Why can't I get more input level when ripping vinyl?

New Here ,
Feb 08, 2022 Feb 08, 2022

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Hi all,  When I record with Audition CS5.5:  MusicHall-TT5.1 into Sony STR-DH190 then cabled (approximately 15', RCA L/R <--> 3.5mm into  the "shared" line-in/mic port on a Creative SoundBlasterZ card.  All the setting I can find are maxed at 100% but I can't levels in Audition above ~ -21.  Years ago, different equipment and using CoolEdit2000 I often had to back off the machine's line levels to avoid clipping.

A few days ago, I hadn't set the Creative control panel for the "multi-purpose" input port to Line-in (it was set to Mic).  Those recording levels  had to be backed down -- but the audio was garbage.

What piece am I missing?  A pre-amp?  I contacted MH to find out if the 5.1 requires a  pre-amp, _even though_ the Sony DH190 has decdicated Phono inputs. But alas MH makes good turntables (although I've got minor critiques) and doesn't pay a lot of attention to its clients.

Any body have recommendations/suggestions for settings or equipment to daisy chain into this hodge-podge?   I'm not averse to replacing the SB card. I have heard from other parties: (essentially) Why use that?

So, thanks in advance, and thanks for listening.

 

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Adobe Community Professional , Feb 09, 2022 Feb 09, 2022
Quite frankly, if you are getting a max level of -21dB on a sound device with a claimed dynamic range of 116dB, you haven't got a problem (even though it's made by Creative...)  Nothing you are going to record has a dynamic range of 95dB! So if you normalise your signal to 0dB afterwards you won't have compromised the noise floor in the slightest. Everything you've connected to the input will have a much higher noise floor and lower dynamic range, and this is what will determine what the noise f...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2022 Feb 09, 2022

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Quite frankly, if you are getting a max level of -21dB on a sound device with a claimed dynamic range of 116dB, you haven't got a problem (even though it's made by Creative...)  Nothing you are going to record has a dynamic range of 95dB! So if you normalise your signal to 0dB afterwards you won't have compromised the noise floor in the slightest. Everything you've connected to the input will have a much higher noise floor and lower dynamic range, and this is what will determine what the noise floor is, especially if you're recording vinyl. It's the early stage noise that will always predominate - you have a comfortable 30dB of manouvring room there that you can use without penalty of adding any noise from later in the system.

 

In normal practice, you'd under-run a digital input by 12-15dB anyway to give you emergency headroom. I record to allow what I think are going to be the loudest peaks to hit -15dB - and normalize afterwards. Do this for vinyl, and also live recordings. All the noise I pick up is either from record surfaces, or the live background noise in the recording space - none is from the system.

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New Here ,
Feb 09, 2022 Feb 09, 2022

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Thank you sir,  I'm not an audio-engineer. So, not only was my problem perplexing, your answer is a challenge. I'm up to it and I get it.

I guess, my thought/fear was that such a weak signal coming through the wires from the source meant that, perhaps, not all the analog detail was making it to the Blastedcard.  Then when you amp it the lost info is exacerbated/highlighted by its absence. Yet, even, laboring under that misapprehnsion, when I did boost it and listened it sounded fine.

I suppose it may be similar to folks who think vinyl is warmer than CDs because of the discrete sampling, of which no human ear can discern.

btw, i've now added Normalize to my vocab. And found the option in Aud too.  thanks again

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2022 Feb 09, 2022

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You'd have to try pretty damned hard to lose information this way. Back in the bad old days, it's just possible that you could have ended up with a compromised noise floor, but because of dithering (which performs a little statistical magic), even then you wouldn't have lost any detail. If you want to lose detail, there are plenty of dodgy effects around that will help you do this!

 

As for the 'do CDs sound less warm than vinl' thing - well they can, but that's simply because they are a lot more accurate and less distorted, and if you start with better material, then it stays that way. When you consider the tortuous route that any recording takes before it makes it to vinyl, it's amazing that it sounds as good as it does, sometimes. And there are demonstrations around where there's absolute proof that analog waveforms are perfectly reproduced by CDs up to the limits of human hearing - even with relatively inexpensive converters. The best one I've seen is here where Monty very convincingly debunks the myths.

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