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Old 21st March 2009
running_fist running_fist is offline
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Does anyone have recommendations for usb turntables?

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Old 21st March 2009
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None of the reviews of any of the usb turntables I've seen have been that great. I would recommend that if you have a turntable and a stereo with a tape out to buy a RCA to 1/4" plug and record through you computers sound card line in.
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Old 21st March 2009
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I agree with Rod. Stick with a good turntable, cartridge and A/D converter. The prepackaged USB ones typically are terrible. Then again, my 20-year-old SOTA still works great so I have no need for one.
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Old 24th March 2009
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I am looking to digitize alot of the old vinyl I have, and thought the USB turntable would be more convinient. Is it possible to hook up a standard record player to the computer with some sort of adapter? I don't have the room to put a stereo here but I do have an old Technics record player that I think just needs a new cartridge.
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Old 24th March 2009
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You would need to get a phono pre-amp because of the level of the turntable output. Something like these.

You most likely have a moving magnet cartridge on a technics turntable.
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Old 24th March 2009
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Rod's right, though you may be able to equalize the phono signal digitally. I've not tried it, and it would be very inconvenient. It would be easiest if you would use the phono stage from a stand-alone phono preamp or one built into a traditional preamplifier or receiver. Then you can use the high-level signal and feed an A/D card.

One thing to keep in mind is that the initial transduction is critical. Analog is capable of very good sound, but it is maddeningly complex (and expensive!) if you want to do it right. Of course the turntable, the tonearm and the cartridge are important. So is mounting the cartridge for proper vertical and lateral tracking angle, in addition to anti-skating and tracking force.

I won't get into specific cartridge advice, but there are many, many from which to choose. Well, there used to be; I'm not really sure any longer. But choose a good one if you can. Personally, I still use a Denon 103D, but that probably won't work for you.

You should also make sure to clean the records well.

This does merit some fussing over, since you want the digitization you make to be good enough that you would listen to it again. In many cases, it might just be easier and better sound-wise to buy the CD unless you have many superb or rare recordings.
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Old 24th March 2009
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See below for one source of cartridges. Grados have traditionally delivered good performance for reasonable costs, as long as you stay away from their nose-bleed products.

http://www.audioadvisor.com/products...&view_all=true
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Old 25th March 2009
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If you don't have a reasonable turntable, I'd recommend scouting around junk shops, garage and jumble sales, or even asking some older friends or neighbors. There are a good many very high quality turntables being thrown into landfill every day: things like these make audiophiles sad. I recently acquired one after the sets speakers were water damaged.
An older turntable is more likely to support 68s than anything you'll get new. As the others have said, replacement cartridges are still available for anything using the standard fittings.
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Old 25th March 2009
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Interesting thread. You've gotten a lot of sound advice (pun intended) above. A few years ago I put all of my vinyl LP's onto CD-R media, a little over 100 albums all told. Generally I was quite pleased with the results. You hear what's on the record, clicks and all quite faithfully. Of course buying a CD, especially remastered, will usually give the best sound, although there are exceptions where vinyl is better.

I agree you should use something with a pre-amp built to go with a turntable. Equipment I used (all of it ordinary commodity stuff) was:

* Technics SL-Q2 turntable with Shure M95-HE cartridge

* Marantz 2220 stereo receiver (aux out goes to sound card line in)

* Creative labs sound card, Ensoniq 5880B [AudioPCI]

* Computer described in my profile.

I happened to go rather over-board cleaning the records, as I actually washed them all. This is very time-consuming and may have added little-to-nothing to the final quality. If your records are in pretty good shape (no mold) then what I'd recommend is getting a good carbon-fibre static-inhibiting brush (about $15-20 or so) -- that may be all you need.

I've attached some files that describe what I did re cleaning, and the equipment I used for that.

recordwash.tgz

A lot of that information was put together by googling the relevant subjects and trying find my own path through the suggestions and info that was available online at the time. The goal there was D-I-Y with cost minimization. In addition I also ended up writing over a dozen crappy shell scripts to manipulate the raw audio samples and make getting the stuff onto CD more routine.

Whatever you decide to do, be prepared that this can turn into a time consuming project, that may only get completed if it's a labour of love for the music.

Good luck!
Attached Files
File Type: tgz recordwash.tgz (7.0 KB, 17 views)
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Old 25th March 2009
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Hmmm. The A Pro is a dual Opteron system. That can't have an Intel chipset. I have an old Z Pro; that uses the ICH4 south bridge. There is also the M Pro.

Do you have the model right?
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Old 26th March 2009
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It's an A with dual opterons. You may be right about the board, being IBM I assumed intel (the opteron intel combo seemed odd, but hey). I will have to take her apart and have a look. I know the sata controller was SI(3214 I think), which caused a lot of grief. I ended up getting a 3ware card although the onboard scsi(Adaptec) works well.
When I say poor sound it is typical "onboard computer sound" gets the job done but certainly uninspiring.

checking the driver
It uses the snd_ich driver , from the man page
SND_ICH(4) FreeBSD Kernel Interfaces Manual SND_ICH(4)

NAME
snd_ich -- Intel ICH PCI and compatible bridge device driver
jlt

Last edited by running_fist; 26th March 2009 at 05:35 PM. Reason: additional info
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Old 26th March 2009
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Look up the user or service manual -- they always have specifications. IBM still has those on line. You should also be able to get the info from dmesg.
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Old 26th March 2009
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It appears to use the AMD 8000 chipset. I don't know why you find ICH4, but presumably it is compatible with Intel's chipset. That is a standard AC97 audio system. No idea what the quality might be -- you may just have to try it.
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Old 27th March 2009
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I am an idiot!! I did this

$kldload snd_driver
$cat /dev/sndstat

And got this

FreeBSD Audio Driver (newpcm: 32bit 2007061600/i386)
Installed devices:
pcm0: <AMD-8111> at io 0x1000, 0x1400 irq 17 bufsz 16384 kld snd_ich [MPSAFE] (1p:1v/1r:1v channels duplex default)

How I saw the driver and missed the AMD-8111, I cannot say.

I think to get started I am going to scavenge what I can until I figure out what I am doing, I got the turn table as cast off and with the exception of the cartridge I think I can find everything else I need. Once I have played around a bit I will look into better quality h-ware.

Do you use Audacity? Any advice for the conversion process?
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Old 27th March 2009
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I use Audacity. What I usually do is record an enitre side of an album or tape and then go back and cut the file up into individual tracks. And export them as wav files.

Once all the files are written to a directory, I run a script to convert them into the desired format.
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Old 27th March 2009
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My 2cents:

I used command-line tools like the SoX package, normalize, dd and cdrdao.

Recording a whole album side can be a good idea. You may want to do it more than once both to optimize your recording volume level and see how much dirt the stylus drags out of the grooves (depends on the record's condition).

I just recorded the stuff as .raw rather than .wav. In the beginning I pulled out individual tracks too, but eventually decided it was slightly counter-productive, because all you need to do is find the track boundaries and put them in the .toc file that cdrdao uses. To make mp3's (or the like) you can key off that as well and use dd to feed it into the encoder.

It's worth using a good sensitive set of headphones to do the boundary work, so you can really hear where the track starts and fades out completely.
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