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USB turntable?

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USB turntable?

Postby aaronetc » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:23 pm

Among the stuff I'd like to replace when I move is my turntable, and specifically I'd like to look into one with USB output. I rarely actually play records, but I have plenty that I'd like to be able to easily MP3ify, and I was never very happy with the line-in quality I got doing it manually. Anyone have any experience with them and/or a recommendation?
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:27 pm

Well a lot of the USB decks are of pretty low quality. Ion for instance. The Alsesis/Numark seem to come from the same factory deep in the heart of China as Ion. Does Audio Technica make one? That would be a slight upgrade. I'm also not sure what advantages there would be to USB vs. just a regular old audio interface to your computer and a decent non-USB deck. If you already had a way to input audio to your computer I wouldn't waste my time with a USB deck. If not though they yeah probably the economical way to go.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby gardibolt » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:08 pm

When I tried doing standard audio connections to my computer I always ended up with unwanted humming or buzzing or other nastiness. USB phono connection did away with that altogether, and I've been very happy with it. I'm using an Ion.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby aaronetc » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:58 pm

I'm assuming the USB setup means that it's getting digitized inside the turntable unit, rather than passed through my $6 Radio Shack cable to my analog line-in connection and digitized in my computer. That ought to cut down on hiss (I assume). Plus, my previous solution was to sit my laptop on top of my receiver and run a line out from the cassette out connections, which was a bit annoying. If I go the USB route I'll just let it live next to my desktop.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby wallrock » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:59 pm

I also ran into a problem with humming when I tried hooking up my old turntable using the standard audio. I've been planning on getting a USB turntable but haven't really weighed out my options, other than looking at some specs on an Ion. A friend also recommended the Stanton T90, but I was under the impression this was more of a DJing turntable.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby pjeisch » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:53 pm

The hum comes from plugging turntable output into your microphone jack. Well, that's what caused it for me at least.

I bought this hardware/software combination and it works like a champ: http://www.dak2000.com/Reviews/2020Story.cfm. The pre-amp output goes to "Line In" instead of the mic jack. No hum. And at about $70 if you have your own turntable, it's a real money saver.

It comes with a very nice software package, including the ability to time recordings and auto-stop. And has a very excellent sound editing software package -- which totally cleaned up the static on a 1950's era jazz LP that needed a good washing to get rid of mold or something.

Worth considering. I'm very happy with my setup.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby dave esmond » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:12 pm

I'd avoid those usb turntables. Do you want your archived LPs to sound good, or just to be easy to get into the computer?

M-Audio makes a decent usb i/o device for about $100. It's also good for playing back the files you record.

Add a phono preamp, old receivers found at Goodwill for $20 often work fine. Or ask around, lot's of people have one in a closet. You can add stuff like RIAA EQ in software, but I've not heard a lot of good things about it. It seems better to do it with a hardware preamp.

Look for a good used turntable with a good cartridge. Again ask around.

I use Audacity to record. It's freeware. It even has some presets to let you do things like record a 78 at 45RPM and then increase the speed to 78. I use ClickRepair to clean up stuff a little bit. I does a REALLY good job on mono recordings in particular.

It's gonna cost some money, but it can be worth it.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:20 pm

What Dave said. No Pre-amp/horrible mic/line input on a computer is going to lead to horrible recordings. I was operating under the assumption that everything was plugged in correctly. Either way most USB tables are EXTREMELY low end (if they sell it at Target it's not good audio equipment). Probably some nicer DJ decks out there with USB I'm sure but for the money a simple audio interface and a nice cartridge is the way to go.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby aaronetc » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:20 pm

dave esmond wrote:Do you want your archived LPs to sound good, or just to be easy to get into the computer?


The latter. :)
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby dave esmond » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:35 am

aaronetc wrote:
dave esmond wrote:Do you want your archived LPs to sound good, or just to be easy to get into the computer?


The latter. :)


In that case an usb turntable might work. Like most things involving computers it never seems to be 100% simple when push comes to shove. It's still gonna take some work and in the end you stand a good chance of the resulting files not being any better then the ones you got using the line-in.

In all seriousness, if all you want is easy and don't care about getting highres files on your computer just take the $250 you'd spend on an usb turntable and buy the music at itunes. It'll be even easier, take less time and might sound better.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby aaronetc » Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:42 am

dave esmond wrote:buy the music at itunes. It'll be even easier, take less time and might sound better.


If that were an option I definitely would, but the stuff I want to digitize is mostly 7" exclusive material or long OOP LPs.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby dave esmond » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:39 pm

aaronetc wrote:If that were an option I definitely would, but the stuff I want to digitize is mostly 7" exclusive material or long OOP LPs.


Are you planning on keeping the records?

If not maybe you can trade them to someone who'll make you digital copies?
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby lukpac » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:12 pm

aaronetc wrote:Among the stuff I'd like to replace when I move is my turntable, and specifically I'd like to look into one with USB output. I rarely actually play records, but I have plenty that I'd like to be able to easily MP3ify, and I was never very happy with the line-in quality I got doing it manually. Anyone have any experience with them and/or a recommendation?


One question I haven't seen raised - what is your turntable/cartridge now? Does it sound pretty good when played through your stereo?

I see you hooked up via the tape out on your receiver, which (assuming your receiver has a phono stage, which I'm assuming it must) is the right way to do it. If the line-in on your laptop isn't up to the task, you could use something like the M-Audio Transit, which is USB:

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Transit.html
http://www.fullcompass.com/product/251153.html

$100 retail, $75 from Full Compass.

I've upgraded just about everything over the past few years, but I was getting good results even with a fairly cheap (old) P-mount turntable and the line-in on a Mac clone.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby aaronetc » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:10 pm

It's a Sony something-or-other but I'd probably replace it either way. It sounds OK but the lid's busted and I always found that the cables were too short to be able put it where I wanted it.
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Re: USB turntable?

Postby lukpac » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:28 pm

aaronetc wrote:It's a Sony something-or-other but I'd probably replace it either way. It sounds OK but the lid's busted and I always found that the cables were too short to be able put it where I wanted it.


Hmm. The cables from a turntable (without a built-in preamp) are short by design. While you can put line level equipment across the room and it will sound fine, the low level of output from cartridges restricts cable length.

Anyway...
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