PC audio newbie looking for advice

I'm just throwing this out there and I will greatly appreciate any help, knowledge, or tips I can get regarding the process of recording my vinyl and CDs to a hard drive.

Ultimately what I am looking for is this:

1) A tablet and/or smart phone interface ( I might be OK with small IR hardware for home but hopefully not)
2) Easy, smart, software for this interface (I've read MediaMonkey is good)
3) An easy, software solution for the adc process (I've read that VinylStudio is easy and effective)
4) Since memory is cheap I want to keep WAV, or maybe lossless, files on a standalone hard drive(s) for home audio playback. I might also convert these to mp3 for use on a smart phone to play in the car, etc.
5) I have a nice 17" Toshiba laptop (windows 7) and want to use it for the front end in the adc process if I can. My phone is the only Apple product I've ever had, an iPhone 5s because it's slim and small compared to other phones. I do not own a tablet currently but a dedicated convertable for the sound system is appealing. I am not inclined to go the media player route.

Over time I've put together a decent rig for critical listening and I am thinking that now I would like to convert my vinyl and CD's (about 500 units all told) to hard drive for convenience and portability. Some of the answers to some of my questions are probably on the forums somewhere but they can be difficult to hunt down. I can handle technical if necessary but I prefer easy, elegant and low maintenance solutions. I've got an idea of most of the parts and pieces I will need but I haven't wrapped my head around the process as a whole from end to end. I am not willing to spend forever and a pot of gold to gain a few percent, and basically I am looking to reduce my stumbling around in the dark as much as I can. Thanks in advance for your time and patience.

My home audio rig consists of a primary system in a critical listening / video room which shares some sources with a lesser secondary system that takes sound everywhere else in the house and yard via an effective 12 channel mid fi amp and low tech, hard wired, 12/4 & 14/4 wall rated speaker cable all over the place whole house sound system. I am not inclined to go Sonos or equal because my speakers and sound are superior and the sound is the thing above all.


Primary rig
Cary SLP98p F1
Cary CAD 500 MB (2)
Cerious Technologies React 2
Esoteric P-700
Cary Xciter DAC
ProJect PerspecX
Parasound T-3
Samsung whatever 3D Blueray player
Samsung 58" Plasma 3DHD TV
HRT Linestreamer plus
I am considering replacing the Samsung blueray, Esoteric, and Cary Xciter with an Oppo 105. The Esoteric is a great unit though. Yes I like to turn it up a bit at times.

Secondary rig
Sansui AU-317 (preamp only)
Dayton Audio MA 1240
Yamaha 5 disc CD changer
Sansui TU-317
Cerious Technologies Cerious 7
Quad 12L2 (2)
Asperion Outdoor
DCM Time Windows
Pioneer HPM 100

Power, interconnect, and speakers cables are a combination of Cerious Technologies, SoundSilver, and custom.
It would probably be much easier if you plugged your phono preamp directly into a stand alone CD recorder, and get all of your records recorded on CD-R's. Then rip those, with all of your other CD's. EAC and dbpoweramp are good choices for ripping software.
I do not have a stand alone phono preamp. My phono preamp is built into my tube preamp, a Cary SLP-98p F1, and is a good sounding unit. The 98 has dual outputs so I'm thinking your idea is doable. Teac makes a unit that you describe. It's price point, $250, worries me but if it makes quality data all the better. Once I'm done with the conversions it won't get used a lot. It would be nice if the OPPO I'm thinking about buying did this but I don't think it does. I'm sure there are others. Essentially the CDR in my laptop can do this but perhaps not as easily. Over time ease is worth a lot to me. Thanks for the input...S
I'm 100% computer based these days and can't comment on the ADC itself. However, in my DAC search I came across the Lynx Hilo, which also has ADC. Lynx is a pro gear company. The Hilo has good user reviews, and professional reviews. I believe there is a note on their website about digitalizing vinyl. I also recall someone on computeraudiophile.com used this unit for the same purpose you are exploring.

Good luck!
Thanks for the input Lewinski01. I will check Lynx out.
"12-07-14: Silversurfer0116
I do not have a stand alone phono preamp. My phono preamp is built into my tube preamp, a Cary SLP-98p F1, and is a good sounding unit. The 98 has dual outputs so I'm thinking your idea is doable."

That's even better. You can connect a CD burner the same way you would a cassette deck. For getting your records transferred to digital with good sound quality, its probably the easiest and best way. I've used this method with my own records. As far as the cost of a burner, I'm sure you can get something used and in good shape from ebay or maybe even craigslist.
Benchmark and other companies have analog to digital converters for ripping vinyl. That's all I know about that part.

One of the best software products for ripping CDs is dBpoweramp. I used an auxillary computer with a fast CD drive to rip all of my CDs (FLAC and/or WAV) to my NAS. I also download hi-res files to the NAS.

My media player is a dedicated atom based Windows 8 computer designed by the Computer Audiophile. This one is called the C.A.P.S. v3 Carbon, but there are different versions. There is no fan, so no noise and it sits on my audio rack.

For the listening room interface, I use an iPad with the JRemote app installed. This handshakes with the J. River Media Center software installed on my Carbon.

I am extremely happy with this setup for both sound, convenience, and flexibility. I have pictures, etc., through my System link.
Thanks for your input Kenny. Jriver is one of the programs on my list. The internet press seems to think it overly complicated and favors mediamonkey. Agon seems to favor jriver though. Do you know if the jremote app only comes with a media player that has jriver software? Or is it something that will work with a PC too? I have an auxillary hard drive that I plan to store all my WAV files on and hopefully access them via a dedicated laptop. I'm just now looking into media players. They're nice but they do seem to be overpriced laptops in a lot of ways.
Zd542. Your idea seems plausible. A turntable has to convert analog data into digital data to burn it onto CD. Are you saying that I can simply hook a CD burner up to the second pair of preamp outputs (which are provided for a powered subwoofer or second amp/speaker set). The CD burner would have to have a built in analog to digital (ADC) to do this or do I need hook an stand alone ADC up in line to the CD burner?
"A turntable has to convert analog data into digital data to burn it onto CD."

No it doesn't, but something in the chain has to. A stand alone CD burner has its own analog to digital converter. Since its integrated as part of the burner, you really don't see, or interact with it in any way. You can either connect a phono preamp to it directly, or connect it to a preamp.
There's new stuff all the time, so at one time Computer Audiophile favored J. River as a player. It works for me, but I do have a lot of different parts to my digital gear, that can complicate things.
As I remember, I downloaded the JRemote app after I already had the J. River Media Center. There's a setting in J. River, that runs the Media Server when you start up your computer, that the JRemote app syncs with. I think you need the J. River Media Center to use the JRemote app, but the Media Center is on my PC, while JRemote is on my iPad. Look into this, so you know for sure.
I guess I have a number of separates, because I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. Digital audio technology, turns over like cell phones, computers, and software, because it's the same idea. I don't want to upgrade my all-in-one, because it won't handle a bigger hard drive, for example. But, that's me, and others have their own solutions that work best for them.
I am in the processing of digitizing my vinyl. It is a time consuming but rewarding process. The adc is a critical part of the process. When I started the process, in order to test the process I used the adc in my PC. It did the job, but the sound was not as good as the vinyl. I eventually bought a Korg MR2000s, which unfortunately is not made any more. The Tascam DA-3000 is a good entry level professional unit. I digitize to 2xDSD or 24/192 PCM, depending on how noisy the record is. You cannot do click removal on DSD without converting it to PCM. I had planned to use DSD for most of the work, but in the end am mostly using PCM becue of the click removal. As clean as you think you albums are, there are always a few clicks in there.

I use Vinyl Studio and find it easy to use. As with all software, it takes a little getting used to but it does everything I want. It does not do fancy effects like Audacity, but I don't need those. It does look up albums and retrieves track names and track lengths, which many of the programs do not do.

Although a CD-R unit can work, I will look carefully at the adc in it. I do find that high rez does sound better than 16/44.

My goal was to get the digital to sound as close to the vinyl as I could. My vinyl rig is a VPI Scout with a Benz Ebony TR cartridge and a Linn Linto phonostage. The two pieces of equipment that realized my goal were the Korg and a Chord Hugo DAC. If you want you digitzed files to sound like your vinyl, you need to match the DAC to your vinyl sound. The Oppo is a fine all around player, but some people do find its sound analytic and a little dry, which may not be what you want to match your vinyl and Cary sound.

I use J River and it does indeed have a lot of features which can make it complicated. But, you can also use it without any modifications and it works fine. You can then customize as you wish. The customizations are its real strength. It does many things that other programs just do not do.

You can get free trial versions of both Vinyl Studio and J River, but both of them are pretty inexpensive. Vinyl Studio for $30 is a steal.

I would concentrate on finding a adc that fits your price range and does the resolutions you want. If you have a PC with a sound card that does adc that might be a good place to get started. It probably will not be your final solution but it is a good way to try out the process. You can import any files you create into Vinyl Studio.
JRemote started as a third party app that ran on Apple phones and tablets. It requires J River be installed on the main computer. It is just a remote interface and player for the hand held devices. The developer of JRemote now works for JRIver and he is in the process of developing an Android version. No time frame has been announced. JRiver has their oun Android program called Gizmo, but it is less flexible than JRemote and will probably be phased out once JRemote is available on Android devices.
Check out computeraudiophile.com, as it is focused on...computer audio...obviously.

There is a Guide to Ripping CDs. It focuses on dBpoweramp. Finding the right settings is not necessarily intuitive, but I followed that guide to a t thE first time, and never had to re-set the settings.

There is also a guide to Setting up JRiver. I think it was written back at the time of JRiver 17. Even though we are now on JRiver 20 version, the basics still apply. Again, it is handy to get to the critical settings quickly.

There might be a guide for ripping vinyl too...don't know.

I think JRiver is a good place to start. jRemote works great (my server is headless so this is critical), and Jriver itself is good. I believe certain combinations of DAC/playback software/format of the music to be played/type of server used sound better than others so it gets slippery pretty fast if one shoots for "the best sound", but I would leave that for later.

HQPlayer is also a good playback software. Has a lot less features than JRiver, but for audio playback it is just fine. It needs a computer with a screen, though, so no JRemote-type options. You also cannot pick songs from different albums as easily as with JRiver. But if you just select a whole album and play it, it works very well. Some claim it sounds better than JRiver. I didn't try it with PCM material (CDs), but tried it with DSD into a capable DAC and indeed it sounded better than JRiver. Yet I opted to stay with the latter due to the human interface.
Vinyl Studio has a tutorial on digitizing albums. From their home page, click on Help File and select HTML. It comes up with a tutorial, using their Help file.
To Dtc, Kenney, and Lewinski...et al, Thanks again for your responses. I am going to start with some of my CD's first and them try some vinyl. Probably won't get to it until after Jan. 1 for obvious reasons. If you think of anything else of interest I'm listening...S
If you try JRiver, I would suggest just ripping your first CDs from within it. dBpoweramp is a great product, but for the vast majority of CDs in good condition, JRiver and dBpoweramp will give the same results. I only use it if I encounter errors with JRiver. Try a few and see how it goes.

Good luck.
"Although a CD-R unit can work, I will look carefully at the adc in it. I do find that high rez does sound better than 16/44."

After reading that, I just remembered my CD burner. I forgot I had it. Its an Alesis Masterlink 9600. You can record and burn 24/96. It also has a built in hard drive. I don't think they're too expensive if you find a good used one.
Ripping CDs only makes things simpler than digitizing vinyl. A computer plus a asynch USB DAC is all you need. However, not all such combinations are made equal.

I've been amazed with the improvement in sound I had by moving to Windows Server 2012 and running the AudioOptimizer and playing back with JRiver. Building a custom and dedicated computer helps too, but takes a lot more time and money. And that computer can be tweaked ad nauseum, but again I wouldn't recommend starting there. I would do a laptop, or any other PC you have available to run in dedicated fashion, install WS2012 and the Optimizer. Ws2012 trial is free, and the Optimizer is €100 or so.

What are you planning to do as far as DAC goes? Not familiar with your DAC, but asuming it doesn't have asynch USB I would buy a used Audiophilleo or other USB-to-SPDIF converter and plug it into the Cary DAC. That would get you set up to get acquainted with computer audio. Then decide if it's worth for you digging deeper.

That's what I would suggest. Hope it helps!