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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 24th March 2009
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Thank you very much for your advice. My wife's grandfather gave us a large box records ,all in fantastic condition. They range from old country, jazz, ethnic, classical, even a collection of Churchill speeches. I would like to be able to listen to them more conveniently. Some are available on cd but I would rather not spend the money. I realize I may spend as much in the conversion but I think I will enjoy the experience. I will check out the links above.

As I know very little about caring for records I welcome any advice you can give.
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Old 24th March 2009
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How old are the albums? Because if they need to be played at 78RPM then your going to need a special turntable. The only one I know if in current production is the Rega Planar 78.

If the albums are in good condition with little surface noise you can probably just get a good anti-static brush. There are a different schools of though on wet versus dry cleaning. I prefer dry cleaning, but I think it all depends on your ear.

I also prefer converting to flac or wav as mp3 sound muddy to me but that all depends on how you intend to listen to the convert audio.
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Old 24th March 2009
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OK -- so this is partially for sentimental reasons. That's fine, and some of the collection sounds pretty rare.

Regarding cleaning, here are two options. The first is bare-bones, and mostly works; the second is much, much better but of course comes at a cost. I don't know the vendor, so don't take this are a recommendation one way or the other.

http://www.questforsound.com/accesso...asherVinyl.htm
http://www.questforsound.com/analog/analog_vpiHW165.htm

You might be amazed at the difference the second one makes in the sound quality. There is a lot of junk (including bacteria) that accumulates on records and in their grooves, and the phono cartridge of course obligingly sends whatever it traces, whether it is intended or not.

In the old days, the high-end audio salons would rent time on their fancy record cleaners to their customers for $1 each record. You might want to check if that service is still available in your area (and it might not be).

Here is another manufacturer of cartridges:

http://www.sumikoaudio.net/sumikocar...idx_oyster.htm

The Blue Points might be too expensive for you, and the others have been well-regarded for their price. I had an original Blue Point back in the day, and it is decent though I preferred others.

If in addition you need a headshell, I use this one and it is fine:

http://www.musicdirect.com/product/52354

On many tone arms, you mount the cartridge into the headshell, and then attach the headshell to the tone arm. Yours might have that built in. Some less expensive tone arms use a "P mount", where the cartridge fits in directly to the arm. It is convenient, but not as rigid or as adjustable.

Enough detail yet?
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Old 24th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddierod View Post
How old are the albums? Because if they need to be played at 78RPM then your going to need a special turntable. The only one I know if in current production is the Rega Planar 78.
I was going to mention the same thing. The old records also used a different stylus geometry. You want a spherical one for those, whereas the newer ones use some variation on an elliptical shape.
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There are a different schools of though on wet versus dry cleaning. I prefer dry cleaning, but I think it all depends on your ear.
*grin* Clearly I come out on the other side.

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I also prefer converting to flac or wav as mp3 sound muddy to me but that all depends on how you intend to listen to the convert audio.
Agreed. Have you played with oversampling at all? Or is "Red Book" format good enough when you do the A/D conversion?
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Old 24th March 2009
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Rod - They are all 33's. Plan is to convert them to wav to put on cd and then to flac for storage.

DrJ - Man do I have a lot of catching up to do.
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Old 24th March 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by running_fist View Post
DrJ - Man do I have a lot of catching up to do.
Well, a lot of this depends on how much of a perfectionist you want to be. Analog records and turntables really are Rube Goldberg devices, but they got to be incredibly refined (at a cost). I'm amazed that they make decent sound at all, let alone very, very good sound when everything is right.

If you intend to get high-quality sound from the records you have, and play the digital conversions back through solid electronics and good loudspeakers, then you have to be careful to get everything toed in. It will also cost you some money. If you intend to listen to them over a consumer home theater system, or computer speakers, fidelity is just not as important.

It also depends on how many you are converting. Certainly if you convert 1000 records the economics become different than if you convert only 10 or 20. The former case merits some $$, whereas the latter probably does not.
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Old 25th March 2009
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These will be listened to mostly in the car and on the computer so I don't need perfect sound. I don't want to spend to much money but I would like to gain an understanding of what I am doing (that's why I started using FBSD, I am a machinist by day).

To begin with I think I am looking at approximately 50 records.
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Old 25th March 2009
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In that case I'd suggest spending $50 to $100 on a solid cartridge. Mount it on your turntable, and see if it sounds OK. I will post a link later about how to align the phono cartridge. Do you have a receiver or a preamp with a phono stage? If so, try it out. Try the Diskwasher (the inexpensive one); Rod can recommend a good A/D soundcard (probably a low-end M-Audio would be OK).

That should be about $200, give or take. Does that fit the budget?

Last edited by DrJ; 25th March 2009 at 02:32 AM.
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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
*grin* Clearly I come out on the other side.
Actually, I was going to explore the VPI machines, but I took time off from my audiophilia (sounds nasty) to raise a family. I've just started back in the last 5 years and haven't got to the cleaning machines yet.

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Agreed. Have you played with oversampling at all? Or is "Red Book" format good enough when you do the A/D conversion?
I've tried oversampling with MP3s and although it sounds a little better it still just doesn't sound right. It just sounds less muddy. And if you have a vocalist with a good range the clipping seems even worse.

My portable audio player only plays mp3s and wma (eww). So now I'm looking at Grado or Sennheiser headphone to see if that will make things better.

@running_first:
If you want to upgrade to a audiophile card look at M-Audio, either the Audiophile 192 or 2496

I also second the Sumiko Blue Point as that was my first audiophile cartridge on my Linn Basik (which I miss and if anyone has one they want to get rid of let me know).

Someone also recommended looking at garage sales and such. You can fine some nice stuff there and on ebay if you look closely, I got a Music Hall MMF 2.2 that list for $450 for $30, because it was listed as an Audio Technica.

Maybe we should get a FreeBSD Audiophile forum
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Old 25th March 2009
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I took time off from my audiophilia (sounds nasty) to raise a family. I've just started back in the last 5 years and haven't got to the cleaning machines yet.
If you *really* want to get back into it, look at the Linkwitz loudspeakers (www.linkwitzlab.com). I've heard his flagship (and met Siegfried), and they are very, very good. I prefer electrostatics in spite of their many flaws and quirks, but these are pretty darned good.
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I've tried oversampling with MP3s and although it sounds a little better it still just doesn't sound right.
Agreed -- the mp3 format is terrible. I've taken some Red Book CDs and converted them to mp3 format. The difference, even on computer speakers, is obvious and not for the better.
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I also second the Sumiko Blue Point as that was my first audiophile cartridge on my Linn Basik (which I miss and if anyone has one they want to get rid of let me know).
I'd temper that by two things. First, what tone arm is being used? The sense I get is that the Technics table is not particularly a high-end product, so the Blue Point compliance may not match the tonearm all that well. A traditional moving magnet might work better. The other, of course, is the budget issue.
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You can fine some nice stuff there and on ebay if you look closely, I got a Music Hall MMF 2.2 that list for $450 for $30, because it was listed as an Audio Technica.
Well done! If timing is not an issue, sure, do the scavenging.
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Old 25th March 2009
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I was looking into Martin Logan speakers. those look nice but the closest listen for me is Chicago.

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I'd temper that by two things. First, what tone arm is being used? The sense I get is that the Technics table is not particularly a high-end product, so the Blue Point compliance may not match the tonearm all that well. A traditional moving magnet might work better. The other, of course, is the budget issue.
Yeah, your probably correct on that.

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Well done! If timing is not an issue, sure, do the scavenging.
Thanks...still waiting for the mislabeled Krell or Wadia components
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