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Thread: Ripping Vinyl

  1. #1

    Ripping Vinyl

    I decided to add a digital version of my entire LP collection to my Roon/Qobuz library. Using Roon, I have tagged the digital version of each album available in Qobuz so now I can easily play the "album" without getting up from my chair. Very convenient actually! In the process of tagging my albums, I have found that there are about 25 albums from my LP collection that are not available in Qobuz. I am thinking of converting those 25 albums to digital. Several of those albums are very old with terrible surface noise plus clicks and pops everywhere.

    Many years ago I converted my cassette collection to digital. I connected my cassette deck to an ADC via RCA and then connected the ADC to my computer via USB. I used Audacity to manipulate the digital files and to perform cleaning and noise removal. The transfer came out great, but of course it was not a high-resolution transfer given the quality of my cassettes. Looking at videos in YouTube, it looks as if Audacity is still the way to go.

    I may even try to rip my best quality LPs (45RPM, 180g, $$$$) and then compare how the ripped digital versions sound compared to the originals. I would need to explore which ADC to use for that. It has been so long since I did the cassettes that I am sure that there are much better ADC options available today.

    Anyone here has done analog to digital ripping lately? Which ADC did you use?

  2. #2
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Cool. Iíve wanted to try the Sweet Vinyl products.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    I think there are two routes you could go here: a casual less expensive USB audio interface or a moderately-priced to expensive higher quality professional audio interface (still USB). The most popular inexpensive interface is probably the Focusrite Scarlett line at a few hundred dollars. The professional interfaces are going to start around $1500. If you go with a pro interface, you will probably want to try and match the sound character of the brand/model to the sound character you are aiming for.

    Also, Audacity is free with a lot of functionality and therefore very popular, but you might find one of the commercial offerings more useful depending on what you're trying to do. Although since you already did what you wanted to before in Audacity, that's probably not a concern.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    I use a Tascam DR-22WL (currently selling for $85 on Amazon) connected to my preamp output to record from vinyl. This is a handheld recorder with wireless connectivity, but the wireless capability is not really required. Just make the recording then plug a USB cable into the computer from the DR-22WL to transfer the file (faster than wireless). I then use Audacity to process the recording to separate tracks, remove pops, etc.

    The sound quality of my recordings (I store them as FLAC files) is good, I would say about 95% as good as playing the record. Good enough that there is little point in getting the record out and playing it vs just listening to the FLAC file.

    One thing to be aware of with the DR-22WL is that it will not handle a full line level input, I have to set the record level to 40 and set my preamp volume also to 40 (out of 100 max) for best results. Something like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 would be able to handle a true line level signal such as from a preamp tape out or even straight out of the CD player.

  5. #5

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Thanks guys! The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 looks really capable and reasonably priced for what I need. Thanks!!

  6. #6

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Cool. Iíve wanted to try the Sweet Vinyl products.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Never heard of Sweet Vinyl before. Just looked it up online (several YouTube videos). Very impressive product! I am surprised that such a device does not get more press. Thanks for the info!

  7. #7

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    I ordered the Focusrite but then got a notice that it was backordered for about a week. That forced me to do a bit more research and discovered that my computer came with a high-definition audio card that does ADC at 24/192. So I decided to give that a try.

    Let me start by saying that this is a time-consuming process. After making sure that the volume levels can handle the peaks without distortion, I "recorded" the entire album. Then I fixed that 'raw' recording by eliminating surface noise (noise reduction), reducing/eliminating clicks (click removal), and filtering away unwanted low frequencies. It took me nearly 2-1/2 hours to do just one album. I am sure that with practice and a better workflow I can do much better, but still thats a lot of time. BTW, there are several YouTube videos that will guide you through the entire process.

    Audacity lets you label and save each track (I saved all my tracks to Flac), but it does not allow you to add the album art (you need another software for that).

    I added the ripped album to my NAS. Roon recognized it and automatically added it to my library. That's all good.

    But I just listened to a couple of tracks and I am not pleased with the result. I wonder if in the process of "'fixing" the music I removed important information from the file; or maybe it is a deficiency of the audio card. Unfortunately, I never saved the "raw" wav file so I can't compare. While I wait for the Focusrite, I am going to re-record the album and this time I will save the wav file to compare it to the LP. Then I can determine if it is worth continuing on this effort or if I just need to wait for the Focusrite to arrive and then give digitizing LP another try.

    Update: I re-ripped one side and saved the wav file. The result still lacks dynamics. So the computer audio card is a no-go for me. In fact, there is a low level noise even when when no music is being played that must be coming from the card itself. Will have to wait for the Focusrite to arrive to give it another try.

  8. #8
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    You might want to save intermediate files as well, to hear the differences before-and-after each step you go through. That might help you better narrow down what steps are having what impact on the sound.
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  9. #9

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Quote Originally Posted by NekoAudio View Post
    You might want to save intermediate files as well, to hear the differences before-and-after each step you go through. That might help you better narrow down what steps are having what impact on the sound.
    Thatís a great idea. Thanks!!

  10. #10

    Ripping Vinyl

    The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 arrived and is now up and running. This is a truly plug-and-play unit. A quick test showed that the low level noise is gone and confirmed that my computer audio card was the culprit.

    I just ripped one album to get a hang of how to go about the process of developing a workflow and learn some do's and don't. A few comments/observations:
    - Do use a good headset to assist with the process
    - Do clean the LP and needle the BEST you can before you rip
    - Save your project at different stages of correction/repair (Thanks Neko Audio!). That helped me identify which procedures/repairs may have to do redone. One can always go back to the "raw" file or previous step.
    - Be careful on how much "fixing" you do to an old record. I went too far using the Noise Removal tool only to find out when listening at normal level that it affected the audio sound.
    - The Click Removal tool works great. I have only used it where there are very noticeable (and visible) clicks as opposed to the entire album.


    My wife and I spent some time comparing the LP, the raw ripped file, and a ripped file with Noise Repair, Click Removal, and Normalization applied. The raw ripped file and the LP sound the same. The repaired file did not sound as engaging. My conclusion is that I went too far with the Noise Removal. I now plan to do Click Removal to the raw file and call it done.

    Next I am going to rip several of my well-cared for 45RPM, 180 grams albums and see what happens. I am thinking that these albums should not need any repair which will make the process less time consuming.

  11. #11

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Ripping vinyl works perfectly fine. The digital version captures the characteristic sound of the LP including the clicks/noises that we are so familiar with! When done right, I cannot tell a difference between the two.

    That said, ripping is a time consuming operation. Given how little I play my LPs these days and the fact that my record collection is not archivable quality or material, I have decided not to bother with ripping. Ninety nine percent of the physical albums that I care about are available from streaming services. I can always get up my chair and play the records if I care to.

    As an additional experiment, I might explore converting the analog signal to digital in real-time and adding DSP filters. I need to read up on that. That will be material for another thread. Thanks guys!!

  12. #12
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Itís probably been said, but I wish the streaming services would post the source from how the file was recorded. I realize there are probably next to zero from vinyl, but Iím sure there are many recorded from analog master sources, and that were its fun to A/B to hear how close they can get under critical listening levels as dorky as that may sound.


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  13. #13

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Quote Originally Posted by UltraFast69 View Post
    Itís probably been said, but I wish the streaming services would post the source from how the file was recorded. I realize there are probably next to zero from vinyl, but Iím sure there are many recorded from analog master sources, and that were its fun to A/B to hear how close they can get under critical listening levels as dorky as that may sound.

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    I have a feeling that the record companies themselves often try to keep that information from the public. Albums recorded prior to 1970 were done on analog tape masters. I am guessing that somewhere between 1980 and 2000 analog tape recordings were phased out. I am not even sure if anyone still does analog masters these days.

    I have run into very few obscure albums in Tidal/Qobuz that were definitely recorded from a vinyl pressing (with clicks and all).

  14. #14
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    If you have 30$ to add to you workflow, I would suggest trying Vinyl Studio instead of Audacity. It is more convenient than Audacity, it keeps a raw copy of your rip, It has a very good click removal and It has Discogs metadata to make the process so much faster.

    For anyone ripping vinyl, it is a no brainer.

    Enjoy!

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  15. #15

    Ripping Vinyl

    One discovery that I made is that an expensive LP (200g, 45 RPM, Analog Recording) contains several tracks with significant clipping in one of the channels. The album contains "takes" which had never been released before. Reading the back of the LP I now realize that these takes were heading for the trash bin before someone decided to release them. I am sure that there is historical interest for some, but certainly it is not what I was expecting.

  16. #16
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    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    Quote Originally Posted by nicoff View Post
    One discovery that I made is that an expensive LP (200g, 45 RPM, Analog Recording) contains several tracks with significant clipping in one of the channels. The album contains "takes" which had never been released before. Reading the back of the LP I now realize that these takes were heading for the trash bin before someone decided to release them. I am sure that there is historical interest for some, but certainly it is not what I was expecting.
    Yikes!


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  17. #17

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    I ended up ripping only 8 albums from my entire LP collection. Yet, more than likely I will never stream those ripped LPs as I rather play the real LPs.

    I was surprised how much groove noise there was in several audiophile LPs. (These are LPs that had not been played all that much).

    My affinity with LPs has more to do with growing up with them. Yes, I enjoy the whole ritual. But just for sound, if I were starting from zero today and was looking for best bang for the buck, I would go digital all the way.

    Money no object, a few top of the line turntables are pieces of art. I can go for that too. They look amazing.

  18. #18

    Re: Ripping Vinyl

    I periodically record LPs and reels to digital when people request it.

    I use a Tascam DA-3000 for the A>D conversion and recording. Here is my work flow:

    1 - Record using DA-3000 at DSD resolution
    2 - Convert from DSD to high resolution PCM using Korg AudioGate
    3 - Edit (eliminate DC offset, trim beginning and end of recording, create tracks) in Adobe Audition
    4 - Tag files in Tag&Rename
    5 - Create md5 fingerprint file in Trader's Little Helper
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Ripping Vinyl

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