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vinyl to digital
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Sonic Purity



Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

broz wrote:
I use a Technics SL-1200 with a Shure M97eX cartridge. From there I go to a Rolls preamp, to a Yamaha HTR 5860 receiver. My computer is a MacBook Pro, and I'm using Amadeus Pro 1.3.3. I'm using the built in A/D converter on the Mac. The gear is certainly not audiophile stuff, but not the bottom end of the line either.

I'm trying to get the best quality (within reason) from my vinyl. I have several questions related to that goal. The quality I get right now, is actually pretty dang decent...


Anything specific you're wanting to improve?

[I have no answer to Q1]

Quote:
Q2) My preamp is kinda cheap, and I could be convinced to get a better one. Could I plug the turntable directly into the Mac? I noted that Amadeus has an RIAA equalization option, so maybe... Seems the signal level would be too low for that sort of thing. I can't disable that RIAA eq on the preamp...


Bad idea to go direct into the Mac. The Mac D/A is designed for a line-level input, which it currently is getting. My understanding is that Amadeus having RIAA is for situations where someone does not have access to a proper RIAA-equalized preamp and is forced to record "flat" (and have Amadeus fix the E.Q.). I know of no reason to use Amadeus' RIAA E.Q. preferentially over that in an external preamp. I am not familiar with the Rolls, yet between the 1970s and mid-1990s when i was measuring these things, virtually every phono preamp section i dealt with in home audio gear was _very_ accurate in terms of following the RIAA (or IEC extension) E.Q. curve. At least some DJ mixers do tend to roll off the bass a bit to avoid feedback.

Quote:
Q3) How big a benefit would I see by getting a better D/A converter? Presumably, the one on the Mac is less than optimal. My results now are decent, but if I can do something to improve the quality, I might do it.


Opinions differ on this. I am a mid-fi person, though i did work as a repair professional fixing both mid-fi and high-end audio components for about 13 years, so was exposed to some of what the high end had to offer. As you pointed out, like many here, i too have (and continue to) digitize many LPs and other vinyl bits. The source recordings so far have been commercial releases between OK and like-new condition, yet being mainstream commercial have their own imperfections and limitations. No audiophile vinyl digitizations yet.

I use the built-in A/D on my PowerMac 8600/300 running OS 9.1 most of the time. Due to bugs and substandard metering with Amadeus II, i do the digital capture with Coaster 1.1.3. Recently, i have been moving the raw AIFF files over to an OS X system (PPC running Tiger 10.4.11) and using Amadeus II or Pro to do the editing and ClickRepair to do the de-clicking. (Previously, i did everything with Amadeus II on the 8600. The manual Amadeus click repairs worked well, yet were very slow. ClickRepair is very fast and does even better.)

I'm running an SL-1200 Mk. II (Stanton 681 EEE-S or whatever they're on recently) feeding a Yamaha R-300 (circa 1982) receiver phono preamp section, with the Record Out of the Yamaha directly feeding the 8600. Via careful level adjustment, i have been able to capture everything the records i have digitized have had to offer, short of whatever truly top-end turntable/cartridge/A/D setups might do. Given my experiences, i do not feel that my more modest setup is the limiting factor, and do not feel i am missing much in the digitizations (44.1 kHz 16 bit).

The results usually wind up as standard CD-DA audio CDs for the extended family and myself. One extended family member is a retired professional French Horn player in Budapest (Hungary), who has been blown away hearing my CD reissues of some of his performances that the label has not and will not reissue itself on CD... done from used vinyl! Others have responded similarly.

The point: i have not found the built-in A/D on my older Mac lacking, given source material limitations. If someone handed me a well-recorded live recording on analog reel-to-reel tape with an actual dynamic range greater than 50 dB, then yes, my Mac's A/D would or could be a limiting factor, and i would want to go for a superior outboard device (and likely higher bit and sampling rates). Probably the same for a pristine audiophile vinyl record, and i might prefer a superior turntable and/or cartridge and/or preamp in addition.

It's great to get opinions, yet what really matters is what *you* and anyone else who may be in your intended audience for the final results of your digitizations experiences. I'm pretty confident that the A/D in your MBP is at least as good, and likely superior to, what is in my 9600. If you and your audience are fully satisfied with the results, why go further? If you notice specific issues, then ask about those, and the many people here with expertise will have good suggestions.

As a point of reference, my digitizations from good vinyl sources, with the equipment listed above, produce CDs that tend to be extremely hard to distinguish from CDs from analog tape masters without very critical listening. Other vinyl sources give themselves away with groove wear and/or stylus mistracking artifacts, or maybe an occasional click or soft pop that ClickRepair and Amadeus and myself all have not been able to exorcise (or chose not to take the time to fully remove). Some of the records have a low S/N ratio and/or were pressed on bad vinyl so even though clean they have "groove rumble" that gives away the source. If your results are along these lines or better, i suggest that you might want to enjoy the wonders of the setup you have, and the amazing results Amadeus and the rest of your setup can provide!

My one suggestion: try feeding the Rolls preamp directly into the Mac instead of having it first pass through the Yamaha. Compare the residual noise and hum of this method vs. your usual. If they are for all practical purposes the same, enjoy the convenience of the hookup you've been using. Otherwise, one might be very slightly less noisy than the other.

Enjoy!
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broz



Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: re: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

Wow, THANKS for the response to my questions. Very very helpful!

My goal is to capture what I can from my rather extensive collection, and then maybe sell it. Vinyl takes up a lot of room . While I love the cover art, and all the nostalgia I get from the vinyl, what I really love is the music. I could gather up that music in digital form, and let someone else enjoy the vinyl.

Or not.

As I mentioned, the results I'm getting are decent, and maybe just decent enough. Without knowing the results from an outboard A/D converter, I really don't know if it's a worthy investment. The preamp is cheap, and perhaps I could get better sound with a better preamp. Is that worth the expense? I believe that might be too much to ask in a forum such as this. It's all so subjective.

Again, thanks for the response. VERY helpful!
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CDJonah_alt



Joined: 15 Mar 2007
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:51 pm    Post subject: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

Please understand, this comment is made with no knowledge, so it may be
off the wall -- but that won't keep me from making it!

Try doing a recording of about 30 seconds with the turntable off and
check the noise level. If this is, say -50 to -60 dB below the peak of
the record, a better preamp would probably not help. In addition, you
could try using that signal with the Amadeus denoising to improve the
signal.

I have used the denoising and it seems to work fairly well if the noise
level is _well below_ the signal. But I have not tried the above recipe.

Chuck

broz wrote:
Quote:
Wow, THANKS for the response to my questions. Very very helpful!

My goal is to capture what I can from my rather extensive collection, and then maybe sell it. Vinyl takes up a lot of room . While I love the cover art, and all the nostalgia I get from the vinyl, what I really love is the music. I could gather up that music in digital form, and let someone else enjoy the vinyl.

Or not.

As I mentioned, the results I'm getting are decent, and maybe just decent enough. Without knowing the results from an outboard A/D converter, I really don't know if it's a worthy investment. The preamp is cheap, and perhaps I could get better sound with a better preamp. Is that worth the expense? I believe that might be too much to ask in a forum such as this. It's all so subjective.

Again, thanks for the response. VERY helpful!




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broz



Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:12 am    Post subject: Denoising, and all that Reply with quote

Good advice. There are some kinds of noise I like... the occasional click I hear from vinyl is just fine, for instance. I do edit out needle drops and lead ins, and am seriously considering using a hipass filter to cut off any sound below 50 Hz. I've been told that Normalizing is also a good thing to do.

I have never set the recording level... I used to have to set that for recording to tape many years ago, but figured Amadeus could handle that. True? Should I be concerned with clipping?
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CDJonah_alt



Joined: 15 Mar 2007
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:40 am    Post subject: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

You definitely should be worried about clipping, but if you haven't
heard it, you probably don't have it.

Personally, I would not get too paranoid about filling the entire
dynamic range -- there is some information on the web that suggests that
the maximum dynamic range of a vinyl record is only 12 bits. Is that
really true, or is an old husband's tale. If you believe it, recording
at 10% should be satisfactory. I personally try for 25%. Whatever the
real numbers are, the dynamic range is considerably larger than magnetic
tape, so the care we used to take for tape is really not necessary.
(note, this is my opinion; others may have different views -- I would be
interested if you have any real data).

Chuck

broz wrote:
Quote:
Good advice. There are some kinds of noise I like... the occasional click I hear from vinyl is just fine, for instance. I do edit out needle drops and lead ins, and am seriously considering using a hipass filter to cut off any sound below 50 Hz. I've been told that Normalizing is also a good thing to do.

I have never set the recording level... I used to have to set that for recording to tape many years ago, but figured Amadeus could handle that. True? Should I be concerned with clipping?




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Sonic Purity



Joined: 10 Nov 2007
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Location: Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:27 am    Post subject: Re: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

broz wrote:
Quote:
Good advice. There are some kinds of noise I like... the occasional click I hear from vinyl is just fine, for instance. I do edit out needle drops and lead ins, and am seriously considering using a hipass filter to cut off any sound below 50 Hz. I've been told that Normalizing is also a good thing to do.

I have never set the recording level... I used to have to set that for recording to tape many years ago, but figured Amadeus could handle that. True? Should I be concerned with clipping


What is leading to the consideration for 50 Hz highpass? Do you have issues there and below?

Amadeus can handle a very wide dynamic range. Your hardware might not be able to do so. More below.

CDJonah_alt wrote:

You definitely should be worried about clipping, but if you haven't
heard it, you probably don't have it.

Personally, I would not get too paranoid about filling the entire
dynamic range -- there is some information on the web that suggests that
the maximum dynamic range of a vinyl record is only 12 bits. Is that
really true, or is an old husband's tale. If you believe it, recording
at 10% should be satisfactory. I personally try for 25%. Whatever the
real numbers are, the dynamic range is considerably larger than magnetic
tape, so the care we used to take for tape is really not necessary.
(note, this is my opinion; others may have different views -- I would be
interested if you have any real data).

Chuck


I have to disagree with Chuck's statement about the dynamic range being considerably larger than magnetic tape... at least for my Macs. Yes, in theory it is. In practice, the analog stage imperfections of the Mac and external systems usually will limit the effective dynamic range.

In my years as a professional home audio equipment technician, i measured the S/N of an awful lot of tape decks, mostly cassette though also home reel-to-reel (and a few pro models). The non-pro stuff very consistently had an unweighted S/N of right around 42-45 dB (cassette, noise reduction Off) to maybe 50 dB (home reel-to-reels, e.g. TEAC "home studio" models). This was measured on very good (analog) test equipment that had no trouble accurately measuring out to -100 dB.

How many more dB can be added at the top to get the overall dynamic range is variable and subject to aesthetic considerations. I tended to not like to saturate the tape much at all, so peaks were maybe +10 dB above reference level, if that (VU meter basically not going over 0 reference level). So maybe a dynamic range of 52-60 dB unweighted for the non-pro tape systems i dealt with.

On my 8600/300 DAW system (where Amadeus cannot record), Coaster 1.1.3 shows peak residual noise of around -50 dB unweighted when i have my Yamaha R300 and Technics SL 1200 Mk. II hooked up for vinyl digitization. That is on the Coaster meters, and i have done absolutely nothing to verify their accuracy/bearing on reality. I do listen carefully to the highly amplified residual noise during setup, to ensure that it is clean, and it is: nothing but hiss and sometimes some very, very, very deeply buried hum a good 10 to 20 dB below the hiss that i have not been able to further lower. Subjectively, the residual noise with this A/D setup seems to match or be a little better than the cassette tape systems (probably like the cassette systems with Dolby B engaged and operating properly). With 0 reference level being 0 dB full scale (dBFS), signal-to-noise and dynamic range become basically the same number: about 50 dB. There is no way that my system nor others i have worked with are anywhere close to the theoretical 96 dB dynamic range promised by 16 bits and the "6dB per bit" rule (mentioned amongst other places around Table 3 of this article and the Wikipedia Signal-to-noise ratio article).

In terms of vinyl, this factoid became wedged in my head from one or more forgotten sources in the 1970s: S/N around 65 dB for vinyl. That would probably be for good vinyl, which many commercial recordings were not. Add maybe 10 dB for peaks above reference level for maybe 75 dB at best. 75 dB divided by 6 dB/bit = 12.5 dB, so yes i would say that vinyl being a 12 bit (at best) medium is really true.

So, assuming the Coaster meters have any bearing on reality, my in-reality 8 to 9 bit equivalent 16-bit system would be about as good as home analog tape systems, and would be about as critical in terms of level setting, except being digital and having zero forgiveness for clipping (anything over 0 dBFS, even 0.1 dB over), more critical in practice. One can now see from these numbers why i would not want to digitize a really good audiophile-grade vinyl record with an actual 75 dB of dynamic range on my system as it is. Yet with the real-world dynamic range rarely getting even close to 40 dB due to the quality of the records and the nature of the program material, i have no problem capturing "everything" on my setup from the records i have digitized so far (punk, New Wave, pop, indie rock, reggae, "easy listening" [1960s definition], and Eastern European classical on substandard vinyl, mostly).

Taking advantage of the fact that i am digitizing pre-recorded analog material that will not have any sudden unpredictable level changes (part of the nature of live recording), i do spend a good bit of time setting levels so that the loudest part of an LP side hits a maximum peak of -0.3 to 0 dBFS. This is for the program material, not clicks nor pops, which are distortion already, and can clip as much as they want, as they will be removed. This puts the audio as high as possible, which makes best use of the linear PCM system (minimizing weaknesses in the A/D converter, such as perhaps poor dither or discrete low-level tones, and staying as far away as possible from my system's all-too-close noise floor), and effectively normalizes the audio during the recording process (and i can use Amadeus' Amplify command with negative numbers if i need to decrease the level later so the sound pleasingly matches other sources).

Since many Mac users seem to use Griffin's iMic, i might as well mention that the sample of the older round gray iMic i tested was no better than the 8600's built-in A/D. The only other A/D i have spent any time with to date was an M-Audio Transit USB from earlier this decade. I do not have solid numbers for the Transit, yet it was very clear from listening (to the noise profile) during actual use that its A/D section is superior to the older iMic i tested and my 8600. Note: my 8600, 9600/350, and a couple of 8500s i have worked with all test out about the same, with the 8500s being a bit worse than the x600 models. The only running newer hardware here is the G4 AGP upon which i am typing and my True Love's PowerBook 15" Last G4 model. I do not have solid numbers for these, and have not used them enough for digitizations for even a subjective sense.

So... i would not suggest getting paranoid or worried about filling the dynamic range, yet at least for critical work, i myself do like to best use it (and enjoy the process of doing so!), and i recommend it to anyone whose overall system has real-world limitations that do not allow them to "throw away spare bits". Even if one has a killer external A/D that truly delivers unweighted S/N in the 80 to 90 dB range, one would need a matching great phono preamp and cartridge (the SL 1200 II or newer should be OK on this count if the suspension is properly set up) and everything properly wired and not affected by electromagnetic interference. Then one would need source records of true audiophile grade, in mint condition.

I definitely agree with what (i think) Chuck is saying in the sense that if one has to make a level error, it is vastly better to be too low with the recording level than too high and clip, even a little bit! On the rare occasions when i have to digitize in a hurry and do not have the luxury of fine-tuning the levels to the -0.3 to 0 dBFS range, i shoot for the maximum peak hitting -3 dBFS, and will accept anything down to about -6 dBFS. I know my equipment well enough that i can get this level setting very fast on one try with just a few seconds' run of the source material.

Looking forward to others' thoughts and numbers,
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broz



Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 3:22 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the info Reply with quote

I would have responded earlier, but I have been busy traveling, and because there was a lot to digest. I've not had time to try things, and examine the results.
What I most value is the obviously educated perspective. My perspective on recording vinyl is far more narrow. Coming from recording to tape to recording to digital, is a pretty big change. The digital recording has been fun, but has more factors to consider. My tape recording was done with a ReVox b77, with an outboard Dolby B unit. I guess some of my sensibilities come from working with that gear.

I plan to read what was written again, and make good use of it. If I have more questions, I'll post them.

I very, very much appreciate your comments!!
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Lou Kash



Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
a Shure M97eX cartridge

I bought one last year for a Thorens and I returned it to the shop the very next day. Luckily I got my money back. I showed the salesperson a sonograph comparison of the M97eX, my old Technics T4P cartrige on another turntable and a no name cheap cartrige I've been temporarily using on the Thorens. That argument likely impressed him so he didn't even argue...

Quote:
Q3)

Mostly I record to the built-in inputs on a MBP - and before that a PowerBook G4 - set to 24 bit/44.1 kHz, connected to the Tape Out on my amp (a pretty solid mid-range device, but nothing worth to mention). The turntable is a Technics SL-QX-300 with a mid-range Orthophone T4P cartridge (forgot which model). For me that's good enough for used rock/soul/"loud" jazz records from the 60s/70s, or, in other words, it sounds better than anything I've tried so far, including the said M97eX on the Thorens.

Anyway... with 24-bit you don't have to worry about the dynamics that much. You can leave plenty of headroom and normalize later without any dynamic loss. However, depending on the kind of your audio material, you may need to use a good dithering algorithm when "downgrading" to 16 bit for audio CD. Amadeus does't have any except for what CoreAudio can do; there was a thread here recently on this topic. For that reason, although I still use Amadeus every now and then for certain special tasks, recently I actually switched to a more sophisticated audio editor for recording, mastering (not only vinyl) and exporting to other formats. (Its name rhymes with "Shave Editor", but it's not actually a competitor to Amadeus, as it's already more of a pro tool.)

Quote:
you could try using that signal with the Amadeus denoising to improve the signal. I have used the denoising and it seems to work fairly well if the noise level is _well below_ the signal. But I have not tried the above recipe

I have found the built-in Amadeus noise reduction to be too aggressive for vinyl records. If you all are making such buzz (what a pun line... ;) about bits, dB, Hz, kHz and what-do-I-know, you should definitely check out the best tools on the market for cleaning vinyl recordings: DeClick and DeNoise from Brian Davies. Their Java interface is a bit strange, but the results are amazing. I hope he will once release them as AU plugins as well, for use directly within audio editors.
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Lou Kash



Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the info Reply with quote

broz wrote:
My tape recording was done with a ReVox b77

Yum, B77, I have one too. The high speed model with 7.5/15 ips. These are quite scarce even here in Switzerland. I used to use it for mixdown in my home studio before I went digital about 6-7 years ago.
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broz



Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:30 pm    Post subject: vinyl quality! Reply with quote

The process I've got going for converting vinyl to digital is pretty good. I'm pleased with the results. They would not be as good as they are without the input from this group!

I gotta say, my memory of the sound quality of some of my albums is a whole lot different than reality. Some of these disks are just awful pressings. Some are outstanding.

I have Brothers in Arms (Dire Straits). The vinyl sounds really really good. I compared it with the commercial CD a friend loaned me. The vinyl is WAY better sounding. The difference is not subtle, it's dramatic. I think that CD was the first to be DDD, digital all the way thru the recording process. Regardless, it sounds pretty harsh, and my vinyl is just outstanding. My digitization sounds far better than the commercial CD.

Other albums are not so wonderful. Lots of surface noise, tape hiss, etc. Where I was reluctant to use noise reduction before, now I'm seriously considering it. I agree with someone here that the noise reduction in Amadeus Pro is too drastic. I have a jazz album (Charles Mingus - Nostalgia in Times Square) that has some lead in studio chatter. With Amadeus Pro noise reduction, it sounds like single side band on amateur radio. Without it, there's surface noise. Not so many clicks as just surface noise.

I've been very careful with my albums, usually playing them once to copy to tape, and then playing the tapes to avoid wear on the vinyl. This surface noise is coming from the manufacturing process.

I might be worth it to just buy the remastered version of the album on CD.

anyhow, this is a fun process! it's great to hear all this music I have not heard in awhile. Wish there were more hours in the day.
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Lou Kash



Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:19 am    Post subject: Re: vinyl quality! Reply with quote

broz wrote:
I might be worth it to just buy the remastered version of the album on CD.

Watch out, not every "digitally remastered" reissue is necessarily worth it.

A FIRST hand experience: Right now I'm producing a couple of beat and jazz reissues/compilations - stuff from the late 60s until the early 80s, going to be released both on CD and vinyl. From the original record company I've got 24-bit transfers from their analog master tapes. Recently, for one of the projects I have already passed the files unedited to a mastering studio (chosen by the reissue label). The studio is supposed to be a "good one", apparently they (or the albums they mastered) even won some Grammies or something. Nevertheless, the studio guy failed to produce a satisfying master so far, and I had to refuse already his 3rd attempt and I'm not holding my breath for the 4th one. To me it looks (and sounds) like he simply takes the originals, adds a bit of EQ, runs them all through a "brick" limiter and finally normalizes them to -0.1 dBFS. The result sounds "LOUD", definitely louder than the original, but it lacks any dynamics. Absolutely useless.
For a pretty objective comparison all you need to do is to normalize the track down to the approximate RMS level of the original, so you can hear it at the same loudness.
I have even tried to explain to the sound engineer by using screenshots, but apparently that didn't impress him much so far. See for yourselves:
http://external.loukash.com/waveform1_original_track.png
http://external.loukash.com/waveform2_remastered_track.png
http://external.loukash.com/waveform3_remastered_track_rms_down.png
(As a side note: The screenshots are quite obviously not from Amadeus, since Amadeus unfortunately doesn't have a very precise waveform preview at this zoom factor... note also my feature request here: http://www.hairersoft.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=736 )

So... before you spend lots of cash on "remastered" classic albums, you better double-check if the producers with their engineers also participate in the "Loudness War". If they do, do NOT support them. In my opinion, if anyone is supposedly killing music these days, it's not the so called "pirates", it's the "Loudness Warriors". All your loudness are belong to us! ;)

P.S. In my previous post there was an error: Brian Davies's software is called ClickRepair, not DeClick.
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Sonic Purity



Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:39 am    Post subject: Re: vinyl quality! Reply with quote

Lou Kash wrote:
To me it looks (and sounds) like he simply takes the originals, adds a bit of EQ, runs them all through a "brick" limiter and finally normalizes them to -0.1 dBFS. The result sounds "LOUD", definitely louder than the original, but it lacks any dynamics. Absolutely useless.
[...]
I have even tried to explain to the sound engineer by using screenshots, but apparently that didn't impress him much so far. See for yourselves:
http://external.loukash.com/waveform1_original_track.png
http://external.loukash.com/waveform2_remastered_track.png
http://external.loukash.com/waveform3_remastered_track_rms_down.png


This guy must be mixing for jackhammer operators... sheesh! Out for the "absolute minimum dynamic range" contest win, i guess.

Thanks for sharing this... here's hoping the responsible party(ies) come to their senses.
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Martin Hairer
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:04 am    Post subject: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

Quote:
(As a side note: The screenshots are quite obviously not from
Amadeus, since Amadeus unfortunately doesn't have a very precise
waveform preview at this zoom factor... note also my feature request
here: http://www.hairersoft.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=736 )

OK, if you type

defaults write com.HairerSoft.AmadeusPro HSNoAntialias 1

in your terminal and then run the copy at <http://www.hairersoft.com/Downloads/AmadeusPro.zip
Quote:
, then you'll have antialias turned off. Bizarrely, this seems to
result in *slower* display on my machine... (I should probably bite
the bullet one of these days and use OpenGL instead of Quartz for
waveform rendering, that would certainly make it quite a bit faster.)
Regards,

Martin

HairerSoft
http://www.hairersoft.com/


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Lou Kash



Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject: Re: vinyl to digital Reply with quote

Martin Hairer wrote:
defaults write com.HairerSoft.AmadeusPro HSNoAntialias 1

Martin, thanks a lot. I like much better this way, particularly when zooming in to see the actual curves.

However, in the meatime since my original request I have realised that disabling anti-aliasing is not the complete solution. Apparently it's also the math which calculates the actual curves. (Pardon me if that sounds obvious to you but I'm not a mathematician... :) ) I've noticed that because Wave Editor offers several modes for displaying the waveform, like Peak, RMS, Mean, and view options like Magnitude or Min/Max, etc. The above screenshots were made with the setting Peak + Magnitude, which bypasses anti-aliasing at this zoom level. (Wave Editor doesn't offer a true option for disabling anti-aliasing, but from what I see now in Amadeus, I will likely post a feature request as well...)

This is how the very same waveform from fig. 2 looks in Amadeus with anti-aliasing disabled:
http://external.loukash.com/waveform2_remastered_track_amadeus.png

While Amadeus apparently displays an average value of some kind, Wave Editor (and many other pro editors as well) rather displays the sum of all peaks. While that looks sort of "brutal", as the track doesn't sound as distorted as it may appear here, it's much better for literally getting the "big picture" of how many peaks are present in a track.

Sonic Purity wrote:
This guy must be mixing for jackhammer operators... sheesh! Out for the "absolute minimum dynamic range" contest win, i guess.

OK, to be fair, this screenshot (fig. 2) captures his 2nd mastering attempt which was just nuts. And in case I wasn't clear enough, fig. 3 is the very same master, only with RMS level lowered to the approx. same loudness as the original track, exposing the shave-off of the dynamics.
The subsequent masters were slightly better, but the guy still failed to adapt the individual loudness of each track to make them play at equal loudness: the soft tracks were acceptable, but loud tracks like this one (a rock/soul recording from 1969) were still brickwall-limited with hundreds - if not thousands - potential intersample clips.

Sonic Purity wrote:
here's hoping the responsible party(ies) come to their senses

Thanks. Not sure about the said mastering engineer yet, but the responsible editor absolutely accepts my points. But although he's in this business for many years now, until now he hasn't been very lucky with mastering studios for his releases. I have a couple of records from this label, both vinyl and CDs, and many of them don't sound very good in terms of mastering. Since it's mainly a reissue/compilation label, there's often a possibility to compare to an earlier release. OK, it's an independent label, so he has to watch his budget very carefully. And with the current studio, the editor actually thought to find a top guy for an attractive price in the same city as the label is located. But my experience tells me that he still should continue looking...
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broz



Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:12 pm    Post subject: Clicks, Pops, and noise Reply with quote

Just wanted to say that my vinyl to digital transformation has been picking up steam again. I've got an outboard A/D D/A converter and a new preamp and it made a heck of a difference in noise level. The noise I had when using the Mac as A/D was not objectionable, but was there even when the turntable wasn't spinning. NOW there's no noise whatsoever when the turntable isn't spinning.
So that solved one problem. The next was cleaning up clicks and pops. The tool in AP is too tedious for me. I purchased and tried SoundSoap Pro. Used it for about 8 solid hours. I feel it does a lousy job. No click and pop setting I chose got rid of clicks and pops without clobbering other important sound.
Many people recommended ClickRepair. I got the demo, and tried it. I spent probably 8 hours with it, on and off. I studied what there was to study, read the manual 3 times, and went to work. Indeed, it does a MUCH better job than SoundSoap. The interface is dreadful, however. It's bad enough that I can't really be productive. The automatic settings clobber sound I want to keep, and the manual methods are far too time consuming. The audio selection bit at the top of the window doesn't work right, and nobody can convince me otherwise. Yes, I read the manual, and no, it doesn't work right. You can't select the click or pop to preview the change in any meaningful way. This just costs me time. I don't like it when something wastes my time. The best thing the software has going for it is the price.
Then I tried iZotope RX. iZotope RX
Now I'm impressed. I've only been using it a few hours, and cleaned up an LP that never got cleaned up to my satisfaction with the previous solutions. This software rocks. It's more expensive than the other two I mentioned, but worth it to me.
Now, I see a problem... When I use the plugin inside AP, it misbehaves. Using the standalone app, I can process the file and it sounds very good. The resulting output matches what I heard in the preview. When I use the plugin, with the same settings, in AP, the output sound doesn't match the preview at all. In fact, the output sounds terribly muffled. The amplitude has been diminished by about half as well. Essentially, it's hosed. One big difference between the two processes is that I'm working with an Amadeus Pro file format in AP, and an exported AIFF in RX.

Anyone know what I'm doing wrong?[/url]
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