Archiving vinyl/tape

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
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www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#1
So much has been said about vinyl lately I thought I'd start a thread on archiving vinyl and old tapes.

There is another thread asking what IS the samplerate/bit-depth of vinyl. Well my take is anything you want it to be. I say that because one size does not fit all. Why record your vinyl at 24/88.2 if your DAC only does 96k? I'm a firm believer that every DAC (and ADC) has a sweet spot. No converters do all samplerates well. if they did, they would have 2 seperate systems for 44.1 and 48k integers. Or they could just upsample everything to 10M! Also you will need to figure out how you will capture this signal, hardware of software.
Chosing the correct A-D can be frustrating at best. Let's start with the easiest question. What are you going to use to spin your vinyl? Is your turntable the best it can be? if it is, then the next step is how do you listen to your turntable. Do you use an external phono pre or do you plug it into your Integrated amp or Receiver that has and internal phono pre?
If you use an external phono pre, does it have RCA or XLR output? This will determine what A-D is right for you.
I'll start with something simple. Use a standalone recorder with it's own A-D converter. Korg makes 3 excellent recorders, the MR-2, MR-1000 and the MR-2000s. Each of these has internal hard drives and each can accept RCA or XLR input. Another choice would be an Alesis Masterlink. These also have internal hard drives and facilities for RCA and XLR input. You can get them pretty cheap now on eBay and such. There are still cheaper units by Tascam and others that will work as well. How much time and effort you want to invest will be the deciding factor.
Now lets get more complex. An A-D converter going into a computer. So much has been said about DACs, let's use that logic the other way around. You can get converters that interface by USB, Firewire, AES/EBU, MADI..etc. Just plug the analog in and get digital out to your computer. Reverse logic.
Some of the good solid A-D converters for not a lot of money are by Beringher, Tascam, Apogee and Benchmark. These converters are less that a grand (i think) and will do a very commendable job. Once you have mastered the vinyl/tape archive process, I know you'll get the itch to extract even more information from those grooves. The sky is the limit. Even the Burmester phono pre has a built-in A-D so you can plug it in directly to your computer. You're looking at $25k though! Too lofty for most of us.

I'll follow up later with more A-D choices and get into software as we go.
 
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garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#2
Bruce,

Thanks for starting this. I'm already archiving my vinyl to digital, but I'm sure I'll learn from your experience.

Just a note on the Burmester Ph100 - the USB output is only 24/48. So, even though it's $25k, I wouldn't use it for directly connecting to a computer. It's got AES/EBU output to 24/192 though. An ADC that I'm currently using that is surprisingly good is the Emu 0404 USB. I was quite shocked when I compared an album I did with that and my FM122 phono stage and compared it to the Burmester. It was extremely difficult for me to tell the two apart.
 
May 30, 2010
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#4
(...) I was quite shocked when I compared an album I did with that and my FM122 phono stage and compared it to the Burmester. It was extremely difficult for me to tell the two apart.
Does it mean you are needing a FM 222? :rolleyes:
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#5
But the Burmester is eye candy Gary. :)
Totally agree! The FM122 is nothing to look at, the Burmester is lust-worthy. At the base configuration of the Burmester, they are the same price - and for me at least the Burmester sounds better, but doesn't have selectable capacitance loading for MC's and doesn't have selectable resistance loading for MM's.
 

carolkoh

[Industry Expert] Member Sponsor
#6
But the Burmester is eye candy Gary. :)
It is *VERY* pretty and from this woman's point of view... it also doesn't show finger prints! Although I haven't tried with greasy fingers or little mucky kiddy fingers - Gary's kids know better.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#7
Totally agree! The FM122 is nothing to look at, the Burmester is lust-worthy. At the base configuration of the Burmester, they are the same price - and for me at least the Burmester sounds better, but doesn't have selectable capacitance loading for MC's and doesn't have selectable resistance loading for MM's.
Gary-You meant this the other way around didn't you? Selectable resistance for MC and selectable capacitance for MM.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,429
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Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#8
Gary-You meant this the other way around didn't you? Selectable resistance for MC and selectable capacitance for MM.
No - the Burmester has remote-selectable resistance loading for MC's and fixed capacitance loading. It also has also selectable capacitance loading for MM's but fixed at 47k Ohms. For a top-level phono preamp, it should have both like the FM Acoustics.
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,732
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Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#10
Here is an out of focus photo of my vinyl/tape archival rig. This is a Toshiba Tecra business laptop running XP and Sonoma DSD. The black box under it is a 2-slot MAGMA chasis with the Sonoma PCI card and (2) 2TB HD in a RAID 1 array. This is connected via Express slot34 card.
The DAC is the Playback Designs MPS-5 connected via ST-optical. The A-D (out of picture) is the EMM Labs ADC8VI.
This is what I call the ultimate archival rig.
 

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cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,252
69
48
Pleasanton, CA
#11
That's a fabulous setup. Now you just have to pick your final turntable, arm, cartridge and phono stage.

Every time I changed something in my vinyl rig, different cartridge etc. I would think, "Hey, do I have to go and re-record the records again?" It never ends.

There were some inexpensive portable DSD recorders on ebay a year or two ao that I thought would be ideal for computer archiving, but never tried one.
 
May 30, 2010
15,086
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Portugal
#12
That's a fabulous setup. Now you just have to pick your final turntable, arm, cartridge and phono stage.

Every time I changed something in my vinyl rig, different cartridge etc. I would think, "Hey, do I have to go and re-record the records again?" It never ends.

(...)
Unless you get an SME30/12 with a SME V-12 you risk upgrades almost every year! :cool:
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,252
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48
Pleasanton, CA
#14
Unless you get an SME30/12 with a SME V-12 you risk upgrades almost every year! :cool:
I have an SME 30 second generation with a 10 inch Da Vinci Grandezza shoehorned in. The Da Vinci is a MUCH better tone arm than the SME IV-VI I had previously. The SME 30/12 is a weightier, longer and stiffer, which I am quite sure serves to good audible purposes. However, I am completely happy with the standard SME 30 and have no desire to upgrade. (Did I really say that? Nobody will take me seriously anymore without evidence of nervosa dementia.)

That is an enviable EMT classic, Bruce, in what looks like perfect condition.
 
Feb 20, 2015
61
1
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Cheltenham, UK
#16
Bruce,

How about a Prism Sound Lyra 2? I was told that Prism Sound make some fantastic sounding A2D converters.

Thanks

Charlie
 
Likes: Bruce B

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,732
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63
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#17
Bruce,

How about a Prism Sound Lyra 2? I was told that Prism Sound make some fantastic sounding A2D converters.
Charlie
I really like Prism gear. Back in the day, I had the Prism ADA-8XR.. sounded amazing....
 
Likes: topoxforddoc
Feb 20, 2015
61
1
8
Cheltenham, UK
#18

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