Tips regarding recording vinyls and other misc instruments

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by grosbide, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. grosbide macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2007
    Hi all,

    I am about to get a macbook pro and wanted to know basically 2 things:

    - I want to transfer, or convert my vinyl collection to digital, or mp3 more precisely.
    (I have a record player, a Sony amplifier with multiple outputs)

    - I also want, (and I am hoping that i can do these 2 things using the same device) to be able to record misc sounds, use microphones, keyboards (midi).

    I am planning to use a software like Logic.

    I there some kind of Box (firewire) that allows me do do all these things?
    I do not have to record all of them at the same time. Perhaps 2 instruments maximum.

    thanks for your input
  2. SigmundFraud macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    I'm a little unclear what your 2 questions are. As for what box, you need a box with 2 line-in inputs, at least 1 mic input (phantom powered if you don't have a mic-pre-amp) and midi in/out. This could be either USB or Firewire. Most musos think Firewire is more reliable than USB and that has been my experience in PC-land where some USB hardware is awful. However, USB 2 seems pretty stable and there is some concern firewire only has about 10 years of support left, if that. There are heaps of USB and Firewire boxes that do these things, from budget to full-on professional. At the budget end I have an Edirol FA-66 which seems fine. Audiophiles say the pre-amps sound "digital" - I haven't noticed and if your just doing MP3s (which sound awful anyway) I don't think this should worry you. I have a friend with a M-audio Firewire 410 which does the same things and he's happy with that.

    Remember, the analogue signal-path is probably where most of the signal degradation will happen; a good-enough turntable with a quality cartridge and pickup is probably where you should think about devoting some cash. A terrible turntable with a budget pickup will sound horrible and might actually damage your vinyl. I have an old second-hand Rotel with an entry-level Ortofon pickup. With this set-up my Vinyl sounds as clear as CD, with the added character of pops, crackles and rumbles. Your Sony amp will colour the output - non-pro Sony components tend to make for bass heavy output, but I don't know whether this is true at the pre-amp stage. You have to decide whether the signal quality from your amp and turntable is to your liking.

    Once captured, you will need to do some digital mastering work. Normalisation will not bring your volume up to typical digital levels. For$US 500, Logic Studio is a good choice because you get a collection of excellent mastering tools, and Sound Track Pro (which I find handier for mastering than Logic itself). Clean up the pops and crackles, then pass it through an adaptive-limitter and you should be able to get CD-like volume (sometimes at the expense of dynamic range). Once you've done this, you can convert to MP3, though I'd really recommend comparing MP3 with Advanced Audio Codec (AAC - apple's preferred format) at equivalent bit-rates. At low bit-rates, AAC sounds like AM radio, MP3 sounds like a snarling vocoder. At higher bit-rates, AAC just isn't as fatiguing as MP3, even if you can't obviously hear the difference. Have fun - in the end I decided it was usually easier just to by the CD or download it (legally, of course).

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