I know, this is not a new question and probably there isn’t just one answer to it.
I’m about to digitize my vinyl collection and therefore I want to invest in a decent MM preamp plus A/D converter. NAD PP4 would deliver 16Bit, 44.1 kHz while an ADL GT40a would deliver a 24Bit 192kHz signal. NAD runs $250, ADL $499… Is it worth it?
I’ve read this article (roughly) and watched the accompanied video. Well, it makes sense to me but then again, why are there so many high res audio products in the market then?
In order to balance things, here a video by Hans Beekhuyzen, claiming 192kHz is well worth it…
So now I’m confused… What do you think?
What’s certain is that if you rip at 44kHz you’ll realise later it was a mistake and have to rip it all again.
so you DO think more kHz is better? in every aspect?
That ADL GT40a unit will digitize at a number of resolutions up to 192.
Looks like you have a plan. I would suggest that you take your best sounding LP - one which you are very familiar - and try converting the different resolutions: 44.1, 88.2, 176, 192. Then listen to each. Your ears will tell you if the highest resolutions are worth it in terms of file size, etc. This is important because one of your goals may be to be able to load the digital versions onto your personal player/phone where space can be limited.
Hi-Res is a subject of sometimes intense debate. But there is no question that having your music with you - without having to purchase it again - is a great convenience.
thanks for your advise! Maybe it’s the right thing to do, to form my own personal opinion about this rather technical stuff… My only concern are these extra $250…
If you’re able to do the test, get a helper to rename the files removing the sample rate and calling them A, B, C etc. And get them to keep the key a secret. Once you’ve finished listening to them and ranked them according to sound quality preference, then ask for the key to reveal which is which.
Never done it myself but I’d be really interested in the results.
Elsewhere I read a discussion of ripping vinyl 96khz vs DSD. Like everything in audio, some swear 96 is well beyond the bandwith capabilities of vinyl, others that you can tell the difference (better) with DSD. I’m glad I don’t have any vinyl - I found ripping CDs torturous and the sample rate there is obvious!
Good luck anyway!
My recent understanding is bit size is more important then resolution size in the scheme of things.
Maybe someone else more knowledgeable on the subject could chime in.
yeah, ripping my CDs was a pain already and I’m a bit afraid of doing it again, this time with vinyl (much more time consuming, I fear)… But since I’m using roon I noticed that my vinyls start collecting dust and that would be a pitty, really.
@seaharp1 is right. I assumed that you’ll be ripping at 24 bits.
24Bits would be possible with the ADL GT40a, yes. Maybe there are other devices that I’m not aware of?
The PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter seems to be very decent but that’s way too much cash for the task. Even though it seems to be discontinued and retails for $999 instead of its orignial $1,899 price tag…
Looks like you’re on the continuum.
I like the PS Audio Phono Converter too and it would be the first thing I would look at seriously if I hadn’t already duplicated most of my vinyl with CDs and/or digital downloads.
There are other devices so take your time and enjoy the shopping experience. There are now turntables that will do this. On the other hand, winter is coming and ripping vinyl (which involves listening) sounds like a nice indoor project.
and that’s the whole point, right? Listening to music.
Sounds like a great fun project but I’d only plan to rip the rarities that are not easily available.
Great digital files are available for everything else at much less cost. I Tour charity shops etc and buy all the music I could never afford for £1.00 and less.
A slow process but full of surprises. Tidal fills the gap in the meantime.
I do have some unobtainable vinyl (not many) that I’d love to rip. A cheap stab at it sounds amazing so doing it well will sound even better.
To sum up, spend time and money on the rarities and enjoy the whole process of re discovering your vinyl collection.
Good point, thanks! Looks like a decent phono preamp with A/D converter makes a lot of sense in my case.
Silly question but do people rip vinyl for convenience to play their music on portable devices or is there a benefit in a vinyl rip in sound quality compared to playing a CD or hi-rez file?
For me it was a little bit of both actually. I wanted the convenience of playing these albums, but mainly because I could not find the CD version let alone a High Res version of the album.
yeah, I’d like to play everything through roon and therefore I need stuff digital. But nonetheless, I’ll keep my record player for sure and the records as well, that’s for sure!
Right now I have the feeling that I haven’t listen to many of my records for a long time… So maybe I can reconnect to them through the digital domain… We’ll see.
In terms of sound quality I don’t really know. But I think I need to clean these records in order to get a decent digital file so that alone will improve sound quality, both digital and analogue
FWIW - I ripped a few bits of vinyl a year or so back. Mainly 12" singles and mixes from “back in the day” that I don’t have on CD or download. There were also some amazing 1950 and 60’s jazz and crooner music that sounds fantastic. I used basic software and a USB dongle of some sort (can’t remember what brand but not expensive). Results were perfect. The digital rips (96/24 IIRC) sounded exactly like the vinyl. You just couldn’t tell which was which. All pops, clicks, ticks etc all present in the digital file and the “sound” of the deck was there too. Rega Planar3 …nothing special.
You need a bit of file mngt software (e.g. Audacity) to chop up the single file you get from each side ripped. Leaving it as just Side A and B flac’s is just like the vinyl you can argue but a PITA from user experience. Split into tracks and name/tag etc. A bit of a labour of love but worth it for what you don’t have elsewhere.
Recording vinyl is a very time consuming process, getting the recording levels correct is obviously very important. The kit I used was not high end stuff. I would suggest that the kit you use should help you to decide what bit depth and sample rate you choose. I do not think I would have gone above 16/44.1 even if I had used a Linn LP12 (or better). NB that is my opinion, and as others have pointed out it can be a pain if you want higher bit/sample rates later on.
The results sound fine for me. The recordings have the same sonic signature as when playing the vinyl. I do not believe the pre-amp or ADC colored the sound any further than had already happened with the TT and MM cartridge that I used. I recorded my collection Spring to Autumn 2013, 2 or 3 albums a day. I chopped the files up into individual track flac files and tagged them.
Sansui SR222 Turntable with Goldring Epic MM cartridge
Rotel RC-960BX pre-amp
Realtek HD Audio (on board sound card ALC888S)
When doing a subjective comparison between the vinyl and the recorded digital file, the file should be played back through the normal listening system. If that procedure is followed the only diffrence between playing back the original vinyl and the recording is that the recording has been through the pre-amp one extra time along with a trip through the ADC and then DAC. I could not discern any difference.
As others have suggested I would experiment with a couple of tracks first to see what satisfies you. The beauty is that most people can try this without spending any money at all. Do I regret having used the Realtek on board sound card or any of the rest of the mid-fi products? Answer no not at all. Others may disagree.
Here are some things that I found annoying :-
Clicks and pops which were mildly annoying when listening to vinyl became extremely annoying when replaying the digitised flac file. I think this is because the imperfection will be repeated perfectly identically each time the flac is played. I did use Audacity’s ‘click and pop’ removal feature to some extent but then the time spent on each album escalates exponentially and the click removal is a bit hit a miss.
After setting the recording levels, the ‘next’ album may have a loud passage in an unexpected place, and clip the recording. Worse still if you do not monitor the meters as you record, you may only find the ‘clipping’ after the recording has ended. Luckily Audacity lets you know that there are clipped passages. Oh well re-record that side of the album.
I have not tried this, but I like the idea of creating a digital archive of exactly what’s in the grooves by using a flat preamp instead of a phono stage that applies RIAA EQ. You can then apply RIAA EQ later in the digital domain using more sophisticated filters. Here’s an article that covers this: http://www.tracertek.com/cms-display/newway.html
The folks at CHANNEL D discuss this sort of thing as well: http://www.channld.com/purevinyl/
Once you have your digital archive created (I’d use 24-bits but might not bother sampling above 96kHz), you can either apply RIAA EQ digitally on-the-fly or create a second copy of the files with that EQ baked in. The nice things about this approach is that if you later find a better way to apply RIAA EQ, you’ll still have that archival master copy with no EQ to go back to.