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I know it has been a while, but I have to agree with reeltime in saying that this is one of the most useful posts that I have read in a long time!
I am a DJ who buys a lot of house and techno records. The records I buy on vinyl are usually vinyl-only releases and mostly limited to a few hundred copies without a repress. Since I use these records in club environments, which are far from ideal for the longevity of them, their sound qualities deteriorate rather quickly! I have played around with the idea of digitizing them right after purchase as a back-up solution for a long time now. However, I never really found any kind of info on that topic that got me feeling that’s the way to go, until I came upon your excellent post! So thanks again!
Anyway, I still have a couple of questions regarding the proper hardware set-up. I have a Technics SL-1200MK2 turntable at home. Assuming I have it hooked up to battery power, is this a good turntable for this use? Which cartridge and needle would you recommend? And also, how did you hook up your turntable to battery power? Is there an off-the-shelf solution or will I have to get something custom-made?
Thanks in advance for any kind of help!
I thought I'd share an interesting way of digitizing vinyl records (reels and cassettes too!).
Like many, I have a significant collection which I do indeed enjoy through my main stereo system (described here if anyone is interested: http://cgi.audioasylum.com/systems/320.html ). This stereo is on a different floor from my desktop computer. Acquiring a laptop and other gear just to "needle drop" my records never passed the sanity check, so for years the idea of this project remained a murky dream.
Recently I was motivated to rip my CD collection into lossless FLAC files using EAC (Exact Audio Copy). It's a convenience and pleasure now sitting at my computer listening to good music through my Sennheiser HD600s driven by a Schiit Modi2/Vali "stack." So I looked yet again at the notion of ripping my records, reels, and cassettes :)
What I found is that many were successfully using quality portable digital recorders. So I took the leap!
A Tascam DR-05 with a 32Gb MicroSD card is hooked into my stereo via a second set of preamp out jacks. This gives me the advantage of level setting with the preamp and using my Merrill modified AR table with Denon MC carts and SUT. My records have been very well maintained and routinely cleaned. So the quality of the sound going into 24/96 WAV files is as good as I could expect in a home setting.
From there I take the 32Gb card and import the files into a software package designed specifically for digitizing analog media, VinylStudio (http://www.alpinesoft.co.uk/). It trumps alternatives like Audacity with all the features it has tailored again for this task. I end up with FLAC files (normally 24/48 or 24/96 for "audiophile" discs) with metadata and cover art just like what I get from ripping CDs. Pretty painless and inexpensive which is why I thought to share here on this old but excellent thread :)
Absolutely. And I'm not alone. Do some research and you'll find numerous folks doing successful "needle drops" with inexpensive digital audio recorders including this popular model.
You should be good to go. BTW I use the manual Disc Doctor vinyl cleaning system and then touch up the disc with a Nagaoka CL-152 Record Cleaner just before playing. Does the job!
Again no laptop here. I simply take the MicroSD card from the DR-05 or alternatively hook up the DR-05 as USB storage and import the 24/96 WAV files into my Desktop and VinylStudio for processing. I save the output in 24/96 FLAC.
If it has not already been recommended, you should check out Pure Vinyl software. I have digitized my best vinyl, and I do have the best vinyl for what I listen to, with Rob's software which offers many options. I did ADC though an AR Ref Phono 2 with PV with flawless results. However the software gives you the option of not using a hardware RIAA correction. With PV you also get Pure Music which is what you should be using for digital playback. Add to that Fabfilter Pro Q parametric EQ properly set for playback and your vinyl rips will sound live. Not a shill. ISYN.
When I first investigated ripping my CDs to my computer and digitizing my analog material, I found virtually every article / thread cited EAC for ripping CDs. Kinda like a "gold standard." Except of course those that were using uber expensive pro hardware for their efforts with commercial software to match. It was free and there were good YouTube videos to sanity check setup parameters. Worked quite well for me and was fast to boot.
Regarding iRiver, no experience here. I use foobar2000 which also has a ripping capability. Never bothered to explore it. As for SQ, there really shouldn't be a difference among ripping utilities any more than there should be SQ differences in media players. Bits and bytes are bits and bytes :) SQ is more a product of sound cards, USB DACs, amps, etc. So my "put" is to use whatever ripping utility whose user interface you're most comfortable with. Of course it couldn't hurt to check out EAC :)
On another note, everything I read about how wonderful VinylStudio software was has proved to be spot on. I love being able to look at a recorded spectrum, hear it, and tweak exactly how I want the track breaks configured. Haven't used the audio clean up functions all that much beyond pop/click removal on the occassional record with a need. Highly recommended!
All my ripped music is on external drives, a scattered bunch of small solid state ones. Jriver handles it easily and transparently. You just tell it where it is when you do a rip. And you just create a playlist for the album and say where it is.
(At least that's how I like to do it.) I tend to avoid using my internal drive for data at all. It makes it easy to change computers and avoids the problem of computer crashes. Just keep everything external w/backup and, better yet, cloud backup in addition.
Keep 2 or 3 backups of your stuff on a giant cheap spinner drive of, say, 6tb. Easy as pie. (But the irony is that Tidal sounds better.)
You really need to do a backup right away or you are living on the edge. Sometimes you won't get a catastrophic failure on your main hard drive, but some common partial failure right where your important data is stored that can make your life miserable.
This happens to me and I need do a partial copy from a backup drive.