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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend of my son's came around the other day and remaked: "Wow you have a music machine like in old times!". This got me thinking that it is probably a good time to start archiving my vinyl records collection...

Having listened to various formats, I don't think that any compressed quality is good enough. Here are my (apparent choices:

- Burn straight to CD using an external CD burner
- Burn straight to SACD or DVD-A. Are there any burners out there? Does the Superdrive support DVD-A?
- Capture on the Mac with a dedicated software (which one?), remove clicks & pops, reburn to CD or higher.

Suggestions?
 

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CDs burned on your computer are not going to last all that long. See this and others. So my advice is don't do anything except take good care of your vinyl collection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Scary stuff! :eek:

Now there was a debate a couple of years back about how first generation commercial CDs turned into Swiss cheese over time. Apparently the current generation is 'good for 100 years'


Now there's gotta be some equivalent for CD-Rs: any brands better than others? Are CR-RWs better?

Now that's pretty important if you are going to, say, digitalise all your old photographs...
 

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Here is the essence:

Stamped CDs are very stable; their structure is simple, and as long as the (typically) aluminized reflective layer is protected from oxidation, they should last many decades. CD-Rs have a more complex structure, and rely on various organic dyes enabling the writing process.

Taken from: here
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks script Kiddie. Any views on DVDs/DVD-As? (I have no clue if lasewr size makes any difference for example).
 

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I just wanted to add a note here about my personal experience with CD-R discs. I have never had a CD-R fail on me yet. Since 1997 I have been burning name brand and generic CD-Rs. If I look at my shelf on my desk there are about 500 data disks and about 500 music/audio discs. Most of the audio discs are of my vinyl collection which I recorded into my powermac and then burned to CD-Rs.

I'm not disclaiming any acticle that has been posted or trying to tell you that it will never happen to me or any one in the future. It just has not happened to me yet.

Moscool a good audio recording application to use in OS 9 is Macromedia Sound Edit 16. And for OS X I use Spark XL.
Record your audio into the computer using the AIF codec. Then for removing clicks and pops I use Sound Studio or Amadeus (both for OS X) In OS 9 I used Sound Edit 16 to remove pops and clicks but it was not very good for this. I have been in OS X for 2 years and most of the audio cd's have been made since I moved to X. Then I burn my cd's using Toast.

I also installed a good quality audio card in my powermac PCI slot to get better audio performance. The onboard mini jacks that come with powermacs have way too much noise cycling in them. M-Audio make excellent low priced cards. That it what I use. I own a DAT tape machine and run my audio from the record player into the DAT machine and then use the digital out from the DAT machine and input to the digital input on the M-Audio PCI card. Using the digital input on the audio card is the cleanest way to get my audio into the powermac. This is also more expensive as I paid 1300.00 for my DAT machine. You can simply use the regular audio ins that are on the M-Audio card, they are much cleaner sounding than the powermac mini jacks. I use the digital way so I know I am getting NO NOISE in my audio recordings. For me there is nothing worse than taking the time to transfer vinyl to cds and the cds sound terrible. IE noise or distortion due to the transfer process. If you want to record your vinyl and not spend 200.00 on a sound card than you have no choice but to use the built in mini jacks that come with the powermac. Just be warned that there is a low distorsion hum that will be recorded with all the audio you record. Really noticable with classical music or music that has breathing room and you notice in the quiter areas of a track there in background is...hummmmmmmm. Kind of a bummer.

Hope this helps.
 

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Here's a thought,

Why even bother archiving your vinyl?

Unless you're worried about a fire, or want to put those songs on an ipod, just keep them and play as they were meant to be played.

If you're just looking to update the technology, look into the new generation of turntables available on the market. Many have a built in preamp and some even have digital outs too.

Just a thought.
 

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One of the main reasons I archived and transferred my vinyl to cds is that 1500 vinyl records take up a hell of a lot more space in the living room than 500 cds in my office. I can fit 2 records on 1 cd in most cases because records in the 60s & 70s were usually 30 to 40 minutes in length. And I owned quite a few 12" singles which were only 10 or 15 minutes in length. I really wanted to get rid of the baggage of carrying all my vinyl every time I had to move. 1500 records weigh in at many hundreds of pounds. Plus the grief that my wife used to give me over my vinyl collection miraculously went away with the vinyl. I guess she just loves my music but doesn't care what medium it's on as long as it doesn't spoil the interior design of the living room. Oh well, small sacrifice. But I do miss my record collection that I started since I was 7 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone. Food for thought...

BTW, the reasons I want to archive my collection...

1) I could get another turntable to improve on the sound but it would probably cost more than replacing the whole thing with CDs

2) I need the space

3) I don't listen to LPs anymore or I forget them and they play for 12 hours...

4) SACD IS superior to vinyl: all the music AND the dynamic range AND the warmth

However, nothing replaces the touch and feel of 30cm of vinyl
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As long as you want and pick them up in England... :D
 

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Your can't reasonably encode to SACD or DVD-A format; the software is simply too expensive (designed for corporate clients only) and specialized burners are also required (for example Pioneer makes a DVD burner for this job that costs thousands; the one in your Mac won't work).

You can encode to 24-bit 96Khz or 24/192 files for archival purposes if you want. Either format is adequate in my opinion; in fact 24/48 should be just fine as well.

Many SACD and DVD-A commercial disks use 24-bit files at 48, 96 and 192Khz sample rates as the original source files which are upsampled to 24/192 DVD-A or SACD's format which is different but equivalent.

With a DVD burner you can create 24-bit 48Khz disks that will play back on any DVD-Video player. To do this you simply encode as DVD-Video without any video track; 24/48 is the standard 2-channel DVD-Video format. Some record companies actually sell these disks for people who want hi-rez but don't have SACD or DVD-A players.

File sizes will be large with these hi-resolution formats; it pretty much mandates DVD-R disks as your storage medium. Expect to require about 150MB per song for free space on your Mac's HD; more if you record at 192Khz sampling rates.

You will need a soundcard that can handle 24bit files; probably the least expensive option would be the M-Audio Audiophile PCI card or it's USB equivalent.

Don't use a Soundblaster card; it's not hi-fi quality. If SoundBlaster is your only option, you may as well forget about hi-rez and just go to CD's 16/44.1 using your Mac's built-in sound.

You will need an RIAA phono preamp or an amp/reciever that has a phono input. Plugging your turntable directly into your soundcard and using a program to provide RIAA equalization produces poor results, despite what Roxio or Griffin tell you.

BIAS offers a free version of Peak that will handle the recording of 24/96 or 24/88.2 format files; with it you can downsample the hi-rez files you create for archival purposes to 16/44.1 for use in iTunes or to burn CDs as well.

It's time-consuming to archive LPs (must be done in real time, and you will spend time breaking up the tracks and perhaps editing out pops & clicks) but because of that you may as well use the highest quality format you can, because it's a one-time-only thing you won't want to have to do a second time.

You could also use a DV tapes as your storage medium instead of DVD-R disks. You could either store the files directly as data or record them from the Mac as DV (no video) to a DV camcorder at 16bit/48Khz (stereo only; multichannel is 16/32Khz). The resulting files will be CD quality in Stereo, but there is the issue of Sampling Rate errors (next) if you want to make CDs from the DV tapes.

You should consider sampling rate errors before you decide on which format to use. Essentially, when the source sampling rate is not a fraction/multiple of the destination rate, sampling errors occour.

So, if you intend in the future to create DVD-Video or DVD-Audio files, you should record at 48/96/192Khz. If you intend to create CDs you should record at 44.1 or 88.2. At 192Khz there is sufficent room to avoid sampling error when downsampling to CD's 44.1Khz, so it will work no matter what you intend to do with the files now or later.

[ November 12, 2003, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Again 3 cheers for ehMac, this is clear and comprehensive! :D

My conclusion if I don't want to incurr undue costs or massive storage, and sampling errors is to stick to 44.1kHz using a turntable through a decent preamp-phono input |which I all have). Given that I am using a powerbook Gordguide, do you have any strong views regarding stereo RCA monster cable into PowerBook minijack (I'm not sure I have a choice anyway)? What about the software?
 

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Regarding CD / CD-R Longevity...

I have never had a CD-R "rot" on me yet (5 years and counting).

However, I recently went through a box of old CDs (pressed audio CDs) that I bought in the early 90s when my taste in music was highly suspect.
A couple of them had little circular trails within them that rendered them unplayable. It looked as though some sort of micro-critters were eating at the data layer.

So I wouldn't trust "normal" audio CDs to last either...

- Martin.
 

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" ... Given that I am using a powerbook Gordguide, do you have any strong views regarding stereo RCA monster cable into PowerBook minijack (I'm not sure I have a choice anyway)? ..."

My Strong View is that it's unfortunate we have to live with the need to make anything on a computer as compact as possible, because it's the wrong way for audio, but I can live with it. The cheezy connection of the jack to a computer PCB is probably a bigger issue. Just be careful plugging stuff in and out of your Mac.

Not that the Mac is poorly made, it's on there as good as we know how. But PCB mount connectors are a poor idea for something that gets plugged and unplugged as much as audio connectors do.

If you use an adapter, use the one-piece moulded ones (Radio Shack sells one, if you are lucky to find something in stock there); you might be able to find a better quality one at a Music Store, but then again you might find crap there as well. The ones with short cables are OK if you don't have much room, like probably in a powerbook.

It's a pretty short connection if you use the adapters most places sell, so even terrible cable would have decent performance. Don't worry about it.

Just don't use a 3 foot adapter or something; use the shortest adapter and some quality RCA-RCA's and you should be good to go.

You have your pick of audio apps for recording straight to 16/44.1; there's probably a dozen good shareware ones out there. Griffin's FinalVinyl and Peak LE or ME (can't remember which is the free one) won't cost you anything.

Griffin is the simple one, Peak is the complicated one. In any case, you can record with one and use the other later, if you want to play with the EQ, take out clicks & pops, or whatever.

There's also ProTools Free for OS9 and probably a bunch of other good options. Do a search on VersionTracker or MacUpdate and see what comes up for free apps.

Edit: substitute TC Works Spark ME for BIAS PEAK LE/ME. Brain got foggy on that one.

[ November 13, 2003, 09:24 AM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 

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If you want to input and output audio with better quality than the built in mini jacks on the mac, look into the Griffin iMic. It's an adapter that utilizes USB technology to move your audio data in & out. It's not a microphone but an adapter. And I think they are around $50.00 USD

Good quality cables that I personally buy all the time are - Hosa. They are high quality sheilded cables with excellent connector ends. Nice and flexible as well so over time they do not get brittle and fray.
 

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I owned a Griffin iMic and found it did a decent job for a very reasonable cost. However, if you already have line-in on your Mac (most do) there's no point in buying one; it's primary use is to allow mic-level signals to be recorded (although it can do line level as well). If you have one of the few USB Macs without line-in it's worth considering.

The Hosa YRA-154 6" y-adapter and the Hosa GRM-193 moulded adapter appear adequate as well. Hosa makes decent & durable consumer-grade products but they aren't true audiograde products. Still, nobody does make an audiograde adapter as far as I know.

The moulded Hosa adapter looks exactly like the Radio Shack unit, which isn't to say it is, but either one should be fine.

You could make a true audiograde adapter if you're handy with a soldering iron; parts cost would be in the $15~50 range, cost depending mostly on which connectors you buy. I'm sure it's overkill for you, but in the off chance it isn't:

For that kind of green you you could get a foot of Canare L-4E6S or Mogami 2534 cable and Neutrik or Canare connectors, some silver-bearing solder, a roll of plumber's teflon tape and FEP heat shrink tubing.

All of these items are readily available from local suppliers in most cities in Canada. To anyone who might consider building such an adapter the assembly is obvious, so if you need further instructions consider it overkill for you.

I don't see the point, though; as long as you stay away from things like Hosa CRM-200 series (3, 6 & 10 foot adapters) the short length of the other adapters mentioned should mitigate any cable quality issues with the adapter at least.

Since to the vast majority of people the whole idea of cable quality is a step beyond what they consider clear proof of insanity, I'm going to leave it at that.
 

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Gordguide, correct me if I'm wrong, but I found the computers at work have better results audio wise with the Griffin iMic. Most audio sounded a lot cleaner than when the built in mini jacks on the powermacs were used.
The G4 MDDs have a lot of low harmonic hummmm. The quicksilvers don't seem to suffer as much with the hum. Maybe because there are fewer cooling fans...I just don't know. I remember my old B&W G3 was a lot cleaner sounding than any G4 I owned.
 
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