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Optimal quality converting vinyl music to digital files

Explorer ,
Sep 16, 2023 Sep 16, 2023

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I've read various posts and articles related to my questions, but none fully provide the info I am seeking. Most seem to be focused on voice recording and podcast optimization and editing.

 

Goal: convert vinyl record music tracks to digital files

Tools: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB (w/ USB out & built-in preamp), MacBook Pro w? M1 Max, Adobe Audition 23.1.6.3 (latest)

 

I've recorded full album sides as WAV 48000 Hz Stereo 32-bit floating-point.

  • Peak ampitude: -5.04 dB
  • Total RMS: -22.02 dB
  • Dynamic range: 44.00 dB
  • Loudness: -19.02 LUFS

 

I'm planning on applying the Clip/Pop Eliminator effect and then exporing ranges as individual WAV tracks. I'll export as AAC or convert to AAC (best quality) in the Music app so it will synch with iCloud and play on all my devices.

 

Questions:

  • Is this the best format and settings for what I am trying to accomplish?
  • What ampitude settings are most important and what are the suggested numbers to hit?
  • Should I apply different effects, more effects, or none at all?
  • Any other suggestions for me to get best quality and volume?
  • Any suggestings for a video or article covering this topic?

 

Thanks! 🙏🏼

TOPICS
Export , How to , Import

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Community Expert ,
Sep 17, 2023 Sep 17, 2023

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Pretty much all of the answers are on this forum somewhere, but I'll freely admit that finding them isn't that easy. One of the more significant ones is here, where we looked at some of the real issues to do with ripping vinyl - which isn't really about what you do with Audition, or in fact any software, but how you set up a turntable to get the best out of what is basically a rather flawed storage medium. It's worth re-emphasising that in terms of distortion, you really can't get any better result than the signal straight out of the cartridge. All you are doing after that is removing identifiable artifacts - like clicks and noise. And when you do that, it reveals much more clearly what is left - hence the emphasis on setting up your system to be optimal. It's worth checking out other posts on reducing noise - that isn't quite as straightforward as it seems either; it's very easy to overdo it, but there are techniques you can use that will minimise the inevitable changes it will make.

 

The other thing to note about vinyl is that whenever it's cut, compromises have to be made. Generally all the bass is shoved into the middle of the stereo sound field (to stop the needle flying out of the groove if it was all in one channel), but you don't necessarily want to leave it like that. In general, most (but not all) stereo records benefit from a widening of the stereo field, especially below 500Hz. It makes more difference than you might think...

 

As for your specific questions: either 44.1 k or 48k is fine, as is recording straight to 32-bit FP wav files. Leave them in that format until you want to make a distribution copy - make the format change the last thing you do. Amplitude settings don't matter as long as you don't hit 0dB. That said, clicks and pops often come out at higher levels than the wanted sound, and it's actually quite important to record these high-amplitude signals correctly - it makes it a lot easier for the click and pop eliminator to identify and remove them. Some you may have to do manually - you can't win them all. As for applying effects - well it depends upon your definition of an 'effect'. I don't think that there's anything you should add that hasn't already been covered unless you have a specifically good reason for doing so - and they are rare, but not unknown - for instance not all phono preamps (the bit before your USB connection) are really up to scratch, although I don't think that Audio Technica preamps are that bad... The suggestions for quality improvements are either in this thread or the other one I linked to (just ignore the last bit about Audacity). There may well be videos somewhere that cover aspects of this, but you have to watch out; many of them are likely to be thinly disguised adverts for kit. The link about setting up turntables isn't, though - you really should check that one out, even though it's not a video.

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Explorer ,
Sep 17, 2023 Sep 17, 2023

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Thanks so much Steve! You are obviously very knowledgeable about this stuff and I appreaciate you taking the time to respond to my post. I've read a few of your responses elsewhere on Adobe's discussion boards. It seems like I'm on the right track, but I wanted to get a bit more input before I record much more. I'll check out the links you shared and maybe do a few tests with the Clip/Pop Eliminator effect to see if it's needed or not. I wasn't planning on adding anything else unless suggested.

 

Thanks again!

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