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Your Vinyl Transfer Workflow (sharing best needledrop practices)*

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Vocalpoint, May 11, 2011.

  1. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    Of course it wouldn't pass a null test; I'm denoising to remove noise. If it passed a null test after that, nothing would have been removed!!

    However, if you're referring to testing the accuracy of my L/R to M/S toggle preset in RX, it passes a null test perfectly. As long as you enter 70.71, 70.71, 70.71, -70.71 in the 4 fields of the Mixing module, it nulls to below -150dB. Even entering whole numbers of 71, 71, 71, -71 will fail a null test.

    Besides, a null test isn't only a pass/fail thing; it can be useful for determining what has and has not changed or at what frequencies. As in my post about the Chebychev filter and in our previous interaction in this thread, a null test shows that selecting 17 to 0 Hz in RX and deleting the selection results in absolutely no changes between 20-20 kHz. If there were a phase issue, it would show up as changes.

    As for previewing, I wouldn't have to preview in M/S since I've already got the ability to play back the M/S by playing a selection directly (which I do a lot more than you might think. I use the Preview in the Mixing module with my preset to hear what my edits in M/S sound like in L/R without having to actually convert back and forth. Yes, I could uses the presets RX already provides, but I'm lazy! :)
     
  2. Grant

    Grant Living in the 90s

    Location:
    United States
    Yup. I know all of this from having worked with DAW restoration for 22 years. I probably didn't work my post correctly. The S/N of most phono preamps is around -75db - 78db. And, yes, vinyl averages around -55db or so on a good day. The soundboard I am using has an output of 110db, not input, as since it's on the mobo, it's obviously geared for playback, not recording, like what we deal with here.
     
    john morris and Stefan like this.
  3. metalmunk84

    metalmunk84 Forum Resident

    I’ve been thinking about buying a Tascam DA-3000 to record needle drops to DSD. What’s the maximum level you record your LPs at? Which program on your Mac are you using to split and tag those DSD files?
     
  4. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    I’ve got the korg dsd recorder so I’m using korg’s software. It does do a license check for the korg recorder device though so that would not work with the tascam. I believe tascam has their own editing software that you can use with the da-3000?
    As far as max level, I don’t really worry about it- I listen to each side all the way while watching levels and just set it as high as I can without going over 0 ever.
     
    gabbleratchet7 likes this.
  5. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    I'm assuming RTA is VTA/SRA?

    Rosie sounds like quite the sister. It would be useful info for sure. I know I'm hearing a difference since I started adjusting the VTA for every record thickness. Would be interesting to see how Rosie would do the same record.

    When I was figuring it all out I tried listening with the headphones and moving the arm up and down, nothing jumped up as better or worse. I was way tail low then, so maybe it was so far out of the zone. I'm reluctant to do anything different now. Most records are playing great the few that have spots of uglyness are old use records.
     
  6. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    The angle at which the record was cut at. I think
    I am not really a vinyl person.
    It is usually 22.5 degrees. Or somewhere abouts.
    This is the trick most record persons will never understand. If the record was cut at 25 degrees and you play it back at 21 degrees everything will be off. Bass, noise, detail, etc.
     
  7. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    All true.

    Vinyl however can be as low as - 70 db. On a top turntable, with a well cut record that had been cleaned properly. And played back with the proper tracking angle with a fine line stylus. But don't bold your breath good members.

    There is theoretical and then the practical.
    If you get - 60 db that is a good day.
     
    BrilliantBob and arisinwind like this.
  8. WesB

    WesB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida, USA
    Does anyone have a good method for setting the gains on a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2? It it my first time using an external ADC, previously I used an old M-Audiophile 24/96 internal soundcard.
     
  9. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Assuming you have software for recording.
    - 18 dbfs RMS and don't peak over - 6 dbfs (peak)
     
    WesB likes this.
  10. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario

    Don't peak over - 6 dbfs.
    But you want to get the signal as close as possible to - 18 dbfs RMS. Every ADC as a sweet spot for it's analog section. For 24 bit it is - 18 dbfs RMS. For 16 bit it is - 12 dbfs RMS.
    Some very expensive mastering converters can go as low as - 22 dbfs RMS and even - 24 dbfs RMS. If you live on Europe set your level to - 20 dbfs RMS.
     
    elvisizer likes this.
  11. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I approve.
     
  12. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I am sending you a Lynn LP12 in the post. Please use it. It comes with MC cart, fine line stylus, and nice all tube Lynn phono preamp. And a Nitty Gritty Cleanig machine.


    .....Ok. nothing is coming in the post but if I could I would....:goodie:
     
  13. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Grant, adjusting the channels to make them equal is a bad idea. The reason we want them equal in recording is so that we capture exactly what is coming from the source. It is not about getting channels balanced. Often in a mix channels won't be, especially in old recordings.
    And in the end you are only guessing as to what the mix engineer wanted. When you try to balance out the two channels that changes: stereo panning, frequency response and even phase.

    Of course if the lead vocal isn't in the center then that would be a good time to center the vocals by messing with the channels.

    My advice is to leave it. Channels in a stereo mix will never be the same. It depends on the mix. Some modern mixes are very balanced but another mix from 1971 will not be. When you try to balance the channels you will screw with the mix.
     
  14. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    In regards to lead vocal centering I've resorted to splitting the stereo channels in Audacity and adding a couple of db's to one of the channels with a limiter, then mix and render (I stopped using panning sliders which reduces volume overall).

    I did this with Greenbaum's "Spirit In The Sky" and brought forward the lead vocal that is swimming in cavernous reverb if you're familiar with this iconic song. Due to the reverb I never could tell the lead vocal was off to the right. After applying the limiter to the separate channel it also brought the drums and solo guitar up front as well and allowed me to bring out more of the female chorus on the left applying a hardwood stage vocal clarity reverb and an EQ afterward.

    I was working from a CD file of this song and that cavernous reverb is greatly reduced due to the hardwood stage clarity reverb I created using Apple's AUMatrixReverb. Sounds much better!
     
  15. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Rosie has notes on who was cutting at what record company and at what angle. "...So and so cut at 25 degrees until 1974 and then he cut at 23 degrees..." Notes like that. Or "...Electra always cut at 22 degrees. That was the rule...."
     
  16. Stefan

    Stefan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    If it sounds good to you than what you're doing is fine. This hobby is supposed to be fun. What some folks fail to realize is that just because some folks might call themselves an "engineer" or work in a studio, it doesn't mean they are infallible or that their work is going to be without flaws. I've been collecting vinyl since 1970, and over the years I've come across a lot of crappy cuts of vinyl. Sometimes I wonder who the heck could call him or herself a professional and do such shoddy work. We discuss different cuts of LPs around this forum all the time and there are lots of these botched jobs mentioned.

    In terms of balance, what the mix engineer might have intended in terms of balance doesn't necessarily end up being reflected in the final cut to vinyl. I have some LPs where the channel balance is off by as much as 2-3 dB (and yeah, that might be within the +/- specs of some gear, but it's VERY noticeable). It's definitely not my equipment because I have it set up with several well-respected test records, and properly cut vinyl plays fine.

    A recent example is a shootout I've been working on for Roxy Music's classic Avalon album. I have an original UK cut that's balanced just fine, basically the same as both SACD versions I own (I like the album!). I have an early Canadian cut that sounds nicequite , perhaps even better than the UK in terms of EQ but side 1 is about 2.8dB RMS tipped to the left whereas side 2 is about 2.9dB RMS to the right! Then I have the 180g reissue done a few years ago, which is also unbalanced by about 2dB. In the old days, this sort of balancing may have been done by ear perhaps through badly calibrated monitoring equipment or even by visually monitoring the analog VU meters so we can perhaps excuse such cuts but we now have modern tools that for well-mixed popular music should result in a balanced level between the channels.

    Unless an LP is one of those early stereo mixes with bass on one side, bass transients are normally a good indicator. In my experience, balancing RMS levels between channels and then watching a digital stereo peak meter (not VU because they're just too damn slow for this) will result in peaks corresponding to bass notes that are equal across the channels. For about 95% of all the needledrops I've done, doing this works to center not only the bass but also the lead vocal. Of course there are exceptions, and a person should always listen to hear what the result will be then adjust to taste, but balancing using RMS works for me and that's all the really matters to me.
     
  17. Grant

    Grant Living in the 90s

    Location:
    United States
    The people who work in the studios are used to working with tape and digital sources. From my interaction with them, most don't take restoring vinyl records seriously.

    With regard to channel balance, the mix engineer gets one result, the mastering engineer fixes that, the cutting engineer adjusts that, the end-user's playback alters that, and it's up to whomever does a vinyl to digital transfer at home fixes that! So, even the 'purists" aren't getting what was intended, and it's anyone's guess as to what is correct. This also goes for phase issues, EQ, and anything else. That's why this is fun. We are recreating what we think the sound should be. A modern-day remastering producer does the same thing, they re-interpret the original source.

    I have also started balancing each channel by RMS.
     
  18. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    At first I thought the same until I discovered it's like wack-a-mole editing the audio spectrum in a DAW trying to make old recordings sound right even on studio monitor headphones where you can hear everything more so than on big box speakers. It's not easy at least for me to get it right/better but it is fun to manipulate sound this way but my hats off to pros who do this for a living. I've worked with deadlines in the graphics field for commercial presses and I spend more time editing CD music on my MacMini than the amount of work I produced as a professional in the graphics field.

    What I find to be the most difficult in making these old recordings sound right(better) is being able to tell the difference between bringing out real detail buried in the muck playing at comfortable listening volumes vs just playing it louder. A lot of times I'll A/B against the original but apply a limiter to make it as loud as the edit and they end up sounding identical. DOH!

    Chicago's "Mongonucleosis" song off their VII 2002 Rhino remaster CD album has overwhelming bass which is what most of us want from this group but all the vocals, bongos, timbali's, cowbell and brass seem to sound pushed back. When I compare the Youtube posting which is much quieter I can hear all this detail. The CD is much louder and obscures a lot of detail.

    Just do a simple volume experiment on this quiet version and raise the volume. Everything quickly goes BLAAAAH!
    Listen for Cetera's 'Ss' sounds when he calls out "Salsa" around 22 seconds in.



    It's almost impossible to fix this. I was always told by audiophile high end system vendors that all music on a good system should sound good at ALL VOLUMES! Really?! Not in my experience!
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  19. Grant

    Grant Living in the 90s

    Location:
    United States
    It's a well-known fact that Lee Loughnane told the guy who did the 2002 remasters to compress the sound. That's why the details are pushed down and obscured.

    A good audiophile system should make bad sources sound bad.

    What I want to hear from Chicago is the crisp, clean, clear hi-hat and cymbal crashes on the albums they recorded at the Caribou Ranch. A lot of artists who recorded there didn't like the sound of that place, but I think it sounded great.
     
  20. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Then I must have the best audiophile system I've ever had because I've had my share of bad sound! LOL!

    But seriously while I was a way I tackled the Mongonucleosis piece again and lifted quite a bit of detail including the crisp, clean, clear hi-hat and cymbal crashes. And Cetera's "Salsa" is much louder and clearer. His 'S' sound is way up in 8kHz to 12kHz but have to keep the brass from getting too hot. And I was still able to retain quite a bit of the Roland piano bass line. I've been obsessed with retaining the right bell tone timbre between the bongo intro and the big hollow ring of the timbali flourishes.

    It was fun but I don't see myself ever doing this for a living.
     
    ghost rider likes this.
  21. Share a sample?
     
    ghost rider likes this.
  22. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Do you know why Loughnane would want that kind of sound?
     
  23. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Not sure that would be allowed here due to copyright and licensing issues.

    The gorts didn't do a take down with my Black Sabbath War Pigs treatment A/B 30 second sample a while back.

    Right now I have to go back and reduce the brass because it's a bit too harsh after a fresh listen. That's another issue I have with the wack-a-mole EQ'ing where one part sound great on one end and something else breaks on the other.
     
  24. Tim Lookingbill

    Tim Lookingbill Alfalfa Male

    Location:
    New Braunfels, TX
    Can you hear the compression in the YouTube posting or murky detail that sounds pushed back into the mix?

    I just discovered something else I missed again in all the re-edits on the original CD file and now notice is in the final version and it's the L/R channel shift toward the right. It gets real loud at the end with Pankow's trombone blasts that are only playing on the right channel with rhythmic call backs from the Roland piano on the left which gets drowned out.
     
  25. Stan94

    Stan94 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Paris, France
    How do you calibrate your recoding gear for -18dbfs? For instance I've got a MOTU M2 device with a VU meter. I also monitor with RX.
     

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