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In Reply to: RE: Digitizing albums posted by LtMandella on February 13, 2021 at 19:17:27
I was recording at 24-96 WAV at first but now record at 24-192 WAV so I have the most information to work with. I resample to 24-96 FLAC for the final conversion to my digital library except for my best LP's which stay at 24-192 FLAC. Storage space isn't a problem and I archive the WAV recordings after post-processing so I'll have them for possible future processing.
I use the Normalize function in Audacity to boost the amplitude of my recordings. I find that a -1.0dB peak keeps me out of trouble; some albums can be pushed to -0.5dB if needed. Otherwise there's a big difference in volume when I'm listening to music off the NAS drive. The normalization process doesn't seem to alter the sound if you don't push it too far. I've compared digital LP recordings to quality 24-96 and 24-192 download files of the same album and the LP recordings sound great. Subtly different, but equally engaging.
I also use the Amplify function prior to normalizing to reduce the amplitude of really high peaks. (Sounds counterintuitive but that's how it works.) Otherwise those peaks are used in the normalizing process as the limit and the overall amplitude isn't increased as much as needed. It's a bit of a trial and error process to find what works best for the amount of time you're willing to invest. I only edit the highest peaks, the ones that are noticeably above average. I find that a reduction of those peaks to about -4.0dB works well. I cannot tell the difference between the unaltered peaks and the reduced peaks.
One thing I don't bother with right now is extracting each song as a single file. I record each side of an album as a single track and just clean up the needle drop and pickup at the ends of the file using Audacity. I listen to entire sides of LP albums so why not listen to them that way as digital files. I do include "LP" in the album name and "S1" and "S2" in the titles so I can see that they're LP recordings and which side of the LP it is. For example, in the metadata it would look like this...
For side 1:
Album = Time Out LP
Title = Time Out S1
For side 2:
Album = Time Out LP
Title = Time Out S2
Have fun! It's a labor of love and the most difficult part was deciding to keep the turntable hooked up to the digital recorder to make recording easier. The new preamp I'm using doesn't have a TAPE OUT connection so I had to swap out the RCA cables each time I wanted to record, which meant I couldn't listen to the album while recording. But after listening to LPs while they're being recorded at 24-192 I decided the difference was so subtle, basically indistinguishable from the "straight wire" connection from the phono stage, that it wasn't really a trade-off.
PS: I still have my mmf-7 and use it occasionally. It's a good turntable and the upgraded 9cc tonearm on your mmf-7.1 is even better. If the turntable has been sitting in storage for a while you might want to replace the belt. Another thing to consider is putting the best cartridge you can budget for on the tonearm for recording. If you look at it as a per LP cost it doesn't seem so expensive. :-)
thank you. I will experiment with the Audacity techniques you mention, I bet they will help me.
I do have both a spare MMF belt AND a spare Grado gold, if I can find them after all these years...
One question, did you use a phone preamp with RIAA?
I am wondering if just using the Audactity digital RIAA eq would work.
But would the Grado gold output be too low without using a phono preamp?
If art interprets our dreams, the computer executes them in the guise of programs!
The Tascam recorder I use has the ability to add a lot of gain to the signal but I'd still use a phono preamp. I don't try to boost the signal too much during recording and don't mess around with changing gain for each LP to get max recording signal. I first experimented with several "hot" records to find where it got into the clipping zone and backed off just enough to keep it in the warning zone. I know that all my other LPs will be well below the clipping point. Set it and forget it since you can easily boost (normalize) the amplitude in Audacity.
As for RIAA equalization, my perspective is that a good phono stage has as good an equalization function as any software package. The only real advantage to the software approach in my opinion is if you've got some old discs that didn't use the conventional RIAA curves. Or, if you want to customize the sound like a tone control. Just more post-processing to deal with if you ask me.
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