Questions about recording vimyl to computer?


I have watched some videos about the necessary hardware & software. And I have manipulated digital files such as conversion Flac to Alac (for Ipod) & download,  etc.  I have a lot of Flac & Alac  files already. So, I have plenty of computer & vinyl experience. Transferred many to cassette too. But none to digital.
I know I need Audacity and supposedly it is free.

I have a very good TT, Cart and phono pre. I have a laptop Win 7
Do I need a USB Audio Interface? Or can I go with my JLTi preamp to the 1/8 input jack on computer? Which will give best sound quality? Or does that matter to the 1's & 0's?

This USB Audio Interface has a phono preamp too, which quality may be sorely lacking. And considering I have a LOMC cart, maybe inappropriate for the job. Any suggestions? Didn't know whether to post in vinyl or digital.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UFO202--behringer-u-phono-ufo202-usb-audio-interface-with-ph...

artemus_5
CONFOUND RABBIT! Wont let me edit the title!!!! And can't delete. OK its 

VINYL
Generally speaking it seems to me that what is likely to be much more critical than the USB interface circuit provided by such a device is its A/D converter. And the $38 price of the unit you referenced doesn’t seem to be encouraging in that regard. Also, I would expect that the A/D converters which accept analog inputs in computers are generally not up to audiophile standards, in part because they operate in a noise-filled environment.

What I suspect would be a much better approach would be to connect the output of your phono stage or line stage to a standalone digital recorder, which would digitize the signals and record them to a flash memory card, such as an SDXC card. You would then transfer the files from the card to the computer, using a memory card reader if the computer doesn’t have one built-in.

I suggest perusing the listings of such recorders at B&H Photo Video. Personally I have had great experiences with a Sound Devices MixPre6, although the present Mark II version of that recorder sells for $885. (A MixPre3 II version providing three channels rather than the six provided by the MixPre6 sells for $680). But models from other manufacturers are available for much lower prices. The Sound Devices recorders also provide USB interfaces, btw, but I haven’t used mine in that manner.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

@almarg    

Thanks for the info & link. As usual I figure a $1  budget and the real cost is  $8. That's the problem with a champagne taste with a beer pocket book. LOL. Now, where to find that other $7
@almarg 

I have a Peavey 20 channel  mixer with USB out. I have RCA in on 2 channels. I suspect I could plug the phono pre into the Peavey board and output from USB to the computer using audacity. Does that sound like a solution? It is a pro grade mixer (from when I was a rock star). Or am I still affected by excess computer noise?
I have no particular knowledge of Peavey mixers or other comparable devices.  But since you already have one giving it a try seems like a worthwhile idea.

Good luck.  Regards,
-- Al

I’ve been doing this for a while now so have some recommendations. Look into Pro Audio interfaces, The Focusrite Scarlett 2 channel will do 24/192 and is relatively inexpensive . There are others. You can go up into the stratosphere from there. Lynx and Apogee among others make superb ADC units. Also look into Pure Vinyl software. It will not only interface with the hardware to do the recording, it does a superb job of RIAA correction as well as a lot of handy features that make things easier for you.

one final thought, Do not get one of those all in one USB turntables. Do your homework and get something you can live with for the duration. recording vinyl is not like copying a CD. It is done in real time and requires your attention. It takes a lot of time, but you do get to listen to records while you do it . Last thing you want is to put in a lot of hours only to discover there was a better, easier way.

second final thought, why do you want to do this? I thought it sounded like a great idea but after doing it for a while decided why not just spin the record when i wanted to hear those songs? What was I going to do with the digital file anyway that it made it worth the expense and hassle required to get the file?
Apart from digitising your collection, can any audio advantages be gained from this?Actually like the sound vimyl better than vinyl.
I wouldn't waste time trying to edit audio with Audacity. It is one royal pain in the ass.  Try to scare up an old version of Sound Forge.
I haven't used the latest since Sony sold it but it's probably worth $60.
https://www.magix.com/us/sem/sound-forge-audio-studio/
The best was ver.5 by Sonic Foundry.  When Sony bought it they said it wouldn't work in WinXP.  It did.  Didn't work in Win7.  Does in Win10.  BUT it doesn't save to flac.  Ver.13 was written by Sony and is rock solid.  Just not as shortcut friendly as 5.  Sony gave me a ver.7 during WIn7.  meh
For vinyl I record in place to a CD recorder.  Then declick and master on a desktop.
can any audio advantages be gained from this?

I think to beat an entry level to mid price Pro Audio interface with Pure Vinyl you would have to spend a lot more on a phono stage. At some point pure analog without digitizing pulls ahead though. 


you can also do pop/click removal in software. 
I bought a Tascam DA-3000 some years ago and have not looked back. Best digital sound I've heard (with DSD128). 
@herman @pjr801.


This has nothing to do with sound quality and all to do with getting older and not wanting to do the vinyl dance all the time. Yes, I love my vinyl. And if CDP’s were still available, I would just burn my Flacs to CD. But the trend is streaming. How long will my 20 yr old cdp continue? Who knows.

Also note that I DO have a good phono preamp. I don't know much about the audio interface available. Maybe an inexpensive one will work fine. But I tend to lean towards my Peavey Board more.

@o_holter

Wow! That may be the best alternative for me. Transferring files to CF, SD or USB drive would save me a lot of trouble. Plus the ability to record my vinyl as needed. I have plenty of music so I don’t need to stream paid services via network. One question. Does it have a CD player in it? Looks like a slot for one but doesn’t mention in the specs. BTW, nice system

Edit.....Maybe my enthusiasm was somewhat misplaced. Does it hold a large enough USB to record a whole album? Is that how you transfer to computer? Thanks

Artemus, I understand where you are coming from .... a few thoughts.

I have been repairing pro music gear for many years and have my doubts about the Peavey board. Not that it wasn't good for it's intended purpose, but is it a good option for this purpose given what is currently available? The 2 channel Focusrite I mentioned above can be had for $150 or less. You can go up from there. It will digitize at 24/192 or whatever you want, but  disc space is so cheap why go any lower? It has analog in you can feed from your phono stage or use the built in mic inputs to feed your turntable directly, and has USB to send data to your computer. You have a choice of software but Pure Vinyl is almost a no brainer since it has been developed specifically for what you want to do, has many features that make it much easier to use than the alternatives mentioned, and really is a bargain. It even breaks the file into the song files like a CD is and automatically generates file names unless it is something extremely obscure. It is a royal pain to do this song by song using lesser software. They have a discount coupon on their website (no affiliation other than being an early adopter and satisfied user for many years)

I guess my overarching advice is this. The process no matter how you go about it is time consuming and at least for me, a pain the ass. If you are going to do it don't half step with software not designed for the task and hardware that can be easily bested for a small sum. Go to the Pure Vinyl website and at least read up on it.

http://www.channld.com/purevinyl/

and here is another side of it... how many vinyl records do you have that aren't available to stream form Tidal or Qobuz or Amazon or Spotify or Apple or whatever else is out there?
@herman 


Thanks for the info. I'll check out the Focusrite. Funny thing is that as I traverse the digital terrain, it seems to be more work to get there than the old fashioned way of vinyl. I remember recording to cassette and how time consuming it was. I was 20's & 30's then. At this age transferring to digital may seem unbearable since a 1/2 hr job now takes 2 1/2 hrs. Kinda makes the streaming services look inviting. 
For me, streaming is a no brainer. People complain because a service costs $15-20 a month. Are you kidding me? I used to spend sometimes hundreds a month on discs and vinyl for a few titles. Now for less than I paid for a single CD 30 years go I have access to millions of songs in high resolution. 

the convenience and selection is unbelievable. Last night I sat down with the latest copies of Absolute Sound and Stereophile (also a ridiculous bargain at a dollar a month or so each)  and went through the music reviews, Everything I was interested in was instantly available on a streaming service for me to listen to while I read about it. Or as you read a hardware review and the reviewer discusses the songs he used to evaluate it, you have instant access  to listen to what he is talking about. Amazing. Something we didn't even dream of a few years ago.
@herman 

People complain because a service costs $15-20 a month. Are you kidding me? I used to spend sometimes hundreds a month on discs and vinyl for a few titles.
Good point. One difference is that you get to own the disks on tangible media. I think this is partly the reason for the vinyl resurgence. Back in the day, the cover art was considered important. But the times, they are a'changin'. And then there's hat vast library to choose from. Even I go to Amazon or Pandora occasionally to hear some obscure blues, mostly. 
herman
... recording vinyl is not like copying a CD. It is done in real time and requires your attention. It takes a lot of time .... Last thing you want is to put in a lot of hours only to discover there was a better, easier way.
Agreed! For all the effort it takes to record vinyl, I want the absolute best copy that I can make. This is the last place to cut corners.
... why do you want to do this? I thought it sounded like a great idea but after doing it for a while decided why not just spin the record when i wanted to hear those songs? What was I going to do with the digital file anyway that it made it worth the expense and hassle required to get the file?
Great question. A properly stored and handled LP is an archival medium - more so than tape. I have some LPs that were bought used and are more than 50 years old, yet still sound like new even after many plays. They don’t need digital "preservation."

But in addition to listening to LPs, I also play digital files. As we all know, not everything released on LP has been released on CD so in the case of some rare favorites, I’ve made my own digital copies. Then the track can be put in a playlist for digital playback.

There are also some instances where a digital release is so sonically inferior to its LP counterpart as to be unlistenable. So I sometimes will digitize an LP so that I can hear the preferred version when I’m listening to my digital playlists.

Without drifting OT, this is all why I see the analog/digital debate so absurd. They can both sound great and they coexist quite nicely.
@cleeds

I’m not doing this to preserve the LP’s. Just like cassettes that I used to record too, these will be played on a different (& easier) medium. I too have 50-60 yr old records. And you are correct that they play fine. But at 69 yrs old I sometimes just want to listen rather than go through the vinyl ritual. This is the only reason to digitize. FWIW my vinyl setup is quite good and I listen 90% vinyl. But i foresee a time that I just may want to press a button and let the digital player play it for me. It probably won’t be as good as my vinyl. But its better than not playing m,y music. Besides, I have some music which is not on digital.
artemus_5
I’m not doing this to preserve the LP’s. Just like cassettes that I used to record too, these will be played on a different (& easier) medium.
Understood - I only mentioned the preservation aspect because so many cite it as a reason to digitize an LP. Yesterday's cassette or reel-to-reel mixtape is today's playlist.
... at 69 yrs old I sometimes just want to listen rather than go through the vinyl ritual. This is the only reason to digitize ... i foresee a time that I just may want to press a button and let the digital player play it for me. It probably won’t be as good as my vinyl. But its better than not playing m,y music. Besides, I have some music which is not on digital.
Same here. For convenience, you can't beat digital. But digitizing an LP is so tedious and time-consuming I'd typically rather stream or play my existing digital files than endure the LP-to-digital transfer process. But there are exceptions, and it is possible to get virtually perfect digital files from LP.
@cleeds


But digitizing an LP is so tedious and time-consuming I’d typically rather stream or play my existing digital files than endure the LP-to-digital transfer process

I’m beginning to see your point. The more I learn, the more I see the work involved and time consumed.
Yes the digitizing is time consuming, but to my ears, well worth it. I now have ca 400 album vinyl rips on double DSD through the Tascam DA-3000. I can play them back very conveniently through my new Teac NT-505 streamer/dac, over my home (ethernet) network. Sound is very good. Almost as good as the direct analog playback itself, and for less bother and cost in cart replacements, tubes etc. So in my case, it is well worth it.Most of my analog recordings are better than Tidal masters - to my ears. Lesser formats need not apply.
Almarg made a good point in the beginning of this thread. Make sure that the ADC is good enough, before starting to invest much time on recording from analog. This is like the source of the Nile, so to speak, when recording from analog sources like LPs. In my case, the Tascam DA-3000 ADC is quite good from what I hear (and read) allthough not the best. The "secret anxiety" of anyone using time on this is, is that maybe in some years, my recordings won't be good enough;I should have changed the ADC, or some part of my analog chain, like the cartridge. So it is a bit of a risky gamble. Ten years ago I recorded with the Korg MR-1. I don't listen much to these recordings today, since the DA-3000 recordings, going from single to double DSD (plus balaned connections, a better cartridge, etc), are clearly better. So I think it is a good idea, first, to ensure that the analog chain is fairly well made up and settled - don't record if you have a new and better cart or phono preamp coming soon. And that you are satisfied with the ADC. The conversion back from digital - the best DAC - is something you can come back to that later. In that respect, your recordings are (like what was said of DSD) "future proof". 
Or, for something completely different, skip the computer, and look at a Sugarcube from Sweetvinyl.  I have been a beta tester of the SC-2, now an SC-2+, and I am making pristine needle drops in hi-res for my server and portable file player. Easy-peezy.  www.sweetvinyl.com 
Thanks bondmanp. I also skip the computer, so far (using a Teac NT-505), though who knows, in the future. The Sugarcube looks nice but does not seem to be able to handle dsd -? I know that pcm top level is nice, but still not the best format. I am a strong believer in investing in the best recording format, before going into recording. including "vinyl rips". Plan ahead. You dont want to re-record your vinyl collection some years later, because you started out with too low level digitizing. 
@o_holter I won't live enough to re-digitize my vinyl!  I can't argue with you, higher res is always better, but I am thrilled with my 96/24 needle drops.  The Sugarcube tops out at 192/24, but my older DAC maxes out at 96/24 (I know, I deserve a trip to the punishment room).  Prior to the Sugarcube, I was using a Marantz pro-sumer CD recorder with Red Book resolution.  Not great, but I got fairly good results, to my ears.
bondmanp, can you shed some light on a question I have about the SC-2 (and variants) recording specifications? The data sheets show recording sampling rates of 44.1k, 48k, 88.2k, 96k, 176.4k, 196k. Is the 196k rate correct? Why would they use a 196k sampling rate when normal DAC conversion is 192k? Or is this a recurring typo? What is the resulting resolution of the files you record using the 24bit/196k sampling rate?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Tom
@tketcham AFAIK, that's a misprint.  24/192 is the max resolution for Sugarcube models that record.
Thanks for the reply. I'm getting convinced that it's a misprint. I emailed  SweetVinyl and hope to hear back from them. Have you actually recorded at 24/196k and then processed the file (Audacity for example) or played it through a DAC?
@tketcham ... I tried it once, but my only option for 192/24 playback is via the USB input of my Oppo BDP-93.  It worked, and sound came out.  😉 My DAC, a highly modified Beresford, tops out at 96/24.  I make my needle drops at that resolution, in Flac.
I got a reply from Dan at SweetVinyl and he says it is a typo and they'll get it corrected.
I used to record at 24/96 but decided to go with 24/192 recordings and downsample to 24/96 for playback from the music library. That way I can always go back to 24/192 for certain LPs.
Thanks again!
I am still investigating the Teac NT-505. Sometimes it seems good - other times not so good. Maybe still burning in. I will soon getter a better headphone, Audioquest Nightowl, to compare.
First - just to clarify, regarding the NT-505: I have no complaints, in most respects. No problems connecting to the network, playing DSD and other hi-res from my server, streaming, the Lumin app (getting to know it), etc. What I said concerns the sound quality only, and at that point, I am still not sure. What is clear, is that is good enough to play my vinyl recordings back in a good way (I didn't say "optimal" way). Time - burn-in - will tell.

Second - is it worth it? Recording from vinyl is a lot of work, but actually, more like a routine than hard work, once you get into it. I don't sit around while recording, rather I use a timer, roughly adjusted for the duration of the LP side, usually around 15 minutes. I bring this to my home office and do some "real" work while it counts down. Not ideal, but OK. Sometimes, I think, "is this LP really worth it", or even (monitoring the recording, in headphones) "this doesn't sound so good". But then I remember all the times I have enjoyed playing back my recordings, and I keep recording, some more LPs while I am at it. I think of  holidays when I've brought a little DAP (Fiio x3) along, and we have enjoyed the analog sound. So my rule is, just do it, you won't regret it. Although streaming and digital is coming along and so forth. As dacs improve, the benefits of high format recordings will probably become even clearer. Even from this "stone age technology", analog record playback, warts and all. If you have time and taste for it, investigate a program like Vinyl Studio, which makes it easier to spilt your recordings into tracks. I find that it works well, but often, I prefer to leave my LP side A, side B original recordnings are they are, since I like to listen "into" albums. Old-fashioned, maybe.

I have one problem, or challenge, that you should be aware of. DSD recordings often have lower volume than other types of audio files, including PCM. This is the case with the recordings I make with the Tascam DA-3000, unless I turn up the volume quite "hot". There is debate regarding the best recording volume, and "hot" (loud) is not advocated. This fits what I hear. However, with some equipment, the recording may just be too low in volume. That happens in our car stereo (Ford Focus) - even with full volume (from the Fiio x3), the sound is too low. Even if it is good enough for the home system, and for the Fiio X3 into our cottage system, or active speakers, etc. The most serious problem is shifting from these low-volume recordings, to other sources / files. Which is easy to do, for example, with the Teac HR (or Lumin) app, that automatically creates a playlist from what you play. Be *careful* and turn the volume down, before doing this - on you might ruin your speakers! There may be a way to "normalize" the volume level across dsd / pcm / streaming, but I have not seen an easy solution so far. Korg Audiogate seems to be able to turn up the DSD file volume without harming the file, I have not tested much, except to notice that the process takes a long time, for each file.