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How do I digitally archive my record collection?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Epoman, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Hi

    For reasons of space I need to get rid of my record collection.

    Before I do however, I would like to digitally archive the ones that I am most fond of so that I can listen to them via CD/minidisc/on my laptop.

    Can anybody recommend the best way to do this? I have a Linn LP12 turntable, a Denon 3802 AV amp and a Sony net mini disc but don’t mind spending a bit on the necessary equipment.

    A friend has suggested that I buy a CD recorder, such as the Marantz CD 6000 (what about the CD rewriter attached to my laptop?) or a DVD rewriter.

    Any tips appreciated.

    Ta

    Imran
     
  2. nathan_silly

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    You could download the MP3's you've got on vinyl. This is not piracy as you've already got the tracks.. if you sample them off LP they'll have crackles and pops, and will be inferior to the MP3 taken off a CD.

    Download the tracks you've got, and sample the ones that aren't available.

    Although I guess not everything is available to download.

    To sample the tracks, take the tape out from your integrated amp into a soundcard's line in.. use a recording package, then save to MP3, at least 160 kps.
     
  3. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Hi

    Thanks for the tip. I'll try the connection between my amp and laptop this evening.

    Can you recommend a recording package to use?

    How would the quality of an MP3 recording compare to recording to CD?

    Imran
     
  4. nathan_silly

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    What I would do first- try playing back MP3's of various quality and see what you prefer..

    No point sampling the whole lot at 128kps and finding it's not good enough.


    If your laptop is missing digital output, buy one of these..

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3032089720&category=15056

    I've bought one off Cooltronix, no problems.

    It'll allow you to use digital audio, rather than the awful headphone output. Plug the optical to AV amp/processor. It also has a 3.5mm analogue output.

    I find 160kps good enough. I haven't used recording s/w for a while, so can't help you out on that.
     
  5. Daneel

    Daneel
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    For archiving I would go with Musepack (mpc) or Monkey Audio. Google will answer your questions.
     
  6. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    mp3 - err bad idea

    either capture as 44.1 and burn as CD or record to MD - MD is better than MP3

    LP12 is good so are you sure you want rid of LPs
     
  7. nathan_silly

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    Rubbish. A high bitrate MP3 is better quality than MD. Try using 300kps.
     
  8. MartinImber

    MartinImber
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    LP12 is well high end and I think that any compression would not do justice.

    In his case I would say keep as CD audio.

    As to MP3, similar wuality at similar bit rates to DTTV, 128 sounds dire (hence I stopped using mp3), 192 is poor - hence the only CD I created for me was CDDA
     
  9. LV426

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    In my experience - the quality of an MP3 depends hugely on the software used to generate it - which probably accounts for the differing views expressed here.

    I have an old dedicated mpeg tool (Xing) which produces very creditable results at 192k, and perfectly listenable results at 128k. However, I have found that 128k files produced using certain other mp3 tools are noticably worse - they acquire a curious 'processed' sound difficult to describe - rather like listening under water.

    My own preference is to be selective with my vinyl stuff; the real favourites get remade onto true audio CDs (with a huge amount of time invested in declicking and denoising) and the rest gets archived 'as is' (with clicks and noise) as 128k mp3s - to save space (and CDs).
     
  10. Epoman

    Epoman
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    ....is the consensus that CD is better quality? If so then I would prefer to to go this route. Presumably I can then copy from CD to minidisc or onto my laptop as necessary, albiet at lower quality.

    Declicking and denoising should not be a problem. My LP's are in perfect nick and the Ekos/Troika in the turntable track them faultlessly.

    I did try to copy to minidisc last night but nothing taped :confused: . havn't a clue why.
     
  11. WhyAyeMan

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  12. ukaudiophile

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    Hello,

    One thing that is being missed out here is the quality of the analogue to digital converters (ADC). If you're ADC isn't up to scratch, you can use any turntable you want and the sound will still be dreadful!

    This immediately rules out the vast majority of consumer sound cards as they simply can't cut it in Hi Fi terms. For me I'd use an M Audio Audiophile 96/24 USB card with it's own outboard PSU. M Audio have a lot of experience making studio equipment and they've forgotten far more about making good ADC and DAC stages than Creative will ever know.

    Once you've done this you want to archive everything you want to keep at 44.1/16 (I'd be tempted myself to record at 88.2/24 and playback from the PC myself, then downsample to 44.1/16 for making CD's) and burn out CD's as required. I know the Audiophile USB box isn't cheap, but it's in demand and you could easily sell it if you wished once you'd finished the project.

    Best wishes,

    Dave

    BTW, if you want to make MP-3's of these recordings, try going up to 256K or even 320K, I know I find anything under 256K pretty difficult to listen to and when you go to 320K I hear an improvent again. Also when you're making MP-3's the quality of the compressor is critical. Try using the Frauenhofer or LAME which are generally regarded as being the best at the moment.
     
  13. Epoman

    Epoman
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    After delving into the instruction booklet for my Sony MZ-N1 MD player, I see that I need to phono to line leads in order to tape an anologue source. I'll get some at the weekend and try again.

    With all the discussion whether MP3 is equal to CD, I think I'll take the CD route, as it will be a once and for all transfer before I sell my vinyl.

    Before I commit myself can anyone confirm that I can copy from the CD to minidisc or MP3 :confused:
     
  14. ukaudiophile

    ukaudiophile
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    Hello,

    Good idea to record at CD resolution, in the long term you won't regret it.

    Yes, you definitely can go from CD to minidisc or MP3. For converting to MP3 I'd either keep the .WAV (uncompressed files) on the PC, or rip them from CD to MP using LAME or the Frauenhoefer CODEC, both of which are considered to be the best MP encoders out there right now.

    On your minidisc, I believe this is a NetMD product, so you should be able to transfer the MP3 files straight from your PC to the Sony and it will do ATRAC compression on the fly using the supplied software.

    Best wishes,

    Dave
     
  15. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thank Dave. I think I'll do exactly as you suggest.

    Now to find a CD recorder.....(presumably I can't somehow use my laptop CD writer:confused: )

    Ta
    Imran
     
  16. LV426

    LV426
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    Of course you can! So long as you have a soundcard on the PC, some suitable capture software, and enough HDD space (~700mb for a full CD).........oh, and CD Writing software that covers 'Audio CD' as a format.......you have everything you need.

    1: Connect tape output from amp to soundcard line in.
    2: Start audio capture software. Adjust the PC's mixer (if it has one) to get the levels right.
    3: Play the record (I suggest, one track at a time)
    4: Start recording on PC hard disc.
    5: Stop recording, label and save the file as a .wav
    6: Repeat until done.
    7: Optional additional steps - see below
    8: Start CD writing software. Select 'Audio CD' as the type.
    9: Select .wav files to be written to CD and their order
    10: Burn
    11: Play CD in CD player

    7 - you can denoise and declick the sound files, clean up the run in and run outs and so on, using a wave editor, if you like.
     
  17. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thanks Nigel. I'll have a go at the weekend! I'm not sure I've got the necessary software however. Laptop has XP and the only other I have is a disc that came with the Sony MD which lets you copy from CD to MP3 (I think) and then onto the MD in Artrac format.

    If I understand correctly, your method saves as .wav

    Rather than this, is it possible to go directly from LP to CD on my laptop?

    Imran
     
  18. LV426

    LV426
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    What CD burning software did your CDRW drive come with? It probably has an audio-grabber in it. I'd be very surprised if there isn't something lurking in WinXP although I'm still on 98SE so I can't comment.

    You have to bear in mind that, to separate the tracks on the CD, you need each to start life as a separate audio file. In other words, each CD track corresponds to a file.

    And you have to burn the CD all in one go - you can't do it track at a time. Hence the method of grabbing each track onto the HDD and then using the resultant wav files to produce the CD. So that the CD writer can get an uninterrupted stream of data to write for you.

    And the reason for using .wav is that it is uncompressed - meaning no processing (other than the initial sampling) is done to degrade the sound. MP3 and other equivalents all b*gger up the sound to a greater or lesser extent and are to be avoided except where space/file size is at a premium.
     
  19. norderney

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    Are computer (PC) CD-RW drives of equal quality to dedicated HiFi CD Recorders? I have always thought that PC CD-RW drives were not built to HiFi standards?

    I have a Yamaha CDR-HD1000 CD Recorder with a built in hard drive, which allows me to record to the hard drive and then transfer to CD-R. Although it is not possible to declick and denoise with the Yamaha unit, it does make very good recordings.
    I can also record direct from CD to CD with it by connecting an optical digital lead from my Arcam CD72 to the HD1000.

    http://www.yamaha-audio.co.uk/homehifi/cdplayer/cdr-hd1300/index.php



    Why are you getting rid of your record collection? I have copied a number of my LPs to CD and in some cases if a particular LP became availabe on CD I bought the CD, but I still could not be parted from my LP collection!!!!!

    Andrew Smith
     
  20. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thanks for all the input chaps. I think the best way forward is to get a CD recorder.

    Andrew, I'd love to leep my vinyl, but they just take up too much space!
     
  21. LV426

    LV426
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    If that's the way you feel you need to go, far be it from me to argue. However, I'd consider it an unnecessary expense; I'd be hugely surprised if your PC won't already do all that you need, and more besides.

    I have been making audio CDs for years with my desktop PC - a basic £12-odd soundblaster card, and capture and CD writing software that came with the CD drive.

    Plus - tabletop recorders require special CD-Rs (they aren't chemically different, but they have a marker on them that identifies them as suitable for tabletop machines) which are more expensive than PC CDRs - the excess is, I think, paid to MCPS as a sort of copy/royalty fee. Use a PC and you can make audio CDs out of regular (cheaper) CDRs.
     
  22. Epoman

    Epoman
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    Thanks Nigel. I will have a try on my laptop before making the final step towards buying a CD recorder or selling the vinyl.....they carry a lot of memories and are definately irreplaceable. They have been in my loft and then garage for such a long time without use that it seems a bit of a waste to let them just sit there.
     

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