usb turntable questions

I’ve recently started researching usb turntables. I want to convert my record collection.

I’m a little confused why they say the usb turntable uses your sound card. Isn’t the usb turntable transferring a digital data stream to your hard drive? Is it a wav file? Or do you capture it in Sound Forge and save as WAV? I don’t see where the sound card has a role, other than playback.

I’m concerned because I know there’s a big difference in sound cards. Some are 16 bit, 32 bit or even 64 bit. The new sound cards support multi channels and all kinds of crap I don’t care about. I have a cheap sound blaster card in my pc. I think it’s a AWE 32, it’s in my only ISA slot.

I do have sound forge for editing. I bought the software in 2005. It’s not a current version, but it shouldn’t matter.

My dad has one, and I think the sound card is required for play back on the computer only.

It sort of shreds a mp3 file when its done, but when its downconverting at 78, I think it does it in WAV.

You don’t really need a special USB turntable to do this. I play my regular old turntable directly into the line input port on my sound card, and capture it in digital editing software.

Of course, if you don’t currently own a standard turntable, the USB one might be the way to go…TRM

Audiophile nitpick… the line-in jack on internal sound cards are inherently noisy, due to their location inside the computer - surrounded by various interfering EM fields. Their signal-to-noise ratios are usually pretty terrible. That’s why most of the good sound interfaces (see M-Audio) provide the Analog->Digital conversion outside the machine, typically in a ‘break-out-box’, eliminating the excess interference. Since USB Turntables connect via USB, they are also performing the A->D conversion externally, and passing a purely digital signal back to the PC via USB. You’d just have to worry about the quality of it’s internal A->D circuitry. Read some reviews.

If you already have a good turntable, I’d suggest picking up something like this:

Also, please note that many wave editing programs have click and pop eliminating filters that are especially useful when recording vinyl.

thanks! That M-Audio usb converter looks like what I need.

I do have a vintage Marantz direct drive turntable from the 1970’s. Back then, Marantz was still a respected name in the audio world. I’ve heard the brand slipped a lot in the past 15 years.

I need to get a new cartridge and I’ll be set.

I guess I got lucky, then, as mine sounds fine. I do use a pre-amp between the turntable and the sound card, but I’ve done it without the amp as well…TRM

Do most people record the entire album side and then edit & save into individual songs?

I could record each song individually. But it would take a lot longer.

At first I was going to make CD copies from my albums. But, maybe I do need to join the 21 century and get an IPod or whatever the latest players are.

Go ahead and just record each side at once. When viewing the resulting wave file, you’ll easily pick out the track breaks.

Now if you’re going to end up converting to lossy mp3’s anyways, you might not want to bother with the high quality recording device. try it thru your line-in jack, and see what it sounds like…

Somebody’s missing a big piece here. Many phono cartridges do not have sufficient output to get useable audio directly into a computer line in. Receivers and amps (in the old days - geezer here) had a phono input that fed an internal pre-amp to boost the output to the main amplification stage. Also, the phono output frequency response is skewed to allow better noise/fidelity of the output and not damage the vinyl. This is called the RIAA Equalization - wiki is your friend. Some very high end phono cartridges used a moving coil design that had even less output and needed a pre-pre-amp to raise the signal level. The preamp stages also applied an inverse RIAA Equalization to the signal to get a flat respones output.

A lot of current home theater receivers no longer have a phono input to perform those tasks (pre-amplification and equalization) for you.

USB turntables provide the pre-amplification and RIAA equalization before outputting to the computer line input.

Some phono cartridges may have enough output to drive the computer and the audio software may provide the required RIAA equalization.

Read up before purchase.

I’ve looked around and found several usb interfaces for audio. Most didn’t have phono preamps and eq.

This one fits the bill nicely. It’s a little pricey at $100. But still a lot cheaper than buying a usb turntable.

I’ve got nearly 100 albums to convert. Some haven’t ever been released on CD. So, it’s a worthwhile project for me.

If you DO have ‘phono’ jacks on your receiver, and it’s located near the computer, you can use it as your preamp. I run my computer as ‘tape 2’ thru my receiver. That way, whatever source is selected on the receiver gets sent out the ‘tape 2 monitor’ output, into the computer for recording. You can live monitor the computer signal by turning on the ‘tape 2 monitor’ setting on your receiver (this can also work for real-time signal processing). This way, you can route any signal (phono, cd, tape, tuner, etc) from the receiver to your computer for recording. The receivers built-in phono reamps will boost the signal up to line-level volumes, enough for recording, however you won’t have the fine gain control you get with a better recording interface.

This is what I do. It’s handy for recording Car Talk, too. :slight_smile:

In additon check out the forums at Hydrogenaudio, if it has anything to do with audio these guys know there stuff