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Old Feb 5, 2005, 04:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: London
Griffin iMic useless for vinyl recording?

I bought the Griffin iMic for the specific reason of encoding my old vinyl 12" singles and albums.

I'm using an iMac G5 1.8Ghtz with Final Vinyl 1.1.2 (latest version at this time).

It was a huge disappointment for seven major reasons:

1) The RIAA curve it applies is way too bass heavy, making the recordings unusable.
2) As an input from another pre-amp, it distorts before you even get a usable signal level.
3) The Final Vinyl software introduced cracks, pops and glitches while monitoring. According to their support site this is a known issue with iBooks (although I'm using an iMac G5). They recommend using a self-powered hub, but I am and there's still drop-outs.
4) The iMic audio specs are advertised as 24bit 48Khtz. However, the support site admits that you can only get 16bit 48Khtz with default OSX drivers. You need to have ASIO drivers to get higher. I found that the standard iMac G5 line in manages 24bit 96Khtz. This disparity is huge and inexcusable. Why should I have to read a support site before making my purchase decision!
5) The supplied Bias Peak LE software installer was corrupt and wouldn't install! (I haven't had this problem with any other cd-rom).
6) The way Final Vinyl manages recording sessions is really unintuitive. I'd delete a session, then next time I record it would come back. An explanation of why this is would be useful.
7) The unit itself is very lightweight with a cheap plastic feel. I would have liked it to be heavier so that my cables didn't pull it off the table.

As a general summary of my experience:

First I tired direct from my turntable and the bass was just ridiculous, then I bought a pre-amp and routed it through the iMic. The sound distorted even at a low level with flat EQ. I had to record directly into Quattro Pro.

I can't recommend this device at all. If it has a problem with the iMac G5 then they need to state this on their website. It was a complete waste of 40!

As a solution, I bought a pre-amp from Maplin (30) and plugged it straight into the iMac line in (with high quality cables). The sound quality I achieved was excellent, with very little background noise. Also, the EQ from the vinyl was very balanced with the tracks nice and loud, so ideal for encoding my collection.

If I'm wrong about this please tell me why!
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Old Feb 7, 2005, 12:22 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago (by way of SF)
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I won't say you're wrong -- but I will say that I use the device differently than you and am happy with the results.

The first time I used it to transfer vinyl to digital I had a line level issue -- but this was quickly fixed through the sound preferences control panel.

Then, I use none of the software you mentioned. I've used Premiere, Garageband, CD SpinDoctor, FCX to successfully capture audio. My only disappointment is that the OSX version of CD SpinDoctor is vastly inferior to the old OS9 version.

I will also mention that my original iMic was defective. The support people did a good job working with me, but in the end they had to send me a new unit.

I don't know if I would "highly" recommend the product, but it was worked for me (I've transferred about 200 LPs CD.)

By the way, you simply can not go "direct" from turntable to computer, you must have an amplifier of some sort. I bought a cheap Radio Shack amp that has worked just fine. Then you use RCA jacks to mini from the "tape out" port to the iMic and then usb to your computer. Because it is an amplified line, sound adjustments within the computer are vital. My old PM 8600 came audio RCA jacks in and out and I never needed to adjust the volume. But I lowered the volume on my Powerbook to get optimum volume for recording.

Last edited by numediaman; Feb 7, 2005 at 12:29 PM.
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