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Old 17th February 2020
Lives for gear

I've transferred a ton of my records to files.

The Rega 3 will do a fine job. I'm a little behind on what's current with cartridges, so no comment there. FWIW, I'm using a Rega 2 turntable with a Linn Basik tonearm, and a Rega Bias II cartridge. I'm happy with it.

But, here's a few things that aren't always mentioned.

The cartridge mounting is CRITICAL. There is exactly one spot where the stylus will be in the optimum position for the entire surface of the record. In the wrong spot, the stylus will be at an angle at certain spots, and you'll get groove distortion. Used to do it myself, but now I take it to a good audio store to be set up.

The cleaner the record, the better the results. The cheap/handheld cleaners aren't worth it. If you can get your hands on a good cleaning machine (I rented one), it will make a difference.

Record warps will translate to subsonic energy (like 10 hz). You'll see it in the waveform. My preamp has a subsonic filter, but if not, then a plugin will do the trick.

I've tried some of the general vinyl cleanup software, and IMO they damage the sound. To clean up the clicks and pops, I use the Acon Restoration Suite DeClick plugin. It works well, and you can pick it up cheap during the sales. Listen to what it's removing, and make sure that you're not taking out the transients. For hiss/broadband noise, the DeNoise plugin (you take a noiseprint) used with a light touch can help. But I avoid that if possible.

The cleaner the vinyl, the less the software has to do.

You'll hear any vinyl noise the most during the song fadeouts (hey, they used to be the standard). I'll do my own fadeout a few seconds before the actual fadeout if it can be done without hurting the song.

I will do some subtle EQ if I think it's necessary. I'll reference my rip to the same track on Spotify if it's available. (Even if a record is out of print, often one track will appear in a compilation). I won't try to match it - rather I see if there's something obvious that I like about the Spotify version that's missing in my rip.

Hope this helps.