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Digitizing my LPs. Converter Anxiety. Psychologically Unhappy.
Old 1st January 2011
  #1
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lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Digitizing my LPs. Converter Anxiety. Psychologically Unhappy.

Hello there. I hope that you are happy and well.

I have to move from my four-story 1926 achingly beautiful house to a small apartment. In the process of shrinking my physical possessions, I am recording my LPs onto disc and discarding them.

My present converter is an M-Audio Delta 44, which I run at 32-bit 44.1kHz. Its "sound" works well for my recordings of myself. It certainly converts better than I sing. But I am in a knot about using this for archiving my precious LPs, which rule my life.

(I will never, I hope, have to digitize my 45's. NOTHING sounds better than a good 7" 45rpm single.)

If you was me, which you ain't, but if you was, would you take the jump to one of the converters in the $1000 range for this project? Why, exactly? I am poor and will get poorer, but I have a bundle in account at PayPal from all the stuff I'm selling off. I could do it if I should.

Thanks

LP
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
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maks's Avatar
 

hey i feel ya! you have two options.

1. Radial J33 Stereo Phono Preamp and Direct Box about $200 , excellent piece, could improve the sound drastically over usual dj mixers ( a new needle wouldn't hurt either)

2. a better converter like an apogee duet about $500 much better than m-audio

good luck, happy new year
Old 1st January 2011
  #3
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mlange's Avatar
 

You shouldn't record LPs without applying an RIAA eq curve. As an example, this is one of the reasons why there are separate inputs for phonographs on receiver/amplifiers.....



that, and that most turntables are not preamplified.

A good phono preamplifier will address both of these issues.


turntable-> phono preamp-> DAW line input = good phonograph audio quality

IMHO, you can save yourself a lot of money and end-up with much better (closer to original) sound quality than merely buying a new $$$ converter.
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
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cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by maks View Post
hey i feel ya! you have two options.

1. Radial J33 Stereo Phono Preamp and Direct Box about $200 , excellent piece, could improve the sound drastically over usual dj mixers ( a new needle wouldn't hurt either)

good luck, happy new year

that radial unit is great

also, I recommend the mackie onyx blackjack for cheap good quality 2ch AD/DA
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

The converters won't make even a tenth as much difference as the LP player itself. That's where to put the money, turntable, arm and cartridge.
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
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lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Well, just to fill in the missing data, the turntable is a first-generation VPI with a Rega RB300 arm and a Shure V-15 cartridge -- the last generation of that, whatever it was.

The preamp is homemade: A 12Ax7 to a passive RIAA filter to a 6SN7, with a pretty sophisticated tube-regulated power supply ending in a 12B4.

Cables are premium but I won't go into that.

LP
Old 1st January 2011
  #8
Gear Addict
What LP's are you discarding? I may be interested once the transfer is complete!
Old 1st January 2011
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Do not discard your LPs! Digitize them and get a good friend to store them for you or something. I still have most of mine. New technology comes, you transfer them to that. At one time I was given a whole bunch of LPs, a few years later friend who gave them to me came out of his monastery or whatever, boy was he glad when I gave them back to him!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
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GoldMember's Avatar
Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by lame pseudonym View Post
Hello
My present converter is an M-Audio Delta 44, which I run at 32-bit 44.1kHz. Its "sound" works...
work at 96khz 24bits.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
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lame pseudonym's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
work at 96khz 24bits.
Why?
Old 2nd January 2011
  #12
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Much of the music has already been converted from the master tapes and will sound far better than what you can get from any piece of used vinyl. I've been able to find very obscure rock and jazz stuff, so unless these are really rare you might find it more worth your while to just buy what you like on CD or as a high quality download.

The dynamic range of an LP is just horrible compared to CD, and the surface noise is awful, too. You may not notice it when playing an LP, but you will when you try to convert it.

The easiest way is to buy a digital turntable with a USB output. Mine came with Audacity, but as I already have better stuff than that, I used what I had. (Yeah, I do know what a good turntable is, and I have a decent one though nothing like what I used to have. Life goes on.)

Once you have your collection converted to digital, you'll then want to denoise, decrackle, and declick the files. Then you may want to play with the eq and maybe expansion. We're talking many many hours of messing around. Is it worth it to you? It was not to me, I replaced the stuff that I cared about. I still have a couple of boxes of LPs around here somewhere... some more rare stuff, bands I recorded or that I liked (but I've even given most of that away), some white covers and test pressings.... but all the standard rock and roll has been replaced by CDs. Now that you can buy individual songs, you can collect only the songs that you care about, tossing the filler tracks.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
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doug hazelrigg's Avatar
I concur-- don't get rid of your LP's -- find a place to store them. Someday you'll move into a bigger space again and wish you had them. If you find a way to keep them, then the need to digitize them with world-class fidelity diminishes; you can just use the USB connection and the Audacity software to clean them up -- that should be good enough in the interim.

This way you'll save the $1,000. The audio difference won't be unbearable. You can take the money saved and buy some weed, or a really beautiful prostitute, or put it on a number in Vegas, or give it to a charity, or...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #14
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JonesH's Avatar
Digitizing my LPs. Converter Anxiety. Psychologically Unhappy.

If you're on Mac, you may consider the Metric Halo ULN-2 which has two great mic preamps and two great converters. The built in DSP can do RIAA filter correction.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #15
Gear Addict
 

The VPI, Rega 300 & Shure cartridge set you're using is better than any USB turntable Iv'e seen.

As Richard Black stated in the previous post, your turntable, cartridge & tonearm will have a bigger impact on sound quality than the converters.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #16
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AlphaDingo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Do not discard your LPs! Digitize them and get a good friend to store them for you or something. I still have most of mine. New technology comes, you transfer them to that. At one time I was given a whole bunch of LPs, a few years later friend who gave them to me came out of his monastery or whatever, boy was he glad when I gave them back to him!
I second this notion. I would suggest renting time at a studio that has really high end gear for this task. That may be the best way to get what you want and may even cost you less than you would otherwise spend.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #17
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Black View Post
The converters won't make even a tenth as much difference as the LP player itself. That's where to put the money, turntable, arm and cartridge.
I agree. (and preamp)

I would borrow a High End converter from someone, or even rent one.

Convert a few LPs with the borrowed converter and convert them again with your M-Audio, have someone scramble them up for you, and then listen blindfolded to the difference. If you can tell the difference blindfolded, continue to borrow or rent the High End converter to finish digitizing your albums.

You may have a lot of records, but it is still a finite project which, at the end of it, you can return the unit.

If you CAN'T hear the difference, then that pretty much should take care of your "converter anxiety" - unless you WANT to have converter anxiety for some reason - just do the conversion on your M-Audio.

as [email protected] said, your transfers off your used LPs are going to be far inferior to what the label's mastering engineers did directly from the original master tapes.

No transfer will be 'good for all time' but the professional label's attempt certainly beats anything you will be able to do. That's not to say you shouldn't do a good job, just to say you shouldn't have anxiety about it!


Forgive my amateur analysis here, but when you say you are 'psychologically unhappy', perhaps you are transferring your feelings about your move and general life situation to what should be a simple audio task.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
the turntable is a first-generation VPI with a Rega RB300 arm and a Shure V-15 cartridge
Impressed! That Shure never got the recognition it deserved from most audiophiles. Only thing to make sure of with the VPI (and I dare say you've done this already) is that it is well isolated from the ground. Its suspension, as I recall, was only moderate.

I would actually tend to archive LPs at a higher sampling rate (88.2kHz upwards) though there's little point using 24 bits when the noise floor of LP is certainly short of 16 bits. There may not be much music above 20kHz (there may not often be _any_ detectable, let's face it) but scratches and tics can excite output above 20kHz and because most A-D converters have compromised anti-alias filtering there's a lot to be said for playing cautious. You can down-convert later, with better A-A filtering, if you want to, though after all these days the cost of storage media is pennies per hour even at 192kHz 24 bit.
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