23rd June 2009
  #24
For a wide range of cost effective phono pre amps, you may also have a look at Pro-Ject:
Pro-Ject Audio Systems

They're made in Austria so you should be able to find some in your country, perhaps even secondhand.

cheers,
Old 23rd June 2009
  #25
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i second the j33, been using it daily for 18 months. fantastic piece of gear, and the mic level outs are very hot already so don't require much (if any) gain at all.
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