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Converting LPs to digital
Kono
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Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-07-29 3:46 pm   Permalink

I have never tried, before yesterday, to record old LPs to digital format. I've never even made a custom CD with my computer. So I have a few basic questions:

1) When recording to CD, should one just use the .wav file or should it be converted to .mp3? I'm guessing .wav file because a 30mb .wav file doesn't sound so big when I see that my CD-Rs have a 700mb capacity. On the CD-R it says 700mb, 80 minute capacity. Is that 80 minute estimate based on typical wave files? If you recorded .mp3s onto your 700mb CD would you be able to have 200+ hours of music?

2) .mp3s ripped from the internet: do they sound decent side by side with .wav files on a self recorded CD?

3) I plan on posting some .mp3s here on TC. How important is the sample (?) rate? Should you just go with the max 320kbps and bandwidth be damned or is there a bit rate (I'm guessing at the terminology) above which there is not a significant improvement in sound quality?

4) Is there anyone here who could host my .mp3s?? I just got done converting Milt Raskin's Kapu to .mp3s and will send to anyone that wants to host.

I'm sure some of these questions are stupid but hey, I need to know!


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-07-29 8:02 pm   Permalink

Burn your CDs with the wav files. When it converts your huge wav file to an audio CD format, it does not matter how big it is, it's the quality and the best mp3 is not as good as a wav.

A CD can have about 70 mimutes of music recorded on it whether it's a crappy low rate mp3 or high end wav file.

When sharing over the internet or listening in general, a rate 192 is the one used on CD and is the standard. This does not mean an MP3 at 192 is the same as a CD or a wav, but it is the standard adn going higher does not do much better for quality or compression.
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Kono
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Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-07-29 8:08 pm   Permalink

Thanks Swanky. Those are the kind of nuts and bolts answers I was looking for.

 
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Kono
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Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-08-02 8:07 pm   Permalink

A couple more questions:

I read on the Tiki Finds thread that you can pretty much obliterate the pops and static by putting a film of water on the album while recording. Yet this is apparently very bad for the record.

Does this really work that well? And how damaging is it to the record? Would using distilled water be better?

I'm using Diamond Cut software to filter the pops and hisses but obviously it would be preferrable to not have to use the filters at all with a nice source signal. The continuous noise filter does the best job but you can hear some compression effect in the final product, even if it is minor.

I'm shooting for optimal sound quality. Do you put the water on the LP and clean up the signal knowing that you're damaging the vinyl (and just how damaging is water anyway?)? Or do you prefer to let the software do the cleaning and leave the vinyl, crappy as it may be, as is?

Anyone else using Diamond Cut?


 
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TikiGardener
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Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1365
From: 1st website dedicated to Tiki Gardens
Posted: 2004-08-02 8:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-08-02 20:07, Kono wrote:
A couple more questions:

I read on the Tiki Finds thread that you can pretty much obliterate the pops and static by putting a film of water on the album while recording. Yet this is apparently very bad for the record.

Does this really work that well? And how damaging is it to the record? Would using distilled water be better?

I'm using Diamond Cut software to filter the pops and hisses but obviously it would be preferrable to not have to use the filters at all with a nice source signal. The continuous noise filter does the best job but you can hear some compression effect in the final product, even if it is minor.

I'm shooting for optimal sound quality. Do you put the water on the LP and clean up the signal knowing that you're damaging the vinyl (and just how damaging is water anyway?)? Or do you prefer to let the software do the cleaning and leave the vinyl, crappy as it may be, as is?

Anyone else using Diamond Cut?



I've done this for years, and haven't found any problems. So long as you clean your records properly. AFter all you're probably doing this once, to get a better recording for digital. So clean the record after recording it.

I will say that while it does reduce pops and clicks it won't eliminate the really bad ones. It will tone down a really bad pop to a dull thuck. But this method will pull off some high end response.

That said, I'm glad the idea came to me one day when I was recording a bunch of worn Yardbirds records. I played the resulting tapes until they wore out. And then repeated the whole process. Two plays in about a decade made good tapes until I could find better originals and re-issues.

Try it out, see if you like the results.
TG


 
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-08-03 10:24 am   Permalink

MP3 is a lossy compression format.

No matter what transmission rate you use, 128kbps, 160 kbps, 192kbps, etc (these are transmission rates, not sample rates) the quality will still be diminished over an uncompressed format such as .wav, .aiff., or SDII.

Granted, 320kbps is less degredation than 128 kbps, but you're still tossing out large amounts of your audio signal in order to make a smaller file.

And, when your CD burner program takes the MP3s and preps them for burning to a CD, it is expanding them back into a .wav-like format anyway, but once the damage is done, it is done - the quality doesn't come back.

So making MP3s is trashing your fidelity for no good reason.

If you want to burn CDs AND post trax to the web, burn the CD from the uncompressed .wavs and then make separate copies in MP3 for net or iPod use.

One more thing: ALL audio CDs use a 44.1Khz sampling rate and a bit depth of 16. When sampling your vinyl into your audio editing software, always use a sample rate of 44.1Khz. Using a higher setting will NOT give a better sound quality, and you will have to convert to 44.1Khz later anyways - and the conversion process can do more harm than good.

That said, sampling at 24 bits rather than 16 and then later converting to 16 bits can actually yeild better sound, if done properly.

There was another long thread on this stuff just recently... should we move all of this ove there?

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[ This Message was edited by: tikibars on 2004-08-03 10:26 ]


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Digitiki
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Joined: Jul 22, 2004
Posts: 754
From: L.A. baby!
Posted: 2004-08-03 10:34 am   Permalink

Another note on recording from vinyl:
Signal strength is another consideration when trying to get a good recording. Too soft and you hear more noise, too loud and the audio distorts or "clips". What I do is find the loudest song or part of a song on the LP side. Then, play it a couple of times and watch your computer's recording software input level meters (if the software has it--most do). You want the loudest part of the music to go almost, but not quite to the "0dB" marker. Remember, in digital audio 0dB means the point where the audio will clip, it can't take any more signal. By getting the signal as close to 0dB withou going over, you can get a good signal to noise ratio. That is, more signal, less noise from the record player, etc. However, a lot of exotica like Arthur Lyman is very quiet, so make sure you don't boost the recording too much as to make it un-natural.


 
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spy-tiki
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Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 732
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2004-08-03 11:33 am   Permalink

Just another two cents...Washing records makes a HUGE difference. There is a certain stigma about it after treating your treasured recordings with loving care all these years, but you will be amaazed. There are all sorts of theories about what works best, etc, but a little warm water and mild dishwashing liquid does wonders. Try not to get the label wet. (Some guy on ebay makes a thing that clamps over the label and makes a good handle. Can't remember what it's called) Water doesn't hurt vinyl at all, but can leave deposits if you don't rinse well that can make new pops and clicks. Overall though your record will sound a thousand times better. Honestly, you can sometimes get CD type sound out of a trashed record by washing. Alchohol is the best at cleaning, but will attack the vinyl. There are record vacuums (search "Nitty Gritty" on the web.here's a review:

http://www.audiophilia.com/hardware/ngrecord.htm

They are expensive, but there is another company that makes a nitty gritty style vacuum you hook up to your home vacuum that's a lot cheaper ( I just got one of these, but haven't used it yet):

http://www.kabusa.com/index_rc.htm The RONCO or K-TEL vacuums are junk.)

I usually put the soapy water in a bowl just deep enough for the grooved part of the lp to submerge. Then turn the lp while I lightly go over it with a washcloth. A good rinse under the faucet and air dry and voila!

Two more cents. I'm not a computer whiz, but most of even the freeware music editing programs let you zoom in on, highlight, and delete the pops in your recordings. They show up as big straight vertical lines on the wave form. With a little patience things clean up pretty well. Hope this helps (you still awake?)


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Kono
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-08-03 6:38 pm   Permalink

Thanks for all the info!

TikiGardener: I didn't understand why water was so bad for vinyl, but what do I know? I thought perhaps it left some kind of deposit? Then again, what's it matter with a crappy scratchy record? Next scratchy record I will try it.

tikibars: I have been using 44.1 KHz sampling rate as this was default with the software. Thanks. I don't see where to set bit depth but I'll keep looking. OT: In another thread I asked you this but you probably missed it; have you ever written any pieces on tiki establishments for Chicago papers? I'm just interested for personal "tiki history" reasons.

Digitiki: For years and years I would record my own mix tapes, road tapes whatever you want to call them. I got quite good at pushing the envelope with the signal level and getting it a little hot without over pushing it. There is no envelope to push with digital! You hit the red and it sounds awful. I am leaning towards keeping the signal on the softer side and not getting very close to 0dB. I have a couple of recordings that I watched the signal level for the entire recording and they never peaked out yet some of the louder portions do not sound natural which leads me to believe: That my software doesn't use peak clipping but uses output compression. Two reasons I think this. 1) When the signal goes into the red, an indicator comes on and the signal is subdued for what seems to be two or three seconds in that channel. 2) Some recordings that definitely did not hit 0dB still sound compressed in some of the louder passages. I'm going to keep the signal well below the red. It's certainly a different technique from analog recording.

spy-tiki: I cleaned my Kapu record thoroughly (several times) with a product a local hoity toity record shop uses on their albums but it still sounded like the boys were playing on the back of a flatbed truck as it eased down a gravel road. Snap, crackle, pop. I did use the software to clip out some of the more offensive pops that were left after I used the continuous noise filter.

Thanks for your input. Sometimes the answers to the easiest questions can be hard to find because so many take the answers as a given. This software's got a fairly steep learning curve but thankfully I've dealt with some of this stuff in school so it's not too bad. My recordings are improving in quality fairly quickly. I'm not going to make any mp3s unless someone wants to host them because otherwise, what's the point? Thanks everyone.


 
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tikibars
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Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-08-03 8:15 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-08-03 18:38, Kono wrote:
tikibars: I have been using 44.1 KHz sampling rate as this was default with the software. Thanks. I don't see where to set bit depth but I'll keep looking. OT: In another thread I asked you this but you probably missed it; have you ever written any pieces on tiki establishments for Chicago papers? I'm just interested for personal "tiki history" reasons.

Digitiki: I got quite good at pushing the envelope with the signal level and getting it a little hot without over pushing it. There is no envelope to push with digital! You hit the red and it sounds awful. I am leaning towards keeping the signal on the softer side and not getting very close to 0dB.



Some consumer-level software won't allow you to adjust the bit depth.

Also, most audio software apps do essentially the same thing, and the app itself doesn't affect the sound quality much. BUT, the sound card (the hardware) you use makes a BIG difference. Consumer level cards like SoundBlaster are murder on your audio.

To clarify the points between you and DigiTiki, you are both correct, you have NO headroom over 0dB on digital recordings, however, you SHOULD try to get as close to 0dB - without going over it- as possible. Otherwise, you aren't taking maximum advantage of your bit depth, which could lead to quantization errors which will make your recordings a little harsh and/or thin sounding.

If there is a compressor or peak limiter on the output stage of your signal path, this is something you should be able to switch on and off, and is also something that should have a meter or indicator displaying when it is active... unless you have TRULY crap software.

Writing: I wrote EXTENSIVELY about Chicago Tiki on my old Tiki Bar Review Pages (which these days is basically just a place where I post TRT updates - Critiki is a superior next-generation site flling the same needs as TBRP once did) from 1994 to about 2002. Most of the important bits from those days are in TRT.

I have written some articles about Tiki for various newspapers, magazines, and web sites - look for one in the AAA (American Auto Association) member's mag soon, also roadtripamerica.com and playboy.com - but not in any Chicago publications specifically.

I did get interviewed last summer twice by the Tribune and once by New City magazine, but I didn't write the articles.
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5065
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-08-03 10:16 pm   Permalink

I have some of what are supposed to be good plug-ins for cleaning up vinyl sound and they all stink. They just make things muddy. I clean the record as well as possible and go in and hand edit the big pops.

The best thing for quality is getting the recording level right. My software will "Normalize" the recording and boost a quiet recording, but you quickly realize that stinks. You are essentially losing the dynamic quality of the recording if yourecord too quiet and "Normailize" or boost the volume. The ideal is for the quiet to be quiet and th eloud to be at peak 0db. That's the good sound. And often the hardest to acheive with your wires, computer, equipment and so on.

There is a very reasonable sound card I looked at that acually had a front panel for the computer with an input and level control on the front. Would be a good investment to be able to control that stuff with a knob right there!
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Kono
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Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-08-07 9:08 pm   Permalink

I've really explored my software and the documentation and there's no evidence that it has output compression. I must've imagined it. It does have an indicator when it peak clips.

tikibars: Prior to three years ago, my idea of home decor was that there shouldn't be any. The best effort on my part was to hang a bunch of 60s jazz albums on the wall and put up a cheap clock or two. Three years ago this girl was bugging me to decorate my apartment. I knew what I liked but had no concept of thrifting and antiquing to find the stuff I wanted. I wanted what was, in my mind, a "60s bachelor pad" look. As we started to haunt the thrift and antique shops, and later ebay, I learned that what I like is called Danish modern/Eames era/mid century/ubangi/retro/googie/atomic you know all the terms. I was also interested in Tiki and was aware of the term Tiki but didn't have a great deal of luck finding tiki items, just a few mugs.

A couple years ago we were in Chicago on a work trip that was extended for pleasure. We were at her cousin's house and I was thumbing through the paper (forget which one). By this time we'd discovered Shag and were big Hawaiiana hunters and I had upped my tiki collection a bit. In the newspaper there was an article rating all of the Chicago area tiki bars. I was so excited! The best rated bar (probably Hala Kahiki) was in the suburbs and wasn't practical for us to visit. We were going downtown anyway so after the museum we went to Trader Vic's and had drinks and dinner. I actually persuaded the beautiful Dragon Lady hostess to give me a menu as a keepsake (she actually glared at me as she handed me the menu) and then we lifted another menu as well. We couldn't get them to sell us a mug.

Anyway, that visit to TV launched me full on into the world of Tiki and made it an obsession for me. If I hadn't found that article I'd have never visited TV and may not fallen down this slippery slope of tiki infatuation. I just wondered the other day if maybe you wrote that article.

A couple months later we took a trip to Atlanta and took a voluntary bump which paid for our flights to Honolulu. $500 voucher each! We ran around downtown Atlanta and didn't know there was a TV there as well. (This was before finding Tiki Central)


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-08-08 12:15 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-08-07 21:08, Kono wrote:
In the newspaper there was an article rating all of the Chicago area tiki bars. I was so excited! The best rated bar (probably Hala Kahiki) was in the suburbs and wasn't practical for us to visit. We were going downtown anyway so after the museum we went to Trader Vic's and had drinks and dinner.


There was a Tiki article in the Tribune around the same time as TRT came out. It was a fairly well reseached piece, and the guy who wrote it actually came to my house and interviewed me in Aku Hall for about 2 hours while his photographer shot pix of my Tiki stuff. I remeber listing the best Chicago Tiki spots for him, andhe used my list as a side-bar in the article. This is probably what you saw.


 
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SuperEight
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Joined: Oct 16, 2004
Posts: 270
From: Palo Alto
Posted: 2010-02-10 8:52 pm   Permalink

This came out some years ago and I am wondering if any of the advice has changed. I recently got a USB turntable but I am not very tech savvy. What is the best/easiest software currently being used to convert LP's? And what settings should I use? My turntable is an ION. Thanks.

 
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Polynesiac
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Joined: Jan 29, 2004
Posts: 2085
From: San Pedro, CA
Posted: 2010-02-12 10:11 am   Permalink

my way has changed. Garage band is good, but Rogue Ameoba Audio Hijack Pro is WAY better:

http://www.rogueamoeba.com/audiohijackpro/

The problem is, I believe it's only for macs, which limits who can use it. If you use a mac, Audio Hijack pro and fission (audio editing) together only cost $50 and it's well worth the price.

I don't use a USB turntable, but the ones I see at stores say they come with software - did yours not come with any software for digitizing records?
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