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Best way to digitalize vinyl records: digital recorder or usb/firewire interface?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Rosewind, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    I'm sorry if this topic has been covered before.

    I will be ready to start ripping my vinyl record collection in hi res as soon as I have my Nac 62s + Nap 140 back from Class A and my Thorens TD 160B MK. II back from a Danish TT specialist.

    The question is:

    will it be better for me to buy a 24bit / 96khz digital recorder for that purpose (i.e. Yamaha Pockettrack C24, Roland R-05 or Zoom H-1)


    should I rather go for a dedicated 24 bit / 192 khz usb/firewire audio interface (such as Konnekt 6, E-MU 0404)?

    In both cases the signal route will be: TT ----> Nac 62S Phono IN ----> Tape Out ----> Digital Recorder/ External Sound Interface + Win 7 computer (Shuttle SG33G6).

    Any thoughts?

    Best wishes,
  2. demersal

    demersal Banned

    I really wouldn't bother. I have a few vinyl to digifiles in my library and the results are not that impressive. You get the worst of both mediums. You will struggle to do 24/192 justice.

    Calculate how much you are going to spend, factor in how much time it will take ripping in real time as opposed to 22X, then think about how much of your collection you could replace with digifiles or source CDs for that money/effort.
  3. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Thanks demersal. Very encouraging.

    Best wishes,
  4. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    £10 a month to Spotify will do the job.
  5. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    R Hi, I haven't tried the soundcard route but we have had great success using a MH ULN8 DAW (digital audio workstation ) it is a DAC an ADC and recorder in one box, capable of recording at 24/192, you can even plug your tone arm lead directly into the box as it creates the RIAA filter digitally.
  6. Werner

    Werner pfm Member

    An ADC directly connected to the computer makes only sense if you can bring computer and audio system together, and get them on the same mains supply. Otherwise you'll get a ground loop and its noise/crap injection.

    I would not expect any wonders from affordable portable recorders. They are made mainly for microphone use, and not for making audiophile recordings via their line inputs.

    Almost no piece of recording gear is really up to 192kHz sampling (sorry, no time for more now). Stick to 88.2kHz when targetting CDs or files, or 96kHz when targetting DVD-Vs.
  7. demersal

    demersal Banned

  8. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    I have a Zoom, great for VO tracks when doing video with a wireless mic. Not the best thing since sliced bread for ripping vinyl.

    I'd go with the 24/96 pc soundcard solution.

    But either way you don't want to use the tape out from your NAC, make a separate cable up to plug straight into the soundcard. One less set of Naim cards for it all to pass through.
  9. demotivated

    demotivated pfm Member

    If you are going to record vinyl or cassette properly you need something that has VU meters and a knob for level, an easy start/stop/re-record so that you can redo over level recordings, and doesn't fall over when you push or turn something. I presume your kit listed has a 'tape out' and suitable connectors.

    Something portable will make the job harder.
  10. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    The MH ULN8 DAW device is very expensive (but also very good).

    The computer and stereo etc. are all on the same power block. The recorders/sound interfaces I point to should all be capable of genuine 96 or 192 khz recordings.

    It would be nice to hear from people who have hands-on experience with both recording methods and who have tried one or more digital recorders below the £300 mark.

    Which Zoom sq225917?

    I appreciate your feedback.

    Best wishes,
  11. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    sq225917: what about RIAA correction + step up of my Denon 103r?

    Best wishes,
  12. demotivated

    demotivated pfm Member

    I have recorded vinyl using 2 DAT recorders onto digital tape, and have also owned 2 CD recorders [I think 1 would have recorded cassette which is much simpler to set levels] over about 15 yrs. DAT was the most convenient to use domestically, which is why the industry didn't want to see it adopted.

    Anything 'menu driven' will drive you nuts to just change input level. The pro stuff assumes that you have some sort of mixer in front to set level, while the portable stuff will probably just guess and compress any peaks.

    If you have a phono stage in your hifi it would make sense to use it for RIAA + gain.
  13. Eric L

    Eric L pfm Member

    I have experience with both. I used to use an M-Audio USB soundcard and now use a Korg digital recorder. I also used a CDR for a while to record LPs

    The digital recorder is hands-down the best route IME. It's both much easier and gets better results the others. You basically just make your recordings onto the recorder's hard drive using the bitrate, frequency and codec you want. Then when you're ready, or the recorder's hard drive is full, you just transfer the music files over to the computer via USB, where you can edit the recordings further if you want, add metadata, etc. (Here you're just transferring the file via. USB, so there is no advantage to asynchronous connections like Firewire in this case).

    Once the recording is made, it now takes me only a few minutes to create the album file on my computer, complete with metadata (photos, track titles, etc.), and it's all in high resolution.

    The comments above suggesting that it's not worth the trouble or that the quality from modern portable digital recorders is not that good run totally contrary to my experience. My Korg lets me flip between the line in and the digital file using the recorder's DACs (they are level matched). Believe me, it's very difficult to tell the difference between my fairly well-speced LP12 playing through and a 24/88 PCM or a 1/5.6Mhz DSD recording made from it.
  14. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    EricL, what Korg do you use? I use a soundblaster Audigy NX2 USB soundcard and the results are good but I would like something with more control of record level and a more traditional 'tape recorder' feel.
  15. demersal

    demersal Banned

    I was merely being pragmatic. If one has time on hands, a few hundred quid to initiate the experiment, plus the inclination, then there is little to lose.
  16. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation


    Which Korg is it? What specs does it have? If it is the "handy" Korg MR1 I have read that its quality is very, very good. But also comes in at a little above £300.

    Best wishes,
  17. Eric L

    Eric L pfm Member

    It's the MR1000. It is more than £300 but is also available for significantly less than MSRP if you hunt around (I paid about $650 new). I don't know the recorders you mentioned above, but they might also do the trick for less (you probably don't need the DSD capacity that the Korg has, but it sounds very good).

    If they still work, here are some needledrops made on it that I downsampled to 24/48. (I've since lowered the impedance of my phono pre, which as someone pointed out made these recordings a little bright.)
  18. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member


    I'm in a not dissimilar position in that I can have my sister/bro.-in-law's record collection providing I can copy onto CD.

    Until this thread, I had no idea it could be done, so thanks. However, the complexities involved (not the outlay for kit) seem insurmountable to my analogue brain. My computer is upstairs; my system downstairs. A CD recorder would obviously be easier , and the quality doesn't have to be top notch, but it appears this is not the favoured way according to postings.
  19. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Erik and Mike.

    The Korg is a fine recorder. I will listen to the needle drops tonight. Thanks. I may try to pick up a Korg MR 1 but it may be a tad small in my big hands as well as being over my budget.

    Otherwise a Konnekt 6 looks good. But keep the info coming.

    A recorder seems to be the easiest to set up, but no doubt both solutions will work well after the initial set-up hazzle.

    Best wishes,
  20. Robn

    Robn pfm Member

    Had excellent results using record out from my amp into an Edirol R-09HR. Prior to this used a CD recorder (Pioneer CDR 609) with great results too.

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