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post #61 of 96
I read this thread with great interest. I dug out my "played once LP" collection of about 100 excellent classic rock albums and wondered what to do with them.

Joined Audiokarma and the world of analog opened up. I am now into vintage integrated amps (Kenwood and Pioneer) which make OUTSTANDING headphone amps and readily and easily accept vintage turntables, one of which I am buying for a decent price of $125 at a local used stereo shop which has been checked out. I'm mainly doing it just to hear the music but they now have interfaces that you use to allow the ripping of these analog sources/turntables/amps to your computer via a USB gadget. I'll be looking into this after I get the turntable. These albums would cost a small fortune to buy in CD so in my case it makes sense especially if I eventually don't rip them and use them only for listening at home in my headphone station.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=639303&Q=&is=REG&A=details is an example of using a normal vinyl turntable to rip.
post #62 of 96

I just discovered this thread minutes ago. It was both fun and informative to read all the opinions.

 

Do not invest in analog rig if your concern is getting some music in digital form, like saving the price of CDs etc vs ripping vinyl. If that music you are after is available in digital and you do not want to shell out silly money in order to get it, analog ripping makes no $en$e moneywi$e. A really decent turntable, arm and cartridge worth of the term "transcription turntable" ( a term or word all but forgotten in connection with turntables, used in the 60s and 70s in analogy to the people who were transcribing the books prior the invention of printing - requiring hand writing so fine there was no or minimal difference from the original ) - is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$......$$$$$.

 

AND IT HAS TO BE SET UP RIGHT - just buying the most expensive cart, arm and table you can find or lay your arms on guarantees - NOTHING.

 

I work with TTs for 35+ years now. And only very recently got to the point of kind of starting to approach the quality of sound I am interested to record on some GOOD digital format. Do not get me wrong - that AT USB table will produce useable digital copy you can listen to. It is the matter of quality that is questionable. Unfortunately, you DO have to pay dearly for any real increse in SQ with analog and by the time you get "there" - it is one hell of a lot of money.

 

Another thing is if you want to rip music not available in digital and the quality of sound is not so important. That can be pulled off at about your proposed budget.

 

Regarding de-clicking and de-noising, either using analog hardware or software based means; questionable. The first thing you want to do is to assure you are ripping from as clean vinyl you can find - and nothing beats freshly vacuum cleaned vinyl that has not seen record sleeve between cleaning and ripping - meaning each side is cleaned moments prior to ripping. It makes things that much more easier down the road.

 

There has been the mention of phono cartridge types - with MC ( moving coil ) being preferred over MM (moving magnet), MI (moving iron) etc. In most cases (NOT without exceptions), this advice does hold true - in principle, you want the fastest possible cartridge for ripping ( or anything else...), as any ticks and pops and scratches on the vinyl represent very high frequency disturbance, sometimes exceeding MHz region - and faster devices protest less violently to them, resulting in quieter reproduction of vinyl surface  noise. This is far better strategy than taking "any" cartridge and then hoping some computer wizzard will be able to remove noise WITHOUT removing too much of the music. Although more expensive on the analog part, still can be regarded a bargain if you factor in pro software prices for cleaning the noise ripped from vinyl to say CD. A truly superb analog rig ripped to digital without any de noising and declicking will almost always produce more musical result than lesser quality analog ripped to digital with all after the fact means available.

Best result is perhaps sensible combination of the two - based on critical listening on case to case basis. 

 

So - think TWICE whether or not you want to go analog - based on your intentions and means at your disposal. On price vs performance, as much as I hate to admit, digital wins. If you are after sheer performance, there is still nothing that can touch direct to disc vinyl or analog master tape. At a price.

 

To put it simply - if your only intention is to save money, analog is not the way to go. It is an enormous investment in time (and money) - if the rewards both in sound quality as well as  increased knowledge regarding sound (re)production are worth it is something only an individual can answer.

post #63 of 96
Thanks analogsurviver,

excellent heads-up and very interesting longterm experience.

The days when I ripped vinyl to cds are long ago, but I remember a hell of work and disappointing results. The results were indeed best, when I bought new vinyl and ripped it immediately.

The memories came back when I recently tried my turntable again.

Greetings from the other sunny side of the alps. 


Edited by mironathetin - 6/19/13 at 12:50am
post #64 of 96
Thread Starter 

thanks for the heads up, im more scared and wont touch analog side of audio. thanks lol tongue.gif

post #65 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon View Post

thanks for the heads up, im more scared and wont touch analog side of audio. thanks lol tongue.gif

I did not have the intention of scarring anybody off, merely to pour a glass of pure wine, so to speak.

 

Ripping the vinyl to digital is the supreme art of analog and what passses as "very good" in listening to vinyl, might or MAY score only "barely passable" on the actual re-recording. I remember one of the biggest dissapointments in my audio life called Telarc's 1812 which I "menaged" to record to CD-R recorder. In a word - horrible. Then one starts extortionizing each and every one of the gremlins - on analog AND digital side - one by $$$ one - and although doable in the end, it is not for the novice and most certainly not a procedure intended to save money by.

 

When done right, it DOES have one side effect - merely listening to (good preserved well analogue recorded ) vinyl will produce sound so fine you will have trouble listening to digital. Wish the journey to that goal did not last so long and cost so much.

post #66 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

When done right, it DOES have one side effect - merely listening to (good preserved well analogue recorded ) vinyl will produce sound so fine you will have trouble listening to digital. Wish the journey to that goal did not last so long and cost so much.

 

Did you also invest the same amount of money, time and sweat into the digital system that you use to compare the vinyl with?

post #67 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by mironathetin View Post

 

Did you also invest the same amount of money, time and sweat into the digital system that you use to compare the vinyl with?

Even if I wanted or could afford - hardly doable. Yes, time and sweat & (censored) went into digital as well - Korg MR 1000 DSD recorder(s). As I write this, just finished adjusting a phono cartridge with two on paper the same styli -  and recording their performance on test measurement discs to DSD recorder. It is impossible to record square wave with PCM - not even 192/24 - that does not apreciably alter the shape of the square wave; the differences in good cartridges lie precisely in the portion of the square wave all PCM ring ( as they per theory should ). I intend to post some of the pics of a real oscilloscope display representation of phono carts - not some software PC version that is usually limited to 96/24 PCM resolution.

 

DSD is not totally perfect, but compared to PCM it can be said it is useable. When directly comparing vinyl played "live" vs output from the DSD recorder, a VERY mild difference at the extreme high end is audible; it is so slight that it is impossible to tell the difference if either the same LP or DSD recording of it is played another day.

 

I have two MR 1000 recorders. One is still stock, the other is modified. Commercialy available mod by Busman Audio is the step in the right direction, but is not nearly as thorough as mine. And no, I would not waste time ripping vinyl with the stock unit. 

 

DSD DACs are gradually becoming available. It is difficult to say which ones are an improvement over what is in the MR 1000 at the moment - I would insist on audition prior shelling out one single 0.01 Euro. DSD also places high demands on computer and storage - DSD128 or 1 bit at 5,6MHz is 11 minutes audio for 1GB. At multiplication of TBs required, solid state memory will not be a reasonable cost efficient preposition for quite some time to come - meaning those HDDs have to be located phisically outside the listening room and computer must run silently without a fan. A quiet section of say guitar recital "Con Ventilatore Continuo" is perhaps not on anyone's wish list ...

 

But it is future. Phono cartridges that had performance good enough to play even the highest quality analog recorded vinyls on regular daily basis are long history. Today, health and enviroment concerns preclude the use of materials and procedures that produced the top peak products from the early 80s - even if and when a company would want to repeat or even improve upon those stellar achievements.

 

So, a GOOD ( digital that is fast enough ) recording of a stellar LP is in the long run better than repeatedely played vinyl record. High frequencies are the first to suffer on vinyl - one has to know really much to select a cartridge that would besides sounding good preserve the vinyl in the long run. One can argue what is the acceptable limit of vinyl record use/degradation ad nuseaum - it is about whose lies you find the most plausible and the least offending. A really good digital recording can at the very least give us a benchmark reference. 

 

I hope this answers the digital part of your question.

 

Analog and vinyl specifically does have its limitations. In general, in dinamyc range and bass, both of which are interelated with playback time. There are absolute limits that under any circumstances are not to be exceeded - just look at the list of requirements any firm still doing analog mastering to vinyl insists on prior accepting to transfer your master to vinyl - anything more and you will be paying for repair or new recording head + whatever costs for the time mastering facility is out of bussiness. Ultimately, it is not possible to record the full dynamic range to vinyl - but within given constraints, it is possible to produce recordings that can compete and exceed digital. Under any circumstances do I want to start war of analog vs digital or DSD vs PCM and the like - I simply want to squeeze the max out of what is available to serve music in the best possible way, regardless of technicalities.

I find any critic welcome, as it might force me to find a solution to the problem that before that critic was not known or thought of to be insignificant - and that goes both for analog and digital, in both directions. Because usually what is one's forte, is another's Aichille's heel - and vice versa. The ultimate goal is simple - to create a musical recording so realistic that even person who attended the event live can clearly identify recording as not any more different than say the difference a couple of seats/rows in any given concert hall has as a consequence.

 

To paraphrase; I wish I could dig out the best musicians long gone and record them with equipment of the future so perfect as not to leave any technological limit that has to be taken into account when making any real world recording today. Because there are those who prefer old really musically well made recordings over latest technically superiour recordings they find musically lacking - and vice versa. Can not do that; I can only strive to record best present musicians I can get in touch with using the best equipment at my disposal.

post #68 of 96
Thread Starter 

nice write up, and on the difference between analog vs digital, i dont have experience with analog audio but doubt i can tell the difference anyway. analogsurviver, from your experiences, is the difference that apparent?

post #69 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon View Post

nice write up, and on the difference between analog vs digital, i dont have experience with analog audio but doubt i can tell the difference anyway. analogsurviver, from your experiences, is the difference that apparent?

It is difficult to give you clear yes/no answer. It depends what you ultimately want from your audio experience and what your preferred music is. 

 

Analog is at its best with acoustical non amplified non processed music - classical, choral, organ, jazz ( if you get lucky enough to get to listen a non-amplified jazz gig - RARE indeed ), brass band - etc. All in some good acoustics. If you mainly listen to studio produced/mastered music, such as pop/rock/techno/rap/hiphop/etc/etc - you will hardly be able to stumble on recording that could convey the difference/superiority analog can bring if used accordingly. Such recordings exist even in these genres, but any studio processing will diminish the original acoustics of the venue original recording took place in, thus making it harder to appreciate the difference. Some of the best recordings regarding capturing acoustics of the venue are live rock concerts - those from Frank Zappa spring to mind as the ones more than capable of showing this sensation. Unfortunately, only if and when using really good ($$$) equipment in large enough room - or top headphones.

 

To put it bluntly - after hearing an analog recorded vinyl on really good turntable and then the CD version, CD will be with far less ambience - particularly depth will be diminished. It generally sounds closed in compared to good analog. But you have to take into account not all speakers and/or headphones are good enough to readily display these differences. And speakers do need to be properly positioned in "good" room to begin with...

 

The most prosaic difference analog ( and to a certain extent HiRez digital ) over standard CD is the above mentioned sensation of space; if you use good moving magnet cartridge that limits response above say 25 kHz vs a good moving coil cartridge that is good past 50 KHz, despite both having very similar or same measured performance in the audible band, the faster one will give much more realistic portrayal of the acoustics. Same/similar with CD vs HiRez PCM or DSD. Provided that such information exists on the recording to begin with - that is why old analog recordings do get to see remastering every time a new more capable digital format becomes available ( CD > SACD , DVD-A etc ) ; no point in remastering CD 44.1/16 PCM recordings from pure technical aspect, as they per default must not contain anything above 20 kHz ( 22050 Hz to be exact ).

 

One VERY critical remark regarding speakers: they should be as coherent as possible, meaning their output, if more than 1 way/full range, should mimic that full range ideal as closely as possible. Remember, music lives mostly in the midrange - and my experience is better to have coherent response between 100 Hz and 10 kHz than having response from say 10 to 100 KHz, divided into multiple way that does not blend well together at the listening position. One commercially available speaker that does that with aplomb and is available globally is any Quad Electrostatic from model ESL 63 and later - it may not go low or high or loud enough for some (OK- many) - but it will never set foot wrong regarding spatial positioning and will without any doubt be capable of revealing analog/digital (or any other differences, save for those beyond its capabilities ). You can also check full range dynamic speakers - from diminutive DIY versions to behemoth enclosures for Lowther drivers; they refuse to give way to more "modern" designs for a reason. One of the DIY speakers I swear by uses Visaton FRS 8 driver http://www.visaton.com/en/chassis_zubehoer/breitband/frs8_8.html  - at some 15-20 Eur apiece for the driver one can be hardly accused of elitist spendthrift snobbery. Yet this speaker has zero problems with differentiating among pretty much anything - as long as you use it within its limitations of 80 mm (slightly more than 3 inch ) driver. There is no shortage of  multiway speakers capable of loudness/bass to tear down the house - that can not differentiate analog/digital etc nearly as well  - or at all.

 

For this very reason, I prefer single driver HPs - be it full size or IEMs. My default/ go to / workhorse HPs are Stax Lambda Pro driven by SRM1-MK2 amp, helped by ED-1 Monitor Difusse field equalizer when required.

 

So, I hope I did give you the answer that things are not strictly black or white and can not be judged out of the context of the broader picture; check any good standard for colours like Federal Standard 595 or RAL and you will see one black and one white (in gloss, satin and matt - totally 6 colours ) - but lion*s share of others are almost infiniteless variations of grey. Intersting thing - when you want to reference some actual grey to a specific FS or RAL number , you will allmost invariably find your sample to be a shade lighter or shade darker than its nearest equivalent in your  http://www.fed-std-595.com/ . 

 

Same with music and audio.

post #70 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

It is difficult to give you clear yes/no answer. It depends what you ultimately want from your audio experience and what your preferred music is. 

 

Analog is at its best with acoustical non amplified non processed music - classical, choral, organ, jazz ( if you get lucky enough to get to listen a non-amplified jazz gig - RARE indeed ), brass band - etc. All in some good acoustics. If you mainly listen to studio produced/mastered music, such as pop/rock/techno/rap/hiphop/etc/etc - you will hardly be able to stumble on recording that could convey the difference/superiority analog can bring if used accordingly. Such recordings exist even in these genres, but any studio processing will diminish the original acoustics of the venue original recording took place in, thus making it harder to appreciate the difference. Some of the best recordings regarding capturing acoustics of the venue are live rock concerts - those from Frank Zappa spring to mind as the ones more than capable of showing this sensation. Unfortunately, only if and when using really good ($$$) equipment in large enough room - or top headphones.

 

To put it bluntly - after hearing an analog recorded vinyl on really good turntable and then the CD version, CD will be with far less ambience - particularly depth will be diminished. It generally sounds closed in compared to good analog. But you have to take into account not all speakers and/or headphones are good enough to readily display these differences. And speakers do need to be properly positioned in "good" room to begin with...

 

The most prosaic difference analog ( and to a certain extent HiRez digital ) over standard CD is the above mentioned sensation of space; if you use good moving magnet cartridge that limits response above say 25 kHz vs a good moving coil cartridge that is good past 50 KHz, despite both having very similar or same measured performance in the audible band, the faster one will give much more realistic portrayal of the acoustics. Same/similar with CD vs HiRez PCM or DSD. Provided that such information exists on the recording to begin with - that is why old analog recordings do get to see remastering every time a new more capable digital format becomes available ( CD > SACD , DVD-A etc ) ; no point in remastering CD 44.1/16 PCM recordings from pure technical aspect, as they per default must not contain anything above 20 kHz ( 22050 Hz to be exact ).

 

One VERY critical remark regarding speakers: they should be as coherent as possible, meaning their output, if more than 1 way/full range, should mimic that full range ideal as closely as possible. Remember, music lives mostly in the midrange - and my experience is better to have coherent response between 100 Hz and 10 kHz than having response from say 10 to 100 KHz, divided into multiple way that does not blend well together at the listening position. One commercially available speaker that does that with aplomb and is available globally is any Quad Electrostatic from model ESL 63 and later - it may not go low or high or loud enough for some (OK- many) - but it will never set foot wrong regarding spatial positioning and will without any doubt be capable of revealing analog/digital (or any other differences, save for those beyond its capabilities ). You can also check full range dynamic speakers - from diminutive DIY versions to behemoth enclosures for Lowther drivers; they refuse to give way to more "modern" designs for a reason. One of the DIY speakers I swear by uses Visaton FRS 8 driver http://www.visaton.com/en/chassis_zubehoer/breitband/frs8_8.html  - at some 15-20 Eur apiece for the driver one can be hardly accused of elitist spendthrift snobbery. Yet this speaker has zero problems with differentiating among pretty much anything - as long as you use it within its limitations of 80 mm (slightly more than 3 inch ) driver. There is no shortage of  multiway speakers capable of loudness/bass to tear down the house - that can not differentiate analog/digital etc nearly as well  - or at all.

 

For this very reason, I prefer single driver HPs - be it full size or IEMs. My default/ go to / workhorse HPs are Stax Lambda Pro driven by SRM1-MK2 amp, helped by ED-1 Monitor Difusse field equalizer when required.

 

So, I hope I did give you the answer that things are not strictly black or white and can not be judged out of the context of the broader picture; check any good standard for colours like Federal Standard 595 or RAL and you will see one black and one white (in gloss, satin and matt - totally 6 colours ) - but lion*s share of others are almost infiniteless variations of grey. Intersting thing - when you want to reference some actual grey to a specific FS or RAL number , you will allmost invariably find your sample to be a shade lighter or shade darker than its nearest equivalent in your  http://www.fed-std-595.com/ . 

 

Same with music and audio.

 

 

 

 

sorry for the late reply and thanks for answering my questions. wink.gif

post #71 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon View Post

 

 

 

 

sorry for the late reply and thanks for answering my questions. wink.gif

Thanks. Whatever technical means we might be using, it is always music that should be enjoyed in the first place.

post #72 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Thanks. Whatever technical means we might be using, it is always music that should be enjoyed in the first place.

 

 

yep and analog seems like too much trouble so i will stay away from it now. i think i will be just using my dap for music, its currently down though, will need to send it back for a new one. eventually i will get a headphone and ciem that are end game for me. i don't think i will venture into speakers that much either since im living with my parents and basically my parents take care of the speakers and home theater system part.

post #73 of 96

You know you could get nice results fairly cheap, high quality, and portable going from vinyl to cd. I'm usually pleased with the results I get and the Tascam cd-rw 900sl isn't break the bank expensive imo.

post #74 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by jibzilla View Post

You know you could get nice results fairly cheap, high quality, and portable going from vinyl to cd. I'm usually pleased with the results I get and the Tascam cd-rw 900sl isn't break the bank expensive imo.

OP idea was AT USB table > PC. Tascam CD-RW 900SL is approx 400 $ - and should be better way to get vinyl>CD.

 

Add a decent TT - it starts spiralling up und up. I did not want to go into condition of records - if they are new/mint/well preserved, you can get by using not TOTL stylus geometry. I have been donated a sizeable collection of really well selected classical music library on LPs - unfortunately previous owner tracked them ar too light vertical tracking force, rendering them useable only with VdH I or Micro Line/Ridge/SAS stylus. Using anything less sophisticated and result is unlistenable and certainly not anything one would want to record. The least expensive Micro Whatever stylus currently available is Audio Technica AT 440 MLa. Such styli do demand proper VTA adjustment - which further adds to the cost. Etc, etc.

 

I do not think OP had in mind buying new LPs to rip to CD - CD new is generally cheaper than vinyl new, throwing any cost advantage out of the window before the first pitch was thrown. S/H records from any source can suffer the above problem - even if cleaned with a RCM. If you are a great LP collector and attend yard sales, vinyl meets etc, actually any place you can get used vinyl without the possibility to listen first before buying, it pays big dividends to use a portable LP player - Audio Technica Sound Burger and its current knock offs, Sony Flamingo etc. After returning home with your "Mint/ VG+" vinyl in new outer and inner sleeve, professionally cleaned with a top RCM, you might still find the record to be trashed to FUBAR condition. Depending on what used vinyl you are buying, use of say $400 Flamingo can be way over the top - or greatest possible bargain. Rare out of print LPs can command really silly prices. Not personally there yet, but had this type of dissapointment when searching for a record long on my wish list often enough to bring this potential problem up.

 

I want simply everyone to understand that below certain level of quality analog makes no sense. It does not have to be absurdly expensive - yet if you are on a tight budget, it makes sense to wait till you can afford something that is not analog for analog's sake but actually sounds good enough to allow re-recording of vinyl to digital whatever allowing you to save some money in the long run, preserve your vinyl or record vinyl in friends' possesion you can not afford. There are records exceeding 500 $ per single LP - for some fortunate few, this is peanuts, for most of us it is out of the question. 

post #75 of 96
Thread Starter 
Analogsurviver I'm going a bit off topic but you mentioned you prefer one single driver be it headphone or iem. A lot of high end iems are ciems and most of the high end ones are multi-ba drivers. What's your take on that?
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