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Bridging the gap between analog and digital

Discussion in 'Kayo Dot' started by Nut Butter, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. Nut Butter

    Nut Butter QTΠ

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    So I’m a huuuuge fan of vinyl, I love the way they look and feel and sound, and I gotta admit to being much more impressed by sounds emanating from a needle being dragged through tiny mountain ranges than by those synthesized by a laser decoding ones and zeros... I dunno, I find analog so much more mysterious and noble.
    But I am aware of vinyl and needle degradation though, and that worries me to no end. Well, not really, but I would love to find a way to transfer vinyl records to good quality MP3s... My ultimate plan would be to centralize all my music on my computer, hook it up to some decent speakers and go from there. I was wondering if anyone here knows enough about computers / sound engineering to recommend the ideal medium to bridge that gap between analog and digital... For some reason I get the feeling plugging a turntable directly into the computer and recording them to .wav format wouldn’t be a good idea, sound quality wise (this is just instinct talking). I’ve been leaning towards a minidisk player... copy vinyl records onto minidisks, and them rip them on the computer. For some reason I get a feeling I would get better results that way, though I may be mistaken.
    So yeah, any kind of advice would be greatly appreciated. Then maybe one day some of that great shit I’ve got on vinyl might show up on a mix CD for a lucky board-member!
     
  2. TheNewChupe

    TheNewChupe HTML is not allowed.

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    i might do this too, once a decent audio card is purchased. i bought an old revolver turntable with a shure stylus that is really decent.
     
  3. avi

    avi W3RK3R

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    the best way to do it is as direct as possible. the more conversions you do, the more sound degradation. that's just a basic audio principle.

    For my setup, I run my turntable into a basic receiver for a preamp and a ground and from there to my computer where I record it as .wav files with the Steinberg app Clean. Clean has some decent filters that get rid of excess vinyl noise and make the final recordings sound quite good. They also sell a special preamp with a ground especially for running a phono into your computer. I dunno how good it is, but it might be worth checking out. I just bought a cheap receiver at a thrift store myself and it works fine.
     
  4. GRIND.KILLED.EMO.

    GRIND.KILLED.EMO. the giant poo monster

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    the phillips/magnavox version of the ipod was especially created to do this
     
  5. Mindless Cracker

    Mindless Cracker New Metal Member

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    all I did was run my turntable into my line in and then recorded into cool edit and amplified/touched up the sound there. it sounded pretty good
     
  6. Nut Butter

    Nut Butter QTΠ

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    Wow, I'm surprised to read that... I'd tried a similar setup once with a tape player and I got background noise like you wouldn't believe! Maybe my cables were shittyly insulated though...

    ElNuevoChupe, you raise a good question about audio cards... I imagine you could have the best external setup ever and still get shitty results with a low-end audio card. How much do you intend on spending on yours?

    Thanks for all the answers! avi your setup sounds particularly interesting, I'll look into that. G.K.E. What's an ipod?
     
  7. Firedwarf

    Firedwarf sock puppet

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  8. Nut Butter

    Nut Butter QTΠ

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  9. avi

    avi W3RK3R

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    you just gotta remember that all turntables need some sort of preamp and ground to get the signal to a useable sound quality in volume. any basic receiver with a phono-in will do, as in my case, but there are other ways. the variations in setup pretty much go from there.
     
  10. Firedwarf

    Firedwarf sock puppet

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    I didn't know if you were joking or not, NB!
     
  11. FalseTodd

    FalseTodd Skirt Wizard

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    Also, going to MiniDisc first, if you're still considering it, is not a good idea. MiniDiscs use compression (pretty good compression, but compression nonetheless) and to my knowledge it is not lossless (i.e. it will reduce recording quality). If you really want this stuff to sound good, you want to control as many aspects of what happens to the signal as possible, especially the level of compression when you finally go to mp3.
     
  12. Nut Butter

    Nut Butter QTΠ

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    Wow thanks, that actually answers a question I decided not to ask!! So you sacrifice quality when you copy a CD to MiniDisc, I didn’t know that... In the same line of thought, I’ve always wondered whether ripping tracks from CD (to standard .wav files) causes a loss of sound quality. I’m guessing it would depend on ripping speed, but even at very low speeds, is there a perceptible, or even theoretical, degradation in sound quality? I say perceptible because, really, the human ear can only pick up on so much... Can anyone tell the difference between a 160 kbps and a 192 kbps MP3? Doubtful.

    Speaking of which, when I get all my setup ready, there’s no way I’m encoding under 224 kbps. And I’ve been using the same encoder since the beginning, Blade Encoder, a wonderful DOS-based fully configurable little app. that’s never given me a reason to look elsewhere.
     
  13. avi

    avi W3RK3R

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    ripping a cd to a wav should cause no reduction in sound quality at all
     
  14. mindspell

    mindspell vvv Jake's ass vvv

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    I would consider some lossless format to rip the tracks, like flac or Monkey audio.

    you can use dbPowerAmp to rip them pretty easily. Flac sounds good as hell.
     
  15. Nut Butter

    Nut Butter QTΠ

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    So are you saying that wav files are indeed lossful? I'm getting conflincting information here!! And if so, are these formats you speak of heavier than the 10M/min standard of .wav files?
     
  16. FalseTodd

    FalseTodd Skirt Wizard

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    Since CDs are entirely digital, and ripping is the process of reading that digital data and basically making a hard drive copy, the only possibility of degradation is if the information is entirely misread (i.e. bits get converted from 1 to 0 or 0 to 1). Ripping speed should be set to the highest point you can without getting read errors. (Which if your computer is evenly only sorta new should be the maximum speed of the drive).

    Depending on the encoder I would say there is a chance you will hear a difference between these two. In particular listen to the treble of whatever you are recording. Bad encoders will really trash high end, but up around 160/192 you ought to be fine.

    I think it would be worth your time if you're going to be doing alot of this to do a thorough test of bitrates (if not encoders as well). When I say thorough I mean test bitrates way above and way less than what you think will work to give you an idea of the problems sound quality and disk-space wise that you need to watch out for. Make a .wav file of some LP you want to transfer (and one that is in good shape and is a good recording in the first place!) and run it through your encoder at 64kbps, 128 kbps, 160, 192, etc.
     
  17. mindspell

    mindspell vvv Jake's ass vvv

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    No but as an alternative to mp3s I would consider FLAC of Monkey. FLAC is approximatly 1 and 3/4 bigger than mp3s but are apparently lossless (I have yet to read all the theory behind but I can tell you they sound extremely good compared to an mp3). I was suggesting as you mentionned encoding at 224 kbps.
     
  18. mindspell

    mindspell vvv Jake's ass vvv

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    BTW, wav files are bit per bit the exact same thing as a CD, there is no encoding there. You could simply copy the track file on your PC rename it and it would run as a .wav

    However, when you record your vinyls on the PC you are digitalizing so depending at which speed you are sampling and the sample size (typically 44.1 KHz and 16 bits increments for CDs) the better the quality of the recording will be.
     
  19. Nut Butter

    Nut Butter QTΠ

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    Aah, I misunderstood, thought you meant .fla and .ape formats were lossless alternatives to .wav files... Thanks FalseTodd, mindspell et al. for all the valuable insight/input.
     

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