Vinyl -> digital

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Si
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Vinyl -> digital

Postby Si » 7 Sep 2020, 4:48pm

Long have I planned to transfer all of my old vinyl records to digital so that I can play that on my phone and thus in my car.

Bought the cables, downloaded the software, plugged my deck into my amp into my PC and tried it. Quality was awful. What I was hearing through the headphones coming out the amp was fine. And if I do youtube on my tablet to my PC via a cable that's fine. Just doesn't like the amp to PC.

Anyway, lif is too short so have started buying a number of my records on CD from places like Music Magpie....often around £2.50 a go and quality has been good so far...then just RIPping them to the phone. All works fine so far...apart from CSM's Straw Donkey won't copy for some reason but that's by the by.

However, there is an issue....a number of my records are not common and thus finding them on CD and second hand is not happening. I've looked at those places that copy records to digital for you....HOW MUCH!?!?!?!?!?!?! I'm in the wrong job! Thus, just wondering if anyone has used one of those budget record decks that record to memory stick? Any good?

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simonineaston
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Re: Vynil -> digital

Postby simonineaston » 7 Sep 2020, 5:12pm

Yes. No.
However, if you subscribe to the notion that something is better than nothing, then one will do. I have no recommendation.
As far as the cost of transferring a cherished vinyl record onto CD - or better still, making a digital file, you may be surprised at the outlay, both in terms of hardware, software and time. A proper job is way harder than I thought it would be. So much so that I don't bother anymore.
Another option would be to consider a subscription to Spotify or YouTube, where you will find all but the most obscure recordings, available to play anytime, anywhere.
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby rjb » 7 Sep 2020, 5:38pm

I used to do this with my old pc which had audio inputs. My current laptop only has a usb input so I purchased a Behringer adaptor which works fine. It doubles up as I can digitise audio from my tablet using Spotify or u tube by plugging in to the adaptor. ( Audio does a digital/ analogue / digital conversion but it sounds ok) Software wise I have tried audacity but prefer audiograbber with which I am familiar. I transfer audio into MP3 format which is ok for my needs. It's not as good as original CDs or vinyl but pretty close. :wink:
Downside is it is time consuming. Should have done this during lockdown if you aren't retired. :wink:
I had to adjust the audio settings on the pc which took some finding initially but that's now gone and replaced by my laptop.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby [XAP]Bob » 7 Sep 2020, 6:00pm

Remember that vinyl quality is heavily dependant on the deck used. I would use a proper deck, sent through a dedicated phono stage and out of the tape loop of a decent amp.

That would then be fed into a relatively basic USB audio device and into some "real" recording software (Audacity is fine).

What you don't say is in what way the audio is rubbish. Is there a ground loop, is there "tape hiss" (dithering noise) - what format are you recording to?
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby simonineaston » 7 Sep 2020, 6:28pm

Whether or not the game is worth the candle is dependant on your motive. You may wish to preserve a treasured, rare recording. You may wish to listen to the back-catalogue of an artist who has fallen out of favour. You may want to enjoy an artist who is well known and whose greatest hits are easily available digitally. Recall too that the modern youth enjoys music in a different way to the farty old bloke such as myself. They don't so much own the media as stream it when they need it. Personally, I'd describe the sound quality you are likely to get out of an inexpensive usb record-player as comparable to FM car radio, no better or worse, but not good. I think it's the least attractive option.
Last edited by simonineaston on 7 Sep 2020, 9:04pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby mercalia » 7 Sep 2020, 7:41pm

Si wrote:Long have I planned to transfer all of my old vinyl records to digital so that I can play that on my phone and thus in my car.

Bought the cables, downloaded the software, plugged my deck into my amp into my PC and tried it. Quality was awful. What I was hearing through the headphones coming out the amp was fine. And if I do youtube on my tablet to my PC via a cable that's fine. Just doesn't like the amp to PC.

Anyway, lif is too short so have started buying a number of my records on CD from places like Music Magpie....often around £2.50 a go and quality has been good so far...then just RIPping them to the phone. All works fine so far...apart from CSM's Straw Donkey won't copy for some reason but that's by the by.

However, there is an issue....a number of my records are not common and thus finding them on CD and second hand is not happening. I've looked at those places that copy records to digital for you....HOW MUCH!?!?!?!?!?!?! I'm in the wrong job! Thus, just wondering if anyone has used one of those budget record decks that record to memory stick? Any good?


I assume you already have a record player. I doubt one of those cheapo ones with digital out would be any good - they have cheap cartridges for one thing. I wonder if you are setting the sampling rate of the software high enough. There are normally settings that are very low for eg just spoken word up to FM and cd and Blu ray sound quality. If you havent played around with that you need to. Have you?

Capture.JPG


16 bit 44khz is cd quality

There is also the matter what type of stereo - joint stereo is a degraded form where both channels are synthesised from the data rather than having 2 separate channels

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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby [XAP]Bob » 7 Sep 2020, 9:43pm

I wouldn't choose to record at 16 bit - unless you want to spend time making sure the volume is correct beforehand.

I'd record at 24 bit, then use the "normalise" feature to boost the overall volume to a fixed level (0dBFS) *without* compression. After that you can drop the additional 8 bits, and you'll be left with the best recording you could have made.
There is no such gain from increasing the frequency of the recording, despite the claims of certain corners of the audiophile community (note that there is a gain to be had in your ADC oversampling, but that is basically always happening completely transparently in all but the very cheapest devices).

But yes - you want the *very* best analogue device you can muster - even a cheap usb audio device will handle the recording well, on a laptop you might find that you need to unplug from the mains to get decent sound.


https://wiki.xiph.org/Videos/Digital_Show_and_Tell
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby simonineaston » 7 Sep 2020, 9:59pm

Have you seen this? If not using Audacity, the principles apply broadly, whatever the softwhere. It's a labour of love, mind... one weak link in the chain and poof - bad sound results.
I got excellent results, when I could be bothered, cleaning each LP first, splitting albums into tracks and scanning the original album covers. The investment in hardware over the years, as vinyl replay was a hobby anyway, had included a disc cleaner and expensive turntables, cartridges and specialist head amplifiers. It's prohibitive though, simply to rip a handful of recordings, however treasured... the cost of SME turntable, studio-quality pick-up arms & exotic moving-coil cartridges make the hobby of cycling look sane and excellent value-for-money! :shock: ...and much better for you, too.
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby Magpies » 7 Sep 2020, 10:03pm

As Bob says above ..... a freeware programme called Audacity will enable you to record on your PC at 24 bit, normalize to 0dbfs, and even filter out dust crackles etc if you want before exporting to your choice of mp3 AIFF or lossless formats. All free to download with an excellent handbook.

And don't forget to wet wash your vinyl on a proper record cleaner before transferring to digital .. :D

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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby Magpies » 7 Sep 2020, 10:06pm

Simon beat me to it ..... Like him, I too take an insane interest in my vinyl-sourced sound system!

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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby al_yrpal » 8 Sep 2020, 8:19am

As the Dad of a musician, modern musicians love vinyls. When new albums are released there will be a vinyl with nice artwork and sleeve notes. A few thousand of them and a few hundred signed copies. Sales of vinyls alongside tees and memorabilia at gigs and festivals. Fans love and treasure them, love the sound of them and extra income in these days of rip off Spotify, Apple and Amazon free streaming, the only other income source being appearances.
Apart from that many of us love the warm sound of vinyl.
If you merely use Spotify etc to enjoy music from artists you really love be ashamed. Remember the less popular ones are powerless and exploited and particularly struggling at the moment

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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby [XAP]Bob » 8 Sep 2020, 8:27am

The sound of a vinyl is often perceived to be pleasantly distorted, but there is nothing there that can’t be encoded to a CD.

The loss of “proper” album covers, both the artwork and sleeve notes, is regrettable for the music lover, but the gain in reproduction authenticity is a significant gain.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby simonineaston » 8 Sep 2020, 8:41am

modern musicians love vinyls.
Completely agree with Al's comments re musicians, vinyl & Spotify. I live in Bristol which is (was...) a buzzing hub-bub of musicians of all stripe - modern, jazz, classical - and I often buy recordings when I go to gigs. It's a great way to show appreciation and a lasting memory, of course - and the money goes straight to the artist, whereas Spotify etc, are even more swingeing in payments than the music labels of old used to be, apparently!
But in the context of Si's intent to have access to music he bought long ago and has had for donks, by artists who shall we regretfully acknowledget, may no longer be with us! then the streaming option might make some sense. He (Si) has paid for the the original recordings all those years ago, and a Spotify playlist to enjoy wherever and whenever he wants, could be an attractive way to enjoy his treasured favourites, without the hassle and expense of attempting to digitise them himself.
Another possibility is Discogs, where rare and obscure recordings are bought and sold for sums that are generally quite reasonable - see here for an example - I chose the so-called Beano album at random.
Screenshot 2020-09-08 at 08.38.48.png
The CD of the album - 24 copies available from £2.24
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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby Stradageek » 8 Sep 2020, 9:22am

Well I never thought Al and I would find common ground, starting with the fact that both our sons are musicians. However I'm also the guy who listened to the same piano piece played in Pythagorean and Equal Temperament tuning to see what all the fuss was about (when wars nearly started over the introduction of equal temperament) I now understand, the difference is stunning!

So from this background I can cope with CDs but really love vinyl - and I'm also with Damon Alburn who extols the main virtue of vinyl to be that the fuss involved in setting it up and playing vinyl really encourages you to stop and listen to the music.

I also find that music with any subtlety cannot be appreciated 'on the move' where too many other sounds impinge, I almost never listen to music in the car.

I work with a lot of teenagers and do my best to appreciate their latest musical passions but it's so hard when the recording comes from a phone. Even plugged into my HiFi or via headphones the sound quality is so so poor. I've had the guys play the same track on CD then by phone into said music system, try it sometime, the difference is astonishing.

As as for wedding discos where the DJ has nothing more than a laptop... I have trouble working out where one song stops and the next begins the sound is soooo mushy.

I also echo all the comments on supporting artists, I watch them live where possible and buy the vinyl from them at the gig wherever I can. In doing this I'm still encouraged by how many great (and mostly unknown) musicians there are out there. Please go and see them.

Rant over

Stradageek

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Re: Vinyl -> digital

Postby simonineaston » 8 Sep 2020, 9:36am

the main virtue of vinyl to be that the fuss involved in setting it up and playing vinyl really encourages you to stop and listen to the music.
I was dreading this turning into a regurgitation of that dreadful old chestnut, "Which is better - vinyl or CD?" which has got to be the most tedious, pointless and ultimately unanswerable arguement of all (audio) time... so I am pleased to see the notion quoted above. End of. Please.
ttfn, Simon in Easton
(currently enjoying a Moulton TSR & a nano Brompton...)