Author Topic: How to needledrop?  (Read 14376 times)

Offline Rotten Johnny

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2013, 09:24:20 PM »
and if you're deciding on hardware I've got one of these http://www.soundz.co.za/pMFASTTRACKMKII/M-Audio-FASTTRACK-MKII-USB-Audio-Interface-SPECIAL.aspx I'd consider letting go.
I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things -- Tom Waits

Free your mind...and your ass will follow.

Offline huntsman

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2013, 09:53:58 PM »
Let me shed some light on motivation here, as this might help you guys know where to direct me:

A couple of years back, a collector with a modest collection of vinyl moved to the coast and was unable to take his records with him, due to lack of space. Being a close friend and knowing I couldn't buy the albums, he gave them all to me, though I'm sure with a heavy heart.

His space situation hasn't changed, but I have always intended to replace the albums albeit digitally, and have bought a VPI RCM for this purpose. Now that the albums are being cleaned I would like to learn how to create the best possible (with my wallet fairly undamaged) result.

I have heard terms like FLAC, lossless and more but am a total beginner...hence this thread. Hope all becomes less murky as you understand my motivation and what I am trying to achieve...  :thinking:

Offline mahleu

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Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2013, 10:11:02 PM »
I'm not sure how they fair in the quality stakes but some phono stages have a usb port in addition to the normal rca's. May be a cheap/decent option?

I had a Project Phonobox V (I think) that had usb but I never actually tried running it into my computer.
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Offline Hi-Phibian

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How to needledrop?
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2013, 10:48:21 PM »
I'm not sure how they fair in the quality stakes but some phono stages have a usb port in addition to the normal rca's. May be a cheap/decent option?

I had a Project Phonobox V (I think) that had usb but I never actually tried running it into my computer.

It would IMO  beat the current set up and yes, fair to decent turntable and a Pro-ject NAD or Rega USB phono unit is a viable "low" cost option that can give good results. For less money there is a Behringer unit which though not quite there is ok.
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Offline WD

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2013, 11:15:34 PM »


I have heard terms like FLAC, lossless and more but am a total beginner...hence this thread. Hope all becomes less murky as you understand my motivation and what I am trying to achieve...  :thinking:

Decide what you want the end product to be. If it is going to be burned to CD's then all you need to do is capture (digitally record) the two lp sides as wav files, split into tracks, name the tracks, optimise the volume, de-click and de-noise if neccesary (using filters and plug-ins) and when you're happy, write it to CD. If you want to be fancy you can also scan and print album art and sleeve notes to print CD covers.

If the end product is going to be played from a computer or media player then you can use space saving compression -  either lossy MP3 compression or lossless Flac if the media player supports it. All this involves is an additional  step to the above - running it through a free software encoder for flacs or MP3.

Take it one step at a time and it is very easy... but be warned, doing more than a few lp's is extremely time consuming and tedious!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 11:40:48 PM by WaterHond »

Offline Rotten Johnny

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2013, 11:35:32 PM »
If you're going to needledrop many albums, you should do so as you play them, otherwise it's going to drive you nuts.  Send me a pm and I'll talk you through the process incl ways to automatically split tracks, tag and obtain album art. With a bit of diligence up front you can spare yourself a lot of tedium. Never convert to mp3 other than to listen to in the car or braai etc.
I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things -- Tom Waits

Free your mind...and your ass will follow.

Offline GearSlave

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Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2013, 04:21:39 AM »
Hey Gert, that was explained nice and sloooooowwww, half speed?

 :facepalm:  :ROFLMAO:

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Offline colonel66

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2013, 07:00:02 AM »
Send me a pm and I'll talk you through the process incl ways to automatically split tracks, tag and obtain album art. With a bit of diligence up front you can spare yourself a lot of tedium.

Why not share the love

Isnpt the point of a forum (one of them) for a collective sharing of wisdom?

Me reckons a tutorial on how to should even qualify as a sticky thread.


Offline huntsman

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2013, 08:44:05 AM »
Wow...

Lots of helpful folk here! Thanks everyone - now I'll sort the hardware out and start slowly...

I'm a little concerned that my Technics SL-BD22 might not be good enough, following on something WaterHond said...any thoughts on this model?


Offline Rotten Johnny

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2013, 09:08:00 AM »
Why not share the love

Isnpt the point of a forum (one of them) for a collective sharing of wisdom?

Me reckons a tutorial on how to should even qualify as a sticky thread.

^^^ I was trying to avoid having to type it all out via a quick call ... Gert captured the exec summary nicely.

So first off, the term Needle Drop is not something that some "Diginerate" dreamed up, it is in fact an industry term referring to a music licensing scheme that requires a producer to pay a fee every time they use a track in a movie, advert or TV show.

If the objective is to achieve the highest possible quality duplication of one's vinyl then you're going to need (apart from all the crap required to get decent frisbee playback) a high resolution (24/96 or better), neutral ADC to convert the analog signal to digital.  Recommendations already covered earlier in the thread.  To get playback as close as possible tonally to the vinyl you're also going to need a neutral DAC (any DAC will do the pops and clicks for you gratis  :EGrin:).

As suggested, Audacity is a great tool to enable storage and processing of the digital stream.  It runs on Linux, Mac and Windows.
Make sure the PC you're using to do the audio processing on is quick enough to handle the incoming PCM stream without glitches - this generally implies having sufficient memory (I'd suggest >= 4GB dual channel).

Configure Audacity to:
- use your ADC for Recording (Edit/Preferences/Devices)
- store the incoming digital stream as 24/96  (Edit/Preferences/Quality)
- write its temp files to a location other than the OS drive (this is particularly useful running Windows -- Linux and Mac are far better using swap space and I'd proffer there's no need to redirect from the OS drive because the OS isn't going to find itself in a flat spin). (Edit/Preferences/Directories)

Recording
- Perform whatever Voodoo is required to TT & frisbee to ensure optimal facsimile playback
- Position needle ready to "drop"
- Click the Record button in Audacity (the big red one) at the same time as you "drop the needle"
- Sit back and enjoy the facsimile (trying hard not to grimace and be distracted by the odd snap, crackle & pop)
- Remember to Pause recording in Audacity when flipping sides, repeating Voodoo ritual (if you don't pause, that portion of the recording will be the cleanest sound throughout the recording :sh1tstirrer:)
- When done, save your work in Audacity (File/ Save Project As).  At this juncture it's a good idea to use a descriptive foldername e.g. artist - album in which to save the project (it'll benefit you later)

Splitting tracks
Now you're ready to split the needledrop into discrete tracks.  There are two ways to do this - automatically or manually

Automagically:  To do it automatically select analyse/ Silence Finder - it'll automagically add track markers at every point that silence is encountered.  Depending on the nature of the recording it can work well, but you'd be well advised to check the split points are actually at track ends.
Manually: If doing it manually (my preferred method) inspect the waveform, find track ends visually and add a track marker.  This is best done as follows:
- Click the Skip to Start button
- Press CTRL-B.  A new label is created in a new label track underneath the audio track. The contents of the label are selected and ready for editing. Type the title of the first song - I'd simply name it Track 01 because you can use an audio tagger to do the heavy lifting later on (what's important now is the tracks are named such that they're easily sequenced.  Repeat this process using CTRL-B and naming each successive track.

Exporting tracks
When you're done inserting track markers save the project by hitting Ctrl-S and then select File/ Export Multiple....
Choose the Export Format from the pop-up menu:
for CD burning choose 16-bit WAV if using Windows or Linux or AIFF if you're using a Mac
for loading into an MP3 player, choose MP3
for playback using a PC/DAC I'd suggest you can export as FLAC and set bit depth to 24
Click the Choose... button and pick the place where your exported tracks will be saved.
Under Split Files Based On:
 Labels should be checked
 Include audio before first label should be unchecked, as there is no audio before the first label
Under Name Files,  Using Label/Track Name should be checked.
Click the Export button.
Metadata Editor will appear for the first song. The Track Title and Track Number will be pre-filled from the labels, but you can enter any additional information for that song that you wish (for example, Artist Name and Album Title).
Click the OK button in the Metatdata Editor (not the Save button).
Metadata Editor will appear for the next and the subsequent songs; as before, enter any additional information and click "OK" for each window. When you click "OK" on the window for the last song, all the files will export.

From here, load the resulting files in your favourite tag editor and use its metadata retrieval ability to tag the entire album, get artwork etc.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 07:27:37 PM by audiomuze »
I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things -- Tom Waits

Free your mind...and your ass will follow.

Offline Hi-Phibian

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How to needledrop?
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2013, 09:43:08 AM »
Wow...

Lots of helpful folk here! Thanks everyone - now I'll sort the hardware out and start slowly...

I'm a little concerned that my Technics SL-BD22 might not be good enough, following on something WaterHond said...any thoughts on this model?

Good enough as mentioned before is a personal thing. A 1 mp camera is good enough for many using images on social media and their phones, you would not print it on to an A4 though.

Same for your quest. I would however say that from the late 80s lightweight plastic Japanese turntables the SLBD22 was one of the better lot in that bunch. That said the step up from that to any entry level "serious" deck is more then vast, there are many of various ages as well as new. Rega planar 2 and 3 or Rp1 P2 and P3, thorens td160 and 150, project debut, moth, system deck ( there was one for sale just the other day), technics SL1200 and even an old Lenco or Garrard though these generally need some real restoration to be at their best.
Same goes for the phono pre amp. The digi tech I would actually refrain from commenting bar to say that anything from Cambridge, NAD, Project and the ones built in to just about any 80s or early 90s amp is far superior.

So the skinny, i would get a USB phono stage like NAD or project at around R1600 to do phono pre  amp and audio interface duty. Then budget between R2000 and R3500 for a serviced well running turntable from the list mentioned above if bought used or starting around R4500 new.
You will then be able to make recordings of vinyl which though not state of the art will not leave you embarrassed and will be absolutely superior to the vinyl replay that 80% of people out there remember.

What is lost at the turntable can never be recovered with electronic or computer tricks so decide where you need to be and do it once.
Proprietor of Croak Audio Exploration.
Fair, not crazy, cash paid for turntables and tonearms from Rega, Linn and Thorens.          http://www.croak.co.za

Offline morkhans

How to needledrop?
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2013, 10:22:04 AM »
Great thread, with some really excellent info. Thanks.

Offline huntsman

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2013, 10:51:08 AM »
The light is entering the tunnel at a goodly speed...even for me!

 Dop

Offline colonel66

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2013, 06:18:56 PM »
@audiomize.

Thanks for the typing effort I am sure plenty will benefit

Offline huntsman

Re: How to needledrop?
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2013, 02:15:42 PM »
From the hardware side...

What exactly is needed between the TT and the PC?

I know you need an audio interface.
What about a Phono pre-amp?
If I got either or both of the above, would I dump my Digitech pre-amp? If so, how would I switch between TT and tape deck?

I gather 24 bit  and 96Khz are the minimums required from an Interface?