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Please Help Me With My Vinyl Rips
Old 27th January 2014
  #1
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Please Help Me With My Vinyl Rips

I have posted this here as i am not entirely certain as to where it should go, so if i am wrong, i am sorry.

I am a jungle & Oldskool Dnb dj, who has just taken his first step out of the dark ages and purchased his first set of CDj's.

Now because of the Genre i mix, a lot (and i mean a lot!) of what i mix is only available on vinyl and there in lies my problem.

I did a bit of research and read some positive reviews on the Stanton T.92 USB Turntable. I watched a few youtube videos and got Audacity, plugged my Stanton T.92 USB into the macbook and started ripping my collection. I ripped all the tunes as .Wav files at first, but changed to .AIFF (I Re-formatted them from the original Audacity file, not converted the .Wav) because i was having trouble with the ID Tags on each file.

This is one of my favourite tracks to mix, and i thought the quality sounded really good…………Until i actually mixed it with a CD rip.

https://soundcloud.com/matty_c-1/terrordome

Now when i listen to my Vinyl rips, i see that the quality is really bad, they sound weak and well….flat for want of a better word.

So,

My goal is to get my vinyl rips sounding much, much better with the equipment i have. If i need to buy something else, then depending on price, so be it.

This is what equpitment i have.

Turntables

Stanton T.92 USB x1
Technics M5G x2
Technics SL1210 Mk2 x2

Mixer

Allen & Heath DB4

Computers

27-Inch iMac (Mid 2011), OS X Lion 10.7.5 & Logic Express (Not Sure What Version)

Macbook Pro (Early 2013) Retina, OS X 10.9.1 (Maverick I Think) & Audacity

I use Ortofon Dj "S" Carts & Styli on all my turntables.

Now,

Although i have all this gear, i am Primarily a vinyl Dj, so my knowledge is not majorly technical, i purchased logic express because i am a guitarist too, but i never got around to recording too much with it, and therefore learning much about it. I do know the bare bones basics though.

Can i achieve the level of quality i am looking for, with the gear i have? if so, can you please tell me how?


Thanks for taking the time to read this and any help will be great fully received.

please try and remember that i am a dj not a studio engineer, i may not understand a lot of the technical phrases or abbreviations, so please be patient with me


Matt.
Old 27th January 2014
  #2
tkr
Gear Addict
I have made vilyl rips with Audacity too, but a with totally different turntable, and I am not convinced that the Stanton turntable is the best of all possible worlds. On the other hand,the Technics 1210 turntable has a very good reputation. As far as I know, Audacity can manage your A/D- conversion quite well. You will need a RIAA equalisation somewhere as well but that would probabla be in your mixer. If that is the case, your Stanton turntable is totally redundant and probably the weakest link in your chain.
Old 27th January 2014
  #3
Gear Head
 

+1

Doesn't the A&H have a built in USB interface? In that case run one of your technics turntables through the XONE into the USB port on one of you computers - should sound a lot better that the stanton.
Old 28th January 2014
  #4
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paul brown's Avatar
that Stanton T.92 USB Turntable looks like its designed for mp3 quality rips. seems to be the target audience, hence the price. i cannot find one reputable review of it with any meaningful measurements. your Technics SL1210 Mk2 on the other hand... your mixer has "a built-in, high quality (24-bit / 96kHz), multi-channel, fully patchable USB2 soundcard allows replay and recording from audio software for 4 stereo sends and 4 stereo returns." (from the allen and heath website blurb). i'd try the technics into the mixer and out via usb to computer. then i'd compare that quality of rip with what you've achieved so far. you haven't spent anymore money and you'll quickly hear if you are going in the right direction!
Old 28th January 2014
  #5
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Ok, my mistake was buying the Stanton it seems. I didn't have the DB4 at the time of buying the T.92 so I thought that would be the best option for me.

I have seen a lot of people saying "don'tuse a dj mixer, because the output levels are too low" & to use a Usb phono preamp between the turntable and the computer.

My main question now is, What software should I use to record the vinyl?

I have Logic Express, Audacity & Ableton live. I am most familiar with audacity, but I am prepared to do a bit of reading or to take instructions from somebody in the know.

I am assuming that the higher the khz or bit rate the better quality my rip will be? (This is starting to venture into realms that I don't understand....yet). I will be exporting the tracks as .Aiff files because I don't like the sound of Mp3s.

So if anyone has any further info for me, please feel free to share it with me as I am a total beginner.

Thanks

Matt.
Old 28th January 2014
  #6
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Oh, and thanks to all you guys that have already taken the time to read this and reply.

Thanks again

Matt.
Old 28th January 2014
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul brown View Post
you are right. line level out of the technics is too low. you'll need something like this Rolls VP29 - Phono Preamp VP29 B&H Photo Video between the turntable and mixer/audio interface.
Thanks Paul, Is this considered a good preamp? its quite cheap and i was wondering if it would be worth my while spending more to get better results?

The tracks are for Dj'ing purposes and the kind of music is not exactly a highly detailed genre like a orchestra, but i would like to get the rips as good as possible.

Thanks for your input,

Matt.
Old 28th January 2014
  #8
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Also, I am assuming that USB is the best way to connect to the computer?

I don't know if the usb has limitations as apposed to any other method?
Old 28th January 2014
  #9
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firby's Avatar
 

Use a good needle. Dj Shadow talked about using an elipitical needle or something like that when recording samples. You can't back cue with them but they give a better sound, especially on used records.

If you are a dj you know that after you play a record 10-20 times the sound degrades. Try to record them when they are fresh.

Use good cables that aren't too long. Clean everything first. Peak at -6 dB and get a clean sound then normalize or boost the level of the digital signal later to peak at -1db.

I just used the output of a A&H Xone:92 into an apogee duet. It's not perfect, but it is good and the vinyl-ness is pretty preserved. I could definitely spin that on my CDJs without worry.

Definitely use fresh needles. The great majority of where you will degrade the sound is in the analog stage.
Old 28th January 2014
  #10
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattalik View Post
Thanks Paul, Is this considered a good preamp? its quite cheap and i was wondering if it would be worth my while spending more to get better results?

The tracks are for Dj'ing purposes and the kind of music is not exactly a highly detailed genre like a orchestra, but i would like to get the rips as good as possible.

Thanks for your input,

Matt.
Phono Preamp Reviews | Stereophile.com

there are many options to fit any budget. you could use the preamplifier stage of an integrated amplifier if you have one. as to the resulting quality, especially if you are going to be playing the tracks out in a set, i cannot say.

usb versus firewire to get into your computer. lots of discussion on this subject. as you already have a means of transferring with usb, maybe concentrate on the preamp side first. there could also be a discussion as to the quality of the A/D in your mixer. your expenditure could increase exponentially if you want the best quality rip!
Old 28th January 2014
  #11
tkr
Gear Addict
-Someone please enlighten me:
Does the A&H DB4 contain a RIAA equalization? I downloaded the manual, but I can`t find any mention of it in there.
Old 28th January 2014
  #12
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Thanks for taking the time to help me out. That is to all of you.

I am learning something from every post.

Matt.
Old 28th January 2014
  #13
tkr
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul brown View Post
you are right. line level out of the technics is too low. you'll need something like this Rolls VP29 - Phono Preamp VP29 B&H Photo Video between the turntable and mixer/audio interface.
I dont`t get this.

I looked up the specs, and the Ortofon DJ cartridge`s output is 6 mV.
That is a high- output cartridge, and should give more than enough level into a phono input.

Just for comparison, my mc cartridge`s output is a puny 0.35 mV
Old 28th January 2014
  #14
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macmurphy's Avatar
 

hmm, i bought a stanton t.55 usb to rip my albums etc.
i don't use the usb connection but the line outs directly in to my interface.
the results are excellent.
Old 28th January 2014
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmurphy View Post
hmm, i bought a stanton t.55 usb to rip my albums etc.
i don't use the usb connection but the line outs directly in to my interface.
the results are excellent.
I must be doing something wrong. Looks like the usb from the T.92 is not the way forward.

It does have a S/PDIF output, I have never used it and have no idea what it is or does.
Old 28th January 2014
  #16
tkr
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattalik View Post

It does have a S/PDIF output, I have never used it and have no idea what it is or does.
S/PDIF - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old 28th January 2014
  #17
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macmurphy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattalik View Post
I must be doing something wrong. Looks like the usb from the T.92 is not the way forward.

It does have a S/PDIF output, I have never used it and have no idea what it is or does.
along with the S/PDIF and USB there should be a couple of phono line outs on the left with a PH/Line switch. switch to line and connect to line ins on your interface. that should do the trick.
Old 28th January 2014
  #18
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Quote:
Thanks tkr, I had already read that, just before you posted it.
Old 28th January 2014
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macmurphy View Post
along with the S/PDIF and USB there should be a couple of phono line outs on the left with a PH/Line switch. switch to line and connect to line ins on your interface. that should do the trick.
I don't yet have an interface and was planning on using the usb out on the rear of my mixer. Then I read somewhere that the output on mixers are too low, so a phono preamp interface should be used.

Thats where I am at currently.

The next stage as far as I can tell is which one is best for the money, usb or firewire, Audacity or logic express and what settings.

I am just a guy that mixes records you see, I'm not a studio engineer or an audiophile. I am not scared of learning a few bits to get the results I desire, but I know very little about sound production.

Thanks

Matt.
Old 28th January 2014
  #20
tkr
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattalik View Post
I don't yet have an interface and was planning on using the usb out on the rear of my mixer. Then I read somewhere that the output on mixers are too low, so a phono preamp interface should be used.

Thats where I am at currently.

The next stage as far as I can tell is which one is best for the money, usb or firewire, Audacity or logic express and what settings.

I am just a guy that mixes records you see, I'm not a studio engineer or an audiophile. I am not scared of learning a few bits to get the results I desire, but I know very little about sound production.

Thanks

Matt.
I was just wondering- Have you ever tried connecting your Technics turntable to your mixer?
There should be two configurable analog ins on the back panel. You can choose between line in and phono by pressing a button. You should then have a heathy input level into your mixer. If I`m not totally mistaken, you should also have a RIAA eq in the signal path. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization.

By its function, the A&H mixer is an interface as good as any. You now have
1) A turntable with sufficient output level
2) An interface with the capability to perform an Analog/Digital conversion
3) A digital connection (usb) to your computer., where you can record using Audacity.

In this case, I really can`t understand why the Rec out (usb) level from your mixer should give you too low an output. It doesn`t make sense!

Apart from that, if you record at low levels in Audacity, all you have to do to bring up your level is to normalise your recording to -1 dB in audacity before burning it to cd.
Old 28th January 2014
  #21
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paul brown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkr View Post
I dont`t get this.

I looked up the specs, and the Ortofon DJ cartridge`s output is 6 mV.
That is a high- output cartridge, and should give more than enough level into a phono input.

Just for comparison, my mc cartridge`s output is a puny 0.35 mV
i stand corrected (said the man in the orthopedic shoe)!
Old 28th January 2014
  #22
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paul brown's Avatar
if you are really interested in maintaining the sonic integrity of your vinyl, a good quality ADC is needed. i know you want to use what you have and i agree you should try to reconfigure your current set-up and then listen to the results. if they are acceptable over a club PA, bingo! if not, then you are going to need to invest in the analogue to digital conversion stage. maybe you could book time in a studio. plenty around in essex. try with what you have first. at least it gets you familiar with the whole conversion process.
Old 28th January 2014
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkr View Post
I was just wondering- Have you ever tried connecting your Technics turntable to your mixer?
There should be two configurable analog ins on the back panel. You can choose between line in and phono by pressing a button. You should then have a heathy input level into your mixer. If I`m not totally mistaken, you should also have a RIAA eq in the signal path. RIAA equalization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

By its function, the A&H mixer is an interface as good as any. You now have
1) A turntable with sufficient output level
2) An interface with the capability to perform an Analog/Digital conversion
3) A digital connection (usb) to your computer., where you can record using Audacity.

In this case, I really can`t understand why the Rec out (usb) level from your mixer should give you too low an output. It doesn`t make sense!

Apart from that, if you record at low levels in Audacity, all you have to do to bring up your level is to normalise your recording to -1 dB in audacity before burning it to cd.
In short, the answer is no, I haven't tried this as of yet. The reason was because of bthe low output levels that I had read of in other posts.

The RIAA curve is something I have only just found out about since making this thread, and was under the impression I needed a specialist piece of kit to apply.

As I said I am a total newbie and have already learnt so much.

I have looked on audacity and found the normalize function. So I will connect my gear and try again when I get in from work tomorrow, armed with all the tips and info I have gained from you guys.


YThank you for your contributions and taking the time to research and help me so far.

I will report back with my results.

Matt.
Old 28th January 2014
  #24
Gear Head
 

Connect your Technics turntable to the analogue in on the DB4 (make sure the LN/PH button is pushed in). Then connect the USB 2.0 on the DB4 to the USB port on your computer. Make sure your computer recognises the DB4 as an input source in Audacity or Logic. Make sure the signal is loud but isn't clipping - it should light up most of the lights on the meter but should not going into the red - adjust levels accordingly on both the xone meters and the meters in Logic or Audacity. Record.
Old 28th January 2014
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djroshi View Post
Connect your Technics turntable to the analogue in on the DB4 (make sure the LN/PH button is pushed in). Then connect the USB 2.0 on the DB4 to the USB port on your computer. Make sure your computer recognises the DB4 as an input source in Audacity or Logic. Make sure the signal is loud but isn't clipping - it should light up most of the lights on the meter but should not going into the red - adjust levels accordingly on both the xone meters and the meters in Logic or Audacity. Record.
Thats my plan mate, thanks for your input. I will post my results some time tomorrow. Hopefully someone else can use this infer to their advantage too.

Matt.
Old 29th January 2014
  #26
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Ok, i have came across my latest problem. I tried to rip some vinyl, but it turns out that the db4 is not currently compatible with the Mavericks OS X. Driver updates are to be released either later this week, or defiantly next week according to Allen & Heath customer support (Who were superb by the way).

I will update the thread with my results when i have something to post.

Thanks,

Matt.
Old 29th January 2014
  #27
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filipv's Avatar
I'm afraid you will never be able to get vinyl sound as good as cd, since cd is better. Sorry.
Old 29th January 2014
  #28
tkr
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by filipv View Post
I'm afraid you will never be able to get vinyl sound as good as cd, since cd is better. Sorry.
-Depends on your definition of "good" and "better", doesn`t it? Besides, the thread starter just wants to rip music which is unavailable on cd in the best possible quality.
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