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How To Rip Vinyl

post #1 of 12
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How To Rip Vinyl Guide


This guide is will outline and explan how to record/rip vinyl to wav format for archieving and use on digital vinyl systems

I will focus on the use of internal soundblaster sound cards in this guide as they are the most common though Im sure any sound card with the appropriate inputs would work


Computer Equipment Needed
Any recent soundblaster which has a (blue) line input
soundlaster live / audigy / x-fi
Pentium III or above
(seriously you can use a computer from y2k, audio caputre is not intense at all)


Stereo Equipment Needed
RCA to 3.5mm headphone lead
Record player
(I highly recommend a technics 12x0 mk2/3/4/5/or6, there all broadly the same)
A cartridge and stylus
Since most All of my vinyl is dance music, a good choice would be stanton 500 becuase most dance records were mastered using these and they were the most common. Personally I used a shrue M44-7 becuase I had them at hand. Stanton 680 and ortofon carts are all better, if you can afford them use them
A phono pre amp
(dj mixer, integrated or pre amplifier, seperate phono stage, av receiver)


Software Needed
Windows
9x/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7
Linux
can also be used but I will focus on Windows
Creative Wavestudio
(older versions of windows)
NCH WavePad
(newer versions of windows)

There are many other audio recording programs, but I will focus on these two. If there is a program you already use and are familiar with it then by all means use it and use this guide as a template


Why You Need A Phono Pre Amp

First we have to understand the 2 types of audio amplifer, pre amp and power amp.
Consider this equation p=vi
that is power = voltage multiplied by current
the pre amp multiplies the voltage, and the power amp multiplies the current

The audio from the record player comes from the stylus. The voltage of the stylus is very low, lower than a normal line output device such as a cd player.
It is becuase of this we need a an additional volatage amplifer or phono stage. Most DJ mixers have a phono input


Set Up

For A DJ Mixer

Connect the turntable rca connecters into one of the mixers phono inputs.
Connect the turntable ground lead to the ground post
Connect a rca-phono lead from the mixers REC output to the blue LINE IN on the soundcard (if the mixer does not have a rec out, use the Master or MAIN out.)
I like to use the rec out where available becuase the output level is constant and not effected by the master volume control

For a dosmestic integrated or pre amplifier
Most Japanese integrated and pre amps have a smiliar layout and most importantly feature a "tape loop". A tape loop has an input for a tape recorder and a seperate output which connects to the tape recorders rec in.
Connect the turntable rca and ground lead connecters to the phono stage on the amplifer
Connect a rca-phono lead from the amplifers tape out output to the blue LINE IN on the soundcard

Setting Up The Turntable
Set up the record player on a stable platform, away from any vibration, aviod playing it on the same desk as your keyboard
Now the you need to set up the stylus and tonearm, this requires its own guide, of which there are many online, and I have linked one below


Levels

Now its time to adjust the levels.

For mixers
Set all eq's flat (in the middle)
Turn the channel gain or trim to 0
Set the channel (line) faderto 0 (all the way down)
Play a record
Turn the gain or trim to half way
Slowly adjust the line fader until the music is loud, clear but not distorted, check headphones for a clean sound and the see if the led's in the mixer are staying just below red

For a dosmestic integrated or pre amplifier
Play a record
Turn the gain or trim to half way
Slowly adjust the line fader until the music is loud, clear but not distorted, if there is a headphone output check it for a clean sound and the check led's or VU's on the cover are staying just below maximum level


Software Setup & Recording

I will focus on Windows 7, Wavepad and a Creative Audigy 4 for this section

Install the hardware and drivers.
Open control panel
Select sound
Select the recording tab
Right click and disable all except Analog Mix
Right clcik Analog Mix and set it as the default
Double click on Analog Mix and open the Listen tab
Open the Custom tab uncheck Record Without Monitoring
Open the Levels tab and move the slider to around 70%
Open the Advanced tab check allow applications to take exclusive control of this device

Install Wavepad
Press the record button
Select a sample rate of 44000 and stereo
When the Record Control window pops up set the device Analog Mix
Set the pitch to zero and check if the large dots on the plater are stationary nder the strobe light
Start playing the record and check to see the levels in the software
If you are hearing music start a recording and levels are below red, start recording, otherwise adjust the levels on the mixer or software
Use a record with loud and quiet parts and when recorded stop the recording
You should see a waveform
On the bottom of the waveform window there are 4 buttons, select the button marked display dual left right channels. You should now see 2 seperate waveforms, one for left (top) and the other for right (bottom)
The waveform should have large and small parts and no spikes. If there are alot of spikes it is most likely a poping sound caused by ingrained or surfuce dirt on the grooves and is alievated by cleaning
The waveforms should be roughly euqal to each other in size. If not adjust any balance controls, check the cartridge is level with the record and see if the effect is repeated on another record. If it is then the stylus or tonearm could be damaged, if not then the record is probably recorded or worn that way

If you want a steady level between all tracks, select effect and normalise, set the normalize peak level to 75%


Monitoring

All should be well but as a precaution do this
Start recording
Place the stylus on the record and gently knock the table where the turntable is placed
Take a note of the leds on the mixer, sound levels on screen. Listen to the output to see if any knocking noise is being produced, and if any noises are maxing out on the recorded wav file.
If the noise is obvious, try to isolate the turntable or try a different desk
Rumbling and knocking sounds may not be obivous when recording, but are amplified on a stereo or house system


Catalouging Your Recordings

Almost all records, even bootlegs have a catalouge number with can be found etched into the record between the record label and the recording.
Include this number in the file name or in a txt file so if the record gets damaged, you can easily find a replacement.
Make two copies of the file, one for safe keeping and the other for any edits you want to do


Things To Watchout For

rumble, knocks on the table, dirty records
The output of vinyl depends greatly on the quality of stylus used, make sure it is clean, in good condition and set up correctly
Recording records can take along time, theres no 24X drive high speed rip, be paitent
DACs work by joining up samples to create a waveform. If the samples are too close to the max level than the resulting waveform will be distored and sound bad. Keep peak audio levels well below the maximum


Notes On Equipment

A technics turntable can be found second hand for a reasonable price. They hold their value well and can be sold for what you brought it for if taken care of. You will need a slip or grip matt but that should be provided with the turntable. If it isnt, one can be brought quite cheaply.

Cartridges and stylus are expensive and I would recommend buying new becuase you can measure how much wear they have had. A bad stylus wil ruin a record some make sure they are in good shape and avoid conterfiet products by buying from a trusted seller.
Use a brand new stylus on an old record a few times to break it in and follow any special instuctions included with it

A mixer with good sound quailty can cost abit if buying new so second hand is advised. Check the faders for crackle or sound drop outs and replace if needed.

Integrated amplifiers are abundent and any with the appropriate connectors will do, even one made 30 years ago. You can also use an av receiver instead.

Soundblaster soundcards can be found online for cheap as can rca to headphone leads.


Recording Tape or Cassettes

You can follow this guide to record tapes and cassettes. You do not need a phono stage as the playback device should be line level already. You can connect the output directly to the sound card line input and all sould be well.



The following headings were added following the suggestion from Manyak.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Crag for his input on the formatting.



notes on older equipment, riaa curve

Riaa equalisation curve has been included in preamps for several decades now, but some very old equipment may not included it. There purpose of the curve is a form of compression since it is difficult to record high frequencies on vinyl. The equalisation curve boosts the high frequency of recordings meaning the record only has to record a quiet high frequency signal. Without riaa equalisation the records will sound lifeless.


cleaning records

I personally use a brush to clean my records though there are other methods available.
There are many guides online about this and since it would take a guide of its own, I've taken the easy way out an included links below.

Some suggest letting the stylus do the cleaning, meaning brushes and such can leave ingrain dirt. This is true but a real clean is very time consuming.

Dirty records can sound like rice crispies, lack in high frequencies and overall sound muffled. Worn-out records can also display these characteristics, but they do not go away with cleaning.


File Formats

Whe1n saving files I strongly recommend saving them uncompressed, preferable as wav files since it’s a very widely used format and reliable.
Uncompressed flac is another good choice.
Edited by lollingtonbear - 7/24/11 at 6:52am
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post #2 of 12
Wow, very informative.

I'm no audiophile but I know my bitrates. If I ever need to rip a vinyl, I'll come looking for this.

+1
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post #3 of 12
amazing work , but if do more coloring it would be more clear to read since it has alot of important points

any way thanks man , really great infos.
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post #4 of 12
Nice guide, doesn't seem to be plagiarized. +rep
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post #5 of 12
Very nice write-up; +rep
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post #6 of 12
maybe if you change the title to How To Rip Vinyl (Guide)(Steps)or any thing so people know that you are not asking about this so they might not even try to see it

i appreciate your work
    
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crag View Post
maybe if you change the title to How To Rip Vinyl (Guide)(Steps)or any thing so people know that you are not asking about this so they might not even try to see it

i appreciate your work
Thanks for the input, I made the alterations.
Theres a few things I left out but when I have a chance will make include a 9x and XP guide, and pictures on how to set up.
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post #8 of 12
1+ Rep. I always wanted to know this stuff.
post #9 of 12
Or you can take the shortcut with USB turntable.
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by R3d T34rz View Post
Or you can take the shortcut with USB turntable.
usb record players are of such low build quality they will pick up any and all vibrations which will be very noticeable on the final recording.

Some can are badly grounded and have a constant hum, and worst of all most are belt driven and cannot hold a steady speed.
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