Why do you want to do this? Why don't you just buy the CD or the MP3????
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Why would he do this? Duh! so he doesn't have to buy the same recording twice, who wants to do that? Plus you get the benefit of getting to hear what your turntable sounds like on your ipod as well as played back from your itunes. Digital files recorded from a good LP playback system can sound really good, even better than what you buy often on CD.
Jon I think the key here is that they state in their ad When used with a quality audio interface, "Pure Vinyl is capable of providing stunningly dynamic, detailed music reproduction, faithfully preserving and conveying all of the music contained in the grooves of your vinyl records."
So no it's not gonna sound stellar right from your input to the mac, but you can spend your money on an audio interface instead of the Masterlink and probably end up happier in the end. The editing of the masterlink is a pain and it looks like with the software you don't have to do as much work to put in track markers. You also aren't forced to first record it to CD to rip it into your itunes from, you can just go directly to it. I still like to put it on CD so that I have a hard copy just in case.
I think you should try it and see how it goes, then look for a good interface. I can help you with that. When you are all done and it's working great, I'll copy what you've done and do it myself.
I'd like to do that myself. Please be explicit on how. I have been looking for a unit like a VCR or something that burns CD's from the stereo. My computer is in the den, a healthy walk to the stereo in the living room. The turntable weighs about 90 lbs and really can't be moved into the den/computer room. I saw some units that go for many humdreds of dollars.. sounds like a lot for a burner. Any suggestions?
Digitizing vinyl is a pain in the @SS
You have to do it in real time, i.e. you have to play the record all the way through. Instead of a rip that takes a few minutes per CD you have to play a 40 minute album. You will have to edit out the thud when the stylus hits the record and the end of record noise that goes on for 10 minutes because you got distracted and left the room and started doing something else while the record was playing.
You want to be near the clipping point to get maximum resolution but if you get it a little too hot you will overload the ADC and the results are nasty so you start over. Yes, you can use peak limiters or compression but that compromises sound quality.
Once you do get it done you have to go back and edit to put in the breaks between songs and type in album names and song titles.
Unless it is some record that you love and unavailable on CD I say buy the CD.
This might make an interesting experiment but it's probably not worth your time. If you have some of those hidden gems that were never released on CD, then go for it. My experience with vinyl recording/restoration software is that it is extremely time consuming, depending of course on what sound quality you're aiming for.
I've never used Pure Vinyl but I can recommend some other options for you Mac:
Bias SoundSoap2 - relatively simple to use and inexpensive at $200.
Waves Restoration - this is the one I use. It's quite a bit more money at $1200 but it's the way to go if you want surgical control over restoring your vinyl.
Keep in mind these are programs for restoration (clip/pop removal, hum removal, etc..) if you're wanting to go that route. Any free audio recording program will do if you're just wanting to record.
Herman: Way back when, I recorded just about every LP I bought onto a cassette so I could listen to it in the car. It required all the "pain in the @ss" steps you mentioned but I liked doing it. I would even record a lot of songs onto a VCR tape; same thing. To me it wasn't a pain in the @ss so maybe it wouldn't be for others. I too am interested in transferring some of my vinyl to digital. Would a line-in on an MP3 player do an acceptable job? I keep meaning to experiment with that but haven't gotten around to it yet.
Mike Freemer in the Monaco thread I stated that the CD's he makes from his turntable sound better than the storebought CD release. Several record label people have heard his CD's and coomented their were better than thier releases.
A good mp3 of a great transfer could sound pretty nice. You'd need a top analog rig to get that level of playback though it is possible.
I have an Alesis Masterlink and have been digitizing my LP collection for a few years now. Everything you wrote is true but if you have listened to a LP transferred track vs a regular CD, you would understand why I did it. I digitize LP at 24/96 for home playback and then make a 16/48 down-sample version for iPod upload. The sound quality and convenience are unmatched by either CD or LP alone.
BTW Masterlink is a fantastic machine. Its editing feature is not the best but after you get used to it, editing is very easy.
If you want to record directly to a computer, you might want to look into the new Benchmark ADC1 USB.
Thanks everybody for the feedback and suggestions.
Ejlif had told me some time ago about how he used the Masterlink and how the recording in the end was better sounding than the CD you could buy in the store. This really intrigued me as I love my vinyl setup and I love the sound of vinyl. I would rather buy vinyl and listen to it than anything else. I don't always have the time to listen to vinyl though so the next best thing is to record it. I can then have it in iTunes to play back through my HiFi or on my iPod to listen to on the road, at work, etc.
It seems that bands are catching on to this notion of vinyl. Wilco's release, "Sky Blue Sky", included a CD when you purchased the vinyl. Low's release, "Drums and Gums", included a coupon to download the MP3 version. Both these approaches are very cool, but not quite there. Ideally, you buy the vinyl and get a coupon to download the lossless files. Bandwidth is cheap and prevalent. I'm sure there are many arguements against this but this is what I'd like to see. But I digress...
I will report back to this thread once I have something up and running with PureVinyl.
I took a look at PureVinyl. It is an interesting little program and certainly has some good features that could simplify LP transfer. But the author wants over $200 for it. I am not sure it is worth the price. What troubles me most is not the program but the ADC inside a Mac which is not very good. For two or three hundreds more you could buy a used Masterlink which has a much better ADC built in.
Save up for the Tascam DV-RA1000HD. Excellent device. It allows all kinds of formats (including DVD-A) up to 192KHz/24bit (also DSD format, which is not too useful for me). Burns directly to DVD or redbook CD standard. Allows you to USB the data to a computer so you can edit it with another program to get rid of pops, etc. Has tremendous hard drive space (60 GB) that you can store hundreds of hours on. Has EQing, limiting, compression (if you want to do such a thing...). You can set gain on the input (among other things). Best of all, you can use it to play back all your recordings, instead of buying a separate CD/DVD player!
You can set it to Fade in/out. You can set it to split tracks automatically and to start recording at the first noise above a certain level (or split tracks under the same circumstances). You can merge tracks if any mistakes occur. Too many features to list... I love it.
It is expensive, but IMO, well worth it.
Yeah sure it's a little bit of a pain, but playing an album isn't to hard right? You can listen to it and record it at the same time. With the Alesis Masterlink it takes 10 minutes tops to edit the audio into tracks and then you just push a button and put in the CD to record it to and it's done in about 10 minutes. Not to bad. I think it's kind of fun.
It seems like there is a misunderstanding on here regarding putting this stuff in your ipod. If you rip the music at Apple Lossless it sounds just as good as the CD (no loss in quality) You can put it in your ipod. As a matter of fact the newest ipods sound better than any of my car stereos at this point playing back that same CD. So yeah you are getting better sound from a recorded LP then you get if you buy the CD and MP3 just plain old sound like crap and aren't even worth messing with. Just because music is in an ipod doesn't mean it's at MP3 quality!
I have loaded some of my vinyl recordings into my friends ipods and they have always mentioned how much better they sound even played back on inferior car stereos.
I am using an outboard Wadia AD converter instead of letting the Masterlink do the conversion. I just feed the tape out on my preamp to the analog input on the Wadia, then run a SPDIF digital connection to the Masterlink.
The Masterlink burns at 4X, so a 40 minute LP takes about 10 minutes. It takes longer if you add DSP to the file, but I don't usually do that unless I'm getting stuff from cassette tape.
I can edit a 10 song LP in about 10 minutes. I guess I'm good at it lol. I wish the Masterlink had some kind of job/shuttle wheel that would let you move really quick through the audio. That is the only real problem I see with the Masterlink is that you have to scroll through the audio slower sometimes than I would like.
So I think I'm mostly sold on the Pure Vinyl software. I've got some questions though. Here's my rig:
From the Plinius I've connected an RCA to 1/8" plug which goes to the audio input of my Mac Book Pro. I've done some recording with the software, cleaned things up and imported into iTunes. For what it's worth, the sound was awesome. I know it can get better though and I'm wondering what I might need to make things better.
I'm just assuming some sort of ADC but I'm still a newbie with the gear.
You need a better interface for your Mac, like the Apogee Duet. Make sure that pure vinyl will work OK with it. Check with their customer service on what works well. The Apogee is a good choice since they are known for making great sounding pro audio gear and it's only 500 bucks. It's a firewire interface.
Did you get the problem with your RB 250 worked out?
The only downside I see to the Duet is that it doesn't offer Digital IO, which means you can't add a better AD converter later if you wanted to. You probably won't care though since it is an Apogee and it already has a pretty great AD converter built in. Apogee is a higher end pro audio product and is known for it's sound quality above all. I think it's the no brainer choice for what you want. There is a PreSonus fire box that could be had for 300 bucks, but I would guess it won't sound nearly as good. If you wanted to spend more (probably not) then check out the Metric Halo ULN 2.
I will be real interested to see how this works. I may be following your lead if this works easy and sounds great. My setup sounds great for sure but is not the most convenient.
That Apogee and a laptop is portable as well. You can buy it from Sweetwater sound, they are pretty good to deal with.
Unless your vinyl is extremely noisy, so many clicks and pops that you hear more of them than music, I'd not use any software cleaning. Any declicking you do will have audible effects on the music. Also the better built the turntable and cart, the less likely the clicks and pops will bother you. Now if this is something rare, that you need the cleanest sounding results possible, I would remove the clicks and pops manually. Software such as Adobe Audtion will let you do this.
Here's what I do when transfering vinyl:
First I clean the LP on a VPI 16.5 RCM. I also use a quality turntable/cart/preamp combo (VPI,SHURE,Dynavector) and a quality sound card (m-audio audiophile firewire).
You can use any sound recording program, if going to cd, I'd record straight to 16/44khz, if archving for digital storage not on cd, go for 24/96 then compress to a lossless codec such as flac.
Joe, that would be a great comparison. The price of the MSB looks great. The only problem is you would still need an interface with a digital input to make use of the MSB since it is only an AD converter. The Apogee on the other hand is the interface and AD converter in one small unit.
Probably the best setup would be a top notch AD converter running into a top notch interface such as the Metric Halo ULN 2. This is a rather cumbersome not to mention expensive solution compared to the streamlined and even portable Duet.
We shall see. When Jwynacht gets the Duet and Purevinyl running together we will do a direct comparison between that and my "old fashioned" rig and see what sounds better.
I am running a 4000.00 Wadia AD converter into the Alesis Masterlink and the recordings are GREAT! The Wadia is like 5 years old which is a long time in the world of digital. Hopefully it is possible that Apogee can make something that beats it for 1/8th the price and fits in the palm of your hand.
Pure Vinyl looks really cool. I've already made some investments in my process of transferring 600 LP's to digital, though, so it's a rather pricey choice at this point for me.
For what it's worth, just to put an alternative approach:
Mac OS X/Mini with Bias Peak (similar price to Pure Vinyl)
Outboard A/D converter: USBPre
Click/noise fixing on Windows with Cool Edit/ClickFix
Archive as FLAC, burn to CD.
I record 24-bit 44.1. I can't do 96 with my setup, but at the time (2002) anyway the cost of the hardware/software was the best compromise for me.
Depending on the record, splitting the tracks can be easy or challenging. The hardest part for me is figuring out how much to clean the audio. Sometimes a light touch with ClickFix in the gaps will do the job, sometimes I end up just living with a few natural artifacts to preserve the high end, etc.
Recently I've been experimenting with Cool Edit's noise sampling and removal functionality. I'm debating whether this might be more effective and less harmful than I previously thought. Jury's still out.
But the bottom line for me is that saving the final work in FLAC and/or CD is the way to go. MP3's are like low-end cassettes in the modern age. I still hope for on-line retailers to start selling non-DRM in lossless formats. Then I may just buy digital replacements for alot of my more scratchy/warped items!