Best Way To Archive Vinyl On My PC

I have a metric $#%&load of vinyl that I'd like to archive on my PC. The native sound card has to go. I already have the PC-to-stereo big rig connection in place, and it functions. Now, I'd like to stereo-to-PC, so I can play all the vinyl using my good TT, into my PC. It looks like there's a movement afoot to go to PCI E sound cards. My current PC has only PCI sockets, so maybe USB is the way to go. I'm not sure. I'll probably go FLAC, WAV, etc. if I can find the space. Right now, all my tunes are high-bitrate MP3s, or M4As.

Any advice on this?
You need an Analog/Digital converter (the opposite of the Digital to Analog converter you have now).

I have seen one product from Benchmark that does this

but cannot vouch for the sonic quality. It has a USB output that allows connection to the PC and a number of other digital outputs. Apparently this unit can produce digital at 24/192.

I'm not sure what software you might need in the PC, or how you delinate one song from the next.
Unfortunatly you will loose sonically. More so than when you archive digital to digital.
There is another way. Without rehashing, there is a good thread from about a month ago where I detailed what I am doing. Post any questions after you have read it.
Korg ms2000
I've got a recommendation of a NuForce UDAC 2 from a good friend, but that appears to be the exact opposite of what I need, which is an analog-to=digital converter, not a digital-to-analog converter, which didn't make sense to me.

I read the mentioned thread, and up pops the ASUS Xonar card. I've seen very favorable reviews of it before. Is there any particular model I should steer towards?

What I'm doing does not require an analog to digital converter. I record to the Korg MR2000s, i then transfer the data to my computer via a USB cable. You wouldnt have to do anything to your computer to get the data on cards, etc.

Now then, you will need a digital to analog converter for playback. For your application, simple is better. Depending on your budget, we could all recommend our favorite USB DAC.

Buy a Korg (street price $1500 or so), plug into your Preamp's tape output, record some vinyl, transfer the files. Once the data in on your PC, the Audiogate software included with the Korg will strip out the individual tracks wherever you specify in the format you specify, then you can import into iTunes or your player of choice, enter the song info and you are done.

Then just play it through the dac you choose and you are good to go.

That Korg looks like a pretty neat product. A digital recorder with 120 hrs of storage that can also play back analog! So it has an A/D and D/A in the same package. Cool.
I use a NAD PP3 $200 that has a usb output and a A/D converter and it came with Vinyl Studio Lite software. It has a line in/out so I can use my Whest phono stage. The NAD has good reviews just as a phono stage. The sound quality of the files is quite good. I an just getting used to the software.
I wanted to add that TEAC makes a turntable direct to CD player/recorder.
I've seen direct to CD TTs before, and I tend to steer clear of them. Maybe it's just me, but the TT/cartridge combo in those appear (at least) to be of dubious quality. My TT is not great, but it's possibly better than those. I'm not sure...

Would an ASUS Xonar DG be a good way to go, temporarily. I'm not interested in Gaming, or X.1 surround. I'm after good 2-channel audio.
I really wish I could help you achieve your goal, but I can't, although I've downloaded my huge 40 year plus vinyl collection quite successfully. My TT is in mothballs. The "only" limiting factor is the computer "interface". My downloaded vinyl sounds better than before to me. The computer is unlimited, disregard whatever you've heard on this forum that say's the computer is the problem.

The reason I can't help you is because I had to rebuild a computer interface in order to get "audiophile" quality to the computer. If someone can recommend an "audiophile" interface for you to down load to PC, you will be in heaven after this is accomplished.
The PC may change, but the music won't, so I am very concerned about the quality of the sound card.

The integrated sound card makes noise even when there is no music going through it! It has to be turned up, but it is there. The headphone amp is particularly dreadful.

If I could yank the thing out, I'd make it better by running it over with my car. Anything would be an improvement.
Licoricepizza, most of the stuff available is for people who want to download the scratchy LP's they inherited. It's not for "audiophile's". You have to do a lot of research before you spend any money. What I did to get an "audiophile" interface was such a problem, that I can't even recommend that. You will be in Nirvana when you find what you're looking for.

By the way, I'm using WAV and have no complaints.
WAV is always good. FLAC's not bad either. My LP's are all in good shape. I even have a VPI 16.5 to keep them that way (and a good stylus cleaner, too!).
Licorice.....please do NOT need a sound card for your PC, as a matter of fact, it will be irrelevant with a USB DAC. As far as getting the Vinyl onto you computer, I highlighted 1 method via the Korg DSD recorder. This recorder is stupid good.....picture this is probably in alot of studios, certainly utilized by many live recording venues/bands. There is no better digital format than DSD, you can record it in 5.6mhz DSD and then convert it to whatever sample rate you desire.

A poster above recommended a NAD piece which indicates he has never done this and further does not understand what you are trying to accomplish. There is NO higher resolution method than DSD to digitally archive your vinyl. Period! Anyone who has heard my best vinyl recorded in DSD and then played back via my MacMini/Pure Music on my Playback Designs MPD-3 are blown away.

Good luck and please ignore those recommending MP3 turntables and $200 NAD phono stages/DACs and the like. They mean well but have simply not seen enough to know what they are talking about.
Licorice, I upgraded a DAK 2800-PC by replacing the capacitors. The program interface with the computer play list was perfect, and it's really easy to use. Korg sounds like you have to record it to Korg and then download it after. Maybe Ghasley could enlighten us both.
I'll "enlighten" as best I can. The solution I describe is merely 1 way to accomplish archiving your vinyl into a digital file(s).

Pretend the Korg is a tape deck. For those of us old enough to remember those days, you simply play your album and press record on the Korg. You may get up between each track to press a button to "mark" the gap between tracks if you choose to.( Me, i just record and add track marks later.) When side 1 is complete, you press pause, cue side 2 and press record again.....when side 2 is over you press stop. Ok, now we have a file that resides on the hard drive of the Korg. You may play it back in DSD from the Korg right then if you like OR you may move the data onto your computer. The Korg appears as a USB hard drive to your computer, so if you can move a file today you have it down already.

Now that it is on your computer, you open the supplied Audiogate software, add track markers at the appropriate times, name the tracks and then convert from the DSD to your desired format from 16/44, 24/96 and so on. Now you are ready to have itunes or your player of choice to import the files, which is a piece of cake.

The advantages of this method is you will have a DSD archive of the vinyl as played from your table, cartridge and phono stage. So if you like your phono stage, you will like the results. The downside of this method is your archived copy may be colored(by the fingerprint of your phono stage). Rob at Pure Music favors another method. In summary, he advocates feeding your table into a microphone preamp and then into a A to D converter and then into your computer.(unless you find a high quality A to D converter with usb, you will need to make sure your computer has an interface capable of capturing the data and from then on Pure Vinyl will apply the appropriate RIAA equalization. You will still have to enter track way around that.) You will be recording "live" to your computer's storage through his Pure Vinyl software. You are limited to 24/192 and Pure Vinyl requires a Mac but I am sure the steps are similar on a PC with the appropriate software.

I can't tell you how the Pure Vinyl sounds, I suspect though that it sounds very good. I chose my route through the Korg because it is simpler (for those of us who used to "tape" our albums) and the Korg is optimized for recording from analog feeds, converting to digital and storing it on a hard drive. I also believe the Korg fully contained with only one real A to D step is likely to introduce less jitter, which we all have discovered to varying degrees is the biggest culprit to digital musical enjoyment.

Feel free to ask any questions you like, i will answer them all. I dont however consider myself an expert, I just believe this is the simplest high quality archival method. Does this allow you to remove pops & ticks like Pure Vinyl, no. Play your vinyl, then play your digital version and the results will be SCARY close. If you have some great albums, you will be shocked at how close your recording will sound to your vinyl....depending on the quality of your vinyl rig and the resolution of the rest of your system, you may find the comparison indistinguishable.
Orpheus10, i just googled "DAK 2800" and i got a hit, as I was completely unfamiliar with DAK. Please tell me what I uncovered by googling is NOT what you are recommending. What I found was a $69 (sixty nine) mixer capable of handling 2 turntables, RIAA equalization, a microphone and all software included to "convert your LP's to broadcast quality MP3's". Is this the same product to which you refer? If it is, I don't believe we are comparing apples to apples.....I'm sure you are enjoying your music however this will explain why your digital and analog sound so similar to one another. I'm just asking if I found the appropriate product you are touting to archive vinyl.
That's it. I replaced all of the caps with top of the line Nichicon. I don't use phono in. I have a very good phono. I use line out, and line in on the DAK 2800 PC. As a matter of fact just before I posted this, I was grooving on some "Grocer Washington Jr." on my play list that had been down-loaded using the modified DAK 2800; and it sounded so good that it has inspired me to began a thread on the music forum for "Grover Washington Jr."
Orpheus, thanks for the reply and I am glad that you are enjoying your music, that's what it is all about isn't it?

As an aside, you may catch some flack around here if you advocate too vociferously that coverting your vinyl to MP3 is remotely high quality. As long as you enjoy it, that is what is important but it is an accidental disservice on your part providing vinyl conversion advice to someone looking for answers without disclosing you are converting to MP3. Like many on this site, I find MP3 lacking considerably qualitatively. Just trying to be kind....
I don't know what MP3 is, and I don't care what MP3 is. I know good audio when I hear it, and if it's called KJ7, that's fine with me
Orpheus, please don't be defensive, i am trying to be very kind and understanding....I am actually not at all surprised that you didn't know the difference based on your posts in this thread.

MP3 files are a serious is intentionally omitted in order to shrink the file size. The typical MP3 track will be about 5mb. A standard redbook(16/44) cd track is about 80mb, a 24/192 sample of the same track is around 800mb. So for a MP3 track versus the other samples you can do the math and see how much data is missing.

I'm not saying a person can't enjoy MP3' are enjoying your music and that is cool. I'm not trying to insult you at all but you might consider reading up about MP3's and the material sonic compromise inherent with them. At the other end of the spectrum, in my earlier posts, I have referred to 1 bit DSD or Direct Stream Digital. There is no higher quality method to record digitally today. It is the closest quality wise to an analog master tape and lower in noise.

I hope this dialogue has been helpful and a mild mea culpa on your part, following some research on your part, could help you save some face. We all have to learn sometime and alot of high quality music is in store for you! Imagine more of your favorite music with inner detail you've never heard awaits! Warm regards and happy listening.
My computer says WAV, where does MP3 come in.
I get great results with an M-Audio Audiophile USB, which is a pretty old design. Unfortunately, I don't think this particular model is made anymore, but you can still buy it online. I usually use it with my Macbook. I take the output from my pre-amp's tape output.

I use Audacity for recording. Lately I've been recording at 24-bit/96 kHz, and it really does sound better to me. I save as FLAC and play back with a Squeezebox Touch. I use ClickRepair on a low setting for removing tics and pops. I suggest turning off the amp when recording to eliminate acoustic feedback.
Go to "Google" and you will find DAK 2800 WAV grabber. It's no wonder I know nothing about MP3 and my computer knows nothing about MP3, we only know WAV.
Good morning Orpheus. Let's try this a different way. What sound card are you using to capture your data? PC/system setup. Wav or Mp3, its the sample rate that we are trying to get to. It is extremely relevant and you have yet to disclose that, which will helpful to the original poster when evaluating his/her options. But the sample rate is only part of the equation, the quality of the A to D conversion is the other part. While i have never seen a Dak 2800, i have no doubt it is proving to be a cost effective manner to get your analog signal to your PC.

All of your conversion from analog to digital is currently ocurring at your sound card within your windows PC. That can be pretty noisy not to mention inferior in sound quality but I will withold my specific opinion until you specify your computer setup and sound card. You may have your sound card isolated etc.
Also, please be sure to include a brief description of your digital to analog conversion you currently utilize for playback and the method you play it.....itunes...etc?
Mp3 is nothing more than the name given to a compression algorithm. Songs off of an LP, in their native format, are WAV files. WAV files take up 10-20X the space of MP3 files, so they are difficult to email, take up huge tracts of space on hard drives, etc. The biggest thing, though, is that your average Joe just wants tunes, for background music, or whatever. Quality has no impact. For audiophiles, an uncompressed format is best. There is just more there, there. That's why many of us cling to our turntables, in the face of everything CD.
Soundblaster Audigy 2 Z5 capturing to Wav line in, digital out to Music Streamer II. On a good record, I can't tell vinyl from digital. Now tell me all about it.
Orpheus10, thanks for the reply.

I'm not quite sure where to begin so I will take a pass on commenting on your setup. I'm glad you enjoy your archived vinyl and I am now more confident than ever that your digital and archived digital copies of your vinyl are virtually indistinguishable to your ears. You really do owe it to yourself however to demo a good USB dac in your system. Bypassing your sound card and listening to a ripped CD or downloaded high resolution digital might be a revelation to you. Of course, if after doing so you still prefer your current digital setup then you will be dollars ahead.

Best wishes and enjoy the music.
The Music Streamer II is a USB DAC, and a ripped CD doesn't go through any sound card. I'm at a loss for words, I don't quite know how to respond?
Orpheus, I have been very polite, exceedingly so in my opinion and I would like to keep it that way.

Please note that I said GOOD USB, Wavelength, ARC...there are so many good ones out there that you really should hear the difference if you love music. There is one for every budget as well, especially used.

You have found happiness in your setup and that is cool but for you to pop off about your digital setup is comical. Fire back if you really want to know what I think and I will oblige.....not that I am an expert by any stretch. Can you REALLY see Russia from your house?
Licorice, you have every detail of my set up and I like it a lot. If you have a good phono, which you probably do, line in from line out will give better results than going from the TT. The Music Streamer II is quite cost effective as a USB DAC and I recommend it. Unfortunately, tearing stuff apart, and putting it back together is not for everyone.
Ghasley, there are "Audiophiles" and there are extreme audiophiles who fall into the category of "snob" audiophiles. Everyone on this forum is aware of ARC, but I doubt if hardly anyone is using ARC as a USB DAC. If your budget allows you to indulge in extreme audio, I say "more power to you", maybe one day I'll have that kind of a budget; but today I don't, and honestly I doubt I would use an ARC USB DAC. In the mean time, I'm as happy as a clam with my comical digital setup; peace, and enjoy the music.
Orpheus, how can you refer to me as a "snob audiophile" when anyone with a grasp of the English language can bear witness to the fact that I was so "gentle" with you through our dialogue.

I did not say that your equipment is not good, i was merely trying to point out that if someone is a serious vinyl afficianado and were trying to discover a method of truly archiving their vinyl, that your method is probably not what they were looking for. My method may not work for others either. I wasn't telling you to go buy an ARC USB DAC, which dealers are having a hard time keeping in stock, I was recommending that you ought to hear what is possible, that's all.

My system sounds good to me, your system sounds good to you, so we are both happy. I worked hard to get into college, worked hard in college, worked hard in my career, worked hard in graduate school and have worked hard in my second career. I have about 2 months worth of pay invested in my system and I don't consider it bleeding edge. It works for me, is actually pretty simple, many fewer cables and wires than yours. I just enjoy music.

For you to refer to me as a snob is unfair and unwelcome, I'm far from it. Look at my feedback, read my posts, i simply try to add to the wonderful dialogue we enjoy here on Audiogon. If anyone in this thread is a snob, it would be the person not open to open discussion and a free exchange of ideas. There is more than one way to accomplish anything and you have explained yours, i have explained mine and others will certainly share theirs.
Ghasley, your post indicates you are not a "snob", but a sincere audiophile. Assuming I wanted to bring my system up to the standards you aspire to, what sound card, DAC, and other compatible components would I have; including pre amp, amp and speakers.
Orpheus, thanks. I don't know what gear you have other than the digital setup you mentioned in this thread. Rather than hijack this person's thread any further, you should start a new thread, list your gear, set forth a budget that must be adhered to and I will sincerely provide my opinion. The usual disclaimers will apply, I don't consider myself an expert other than to say I have made every mistake you can make in this hobby.

My personal philosophy on archiving vinyl is based on the premise of maximizing the quality of the archive, even if a person's current setup is incapable of reproducing the incremental resolution. We do this because we all recognize that the rest of the system is only as good as what we input.
Licorice, I hope you have derived enough from all of these posts to put a system together that will transfer your vinyl to PC. There is nothing better than to listen to all of your favorite records, with only the cuts that you like, without interruptions for hours on end late at night. The computer playlist is so much better than a R to R in terms of convenience, it's just about the only thing I listen to.

Enjoy the music and good luck.
Licorice, I do recommend the Soundblaster Audigy 2Z5 capturing to WAV line in card, and the highly recommended Music Streamer II only costs $149. It's the best $149. I ever spent since I've been in stereo.

Sorry I can't recommend anything else for an audiophile.

Happy listening and enjoy your music.
Ok Orpheus, i have been holding back but you have to take a step back and listen for a second. I don't know your age nor your demographic but you don't seem to be reading between the lines very well. Your setup for recording your vinyl digitally must be fine for you but it is likely not what the original poster was asking for. Let's review shall we?

If the topic of this thread had been "is there any way to capture vinyl digitally and play it back, regardless of quality, for $300 or less" then you would be the big winner but it wasn't. The original poster was asking if someone was archiving and what they were doing. You answered which is your right however your method is so poor soncially that I am surprised you even felt motivated to post. I think its cool that you enjoy it I really do. But to run your vinyl through that POS DAK piece, into the noisiest environment on Earth(the inside of a PC) equipped with a marginal sound card just makes my head hurt! Your DAC is probably not that bad as far as $150 DACs($75 on the used market) go.

I keep waiting for you to jump out of the bushes with Ashton Kuchar and tell me I have been Punkd but you are evidently serious because you continue to recommend a setup that shows what is possible for a $300 investment, not what is possible for sound quality. The really expensive part of archiving vinyl is one's time. The OP stated he had a metric shytload of vinyl and wanted to archive it.....YOUR METHOD IS NOT EVEN REMOTELY ARCHIVE QUALITY!!!!!
Ghasely, now that everyone has seen your "state of the art" method and my "budget recommendations" which are incomplete; because I only recommended the Audigy Sound Blaster, and the Musicstream UDB DAC; they can compare and speak for themselves.
Orpheus, are you absolutely mental? Do you get out much? Is that ankle monitor that confining?

I mentioned the Korg MR2000 1 bit DSD digital recorder as 1 method for archiving one's vinyl. Have you looked it up? You can record your vinyl to the Korg, with no computer in the chain and only 1 set of cables. All of the analog to digital conversion happens inside of a darn quiet environment electrically and the sample rate choices represent every widely used sample rate available today. All for a street price of less than $1,500!

I got the idea for using the Korg by reading about MANY different methods but I wanted to archive my vinyl at the highest quality and sample rate available, and then I went to a few live shows of some world class musicians/groups. I did not have a budget in mind when I started the journey, just the quality requirement. It is amazing how many musicians/recording venues/et al use the Korg DSD recorders for capturing their performances for later commercial release. (I had unlimited backstage/venue access, which if I were to explain how you would surely think of me as a snob).

I used to have an Intel based PC with a Soundblaster audio card.....perfect for gaming and casual listening, not for reference level audio reproduction. I switched to MAC. When you mentioned your Soundblaster was in your recording chain, your credibility on this subject fell off of a cliff. Initially, i just thought you didn't know any better and I was trying to be polite and possibly expose you to another way....notice I didn't say my way, right way, perfect way.....I'm not claiming I know it all but your repeated insistence that your vinyl recording method is really good just continues to erode your credibility, if you ever had any.
Ghasley, do you have any stop signs in your neighborhood? If so, tell them about your problem.
Actually yes, there are stop signs and I am able to converse with all of the friendly people in my neighborhood about the goings on in the world. The economy, our health, our families....all pleasant. Most are employed, the unemployed typically by choice due to fortunate circumstances.

I bet you live in Mr. Rodgers neighborhood.
Ghastly, why the need to bash a fellow audiophile? Reading between the lines I do not think the OP was looking for a SOTA archive system.
Orpheus, there are in fact some similarities with the neighborhood analogy. Peaceful, check. Share with others, check. Open to learning from others, check. Each person is different, check. Soundblaster sound cards are not suitable for high quality audio, check. Anyone who says otherwise may be misguided and we should not pick on them, check. For that reason, I will try to refrain from further communication with you. The temptation may prove too attractive, we'll just have to see.

The dialogue with you can be frustrating because you obviously love music, as do I. You won't list your equipment or methods so others may evaluate your position to determine if there is sufficient validation of your assertions. You have now descended into the na-na na-na-na category which I find consistent with your apparent depth of knowledge. Over the course of my almost 30 yearcareer, I have worked with some wonderful people from all walks of life, with all different perspectives and levels of knowledge. Measuring in the thousands by now, I never once worked with anyone like you. I guess I never took the time I'm sorry to say....I typically just let them go and opened the position for someone who had room to grow. Good luck and again, I strongly assert, I am glad you enjoy your music played back through your system, that's all that matters.
Onhwy61, you are correct and I should have just let the thread go its on way, without commentary. I originally just thought that Orpheus didn't know what he was talking about. As far as "state of the art", the Korg is not what I would call state of the art. I would call it a highly effective solution without the need for alot of technical knowledge.

As far as what the original poster was wanting, unlike some, I actually took the time to read some of his posts PRIOR to commenting. I saw where he uses a VPI record cleaner daily and the rituals he uses to play back vinyl I found consistent with those looking for a high quality method. If I misread the intent of the OP, well then my apologies again. As far as picking on Orpheus for his insistence on recommending the Soundblaster, again, I apologize to the community at large.
If the acronym HRT made you think of Hormone Replacement Therapy, let us to introduce you to High Resolution Technologies, a USB DAC specialist.

The Music Streamer II, available through, is its most affordable model, yet it's good enough to make the average laptop sound like proper hi-fi.

Take a look at the input end of the device and there are two clues as to what makes the HRT special.

The first is that there are lights labelled with frequencies from 32k to 96k, indicating that unlike some rivals, the Music Streamer II can handle 24-bit files at 96kHz through USB

The second is the text saying 'asynchronous USB', which shows that it takes charge of clock duties when connected to your computer.

Simply plug your computer into the USB connection on one end, connect your hi-fi using the analogue outputs on the other, and the small but solid HRT handles the digital-to-analogue conversion.

And it does so in serious style. Playing The Far Road from The Road soundtrack, the sound is precise and fluid.

The leading edges of notes are terrifically well-defined, but they degrade with organic subtlety and realism. Detail and dynamics are exceptional, revealing every nuance in the haunting recording.

It's simply a perfectly balanced, bold and beautiful delivery, and for a DAC costing just £150, that's an incredible feat.

Sure, if you've got multiple sources that need converting, something like the Cambridge Audio DacMagic might serve you better, but if you're after a USB-only DAC, this is a great buy.

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After reading all the flames getting slung about, let me clarify my original post. I do have a lot of vinyl (~5,000 LPs), and somehow, I'd like to put them in a digital format so they're easier to ______. I love my vinyl, my TT rig isn't the best, but it damn near kills me to go digital - I'm an analog kind of guy. I'll retain vinyl of my favorites, but most will get converted.

I realize that the PC is full of nasties, but it's great for storage. I just need to find a good way of going from vinyl to digital, while introducing the fewest amount of digital nastiness.