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  • Optimum Sound Quality

    Posted on Kathy Stevens Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Optimum Sound Quality

    • This topic has 38 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago.
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      • #2277389 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        We have cartons of vinyl records, tapes, and CDs that we want to copy onto a hard drive and then play back music via external speakers.

        We are open to suggestions on how to optimize the sound quality flowing out of the computer and the best approach for digitizing the vinyl and tape recordings.

        The computer we will be using is a Windows 10 machine that includes: an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.

        It has integrated audio – Audio Codec: CX20642-31Z, High Definition (Azalia) 5.1 channel audio support, and Audio jack presence detection.  In addition, the PC has the Andrea Audio Commander app and an Andrea NC-185VM USB headset.

        Networking includes: Integrated Bluetooth 4.2 and Wireless LAN 802.11a/b/g/n/ac featuring Dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz) 2 x 2 technology (Interface: M.2, Transmission standards: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and Dual band: 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. In addition, the machine has LAN: 1000BASE-T ( Technology: Realtek RTL8111HSH, Data transfer speeds: up to 10/100/1000 Mb/s, and Transmission standards: 1000BASE-T Ethernet).

        Its External I/O Ports include: Front: 1 headphone/microphone combo; 1 microphone-in; 1 USB 3.1 Type-C™ Gen 2; 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1; 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Rear: 2 USB 2.0; 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1.

        Any recommendations for hardware modifications or upgrades?

        What is the best approach for digitizing the vinyl and tape recordings?

      • #2277401 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        CDs are easy, insert CD and rip to FLAC.

        Records are more difficult as you need to run via an amplifier. If the amp has “line out” you can plug that into the “line in” on your sound card (the light blue one), then use something like Audacity to record to FLAC. If you don’t have line out, use the headphone socket to connect to line in.

        Tapes can be line out from the tape player to line in on the PC.

        Cables required are RCA male to 3.5mm male stereo for line out / line in.
        6.5mm male to 3.5mm male for headphone – possibly 3.5 male to 3.5 male with a 6.5 male to 3.5 female adapter.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2277664 Reply
          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          And that amplifier will need to do RIAA equalization, this may be something s/w can do these days. Every year come winter I say now is the time to rip my 500 or so records to digital. Maybe next year.

          RIAA equalization is a form of pre-emphasis on recording and de-emphasis on playback. A recording is made with the low frequencies reduced and the high frequencies boosted, and on playback the opposite occurs. The net result is a flat frequency response, but with attenuation of high frequency noise such as hiss and clicks that arise from the recording medium

          See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization#The_RIAA_curve

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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          • #2277760 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            And that amplifier will need to do RIAA equalization

            That is why amps have “phono in” sockets. The equalization is done in the amp and you don’t need a separate box.

            I’d try the amp to line in on your audio card as a test to see how you fare. This will be the cheapest option and may be good enough for you.

            cheers, Paul

      • #2277548 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Does anyone have any thoughts re. audio quality?

        As mentioned at the top of the thread, our computer has integrated audio – Audio Codec: CX20642-31Z, High Definition (Azalia) 5.1 channel audio support.

        And I know that we have a graphic card to improve graphics quality.

        So, would a sound card improve audio output quality? If so, any recommendations?

        • #2277551 Reply
          NetDef
          AskWoody_MVP

          I’ve never been able to get perfect results on analog to digital conversion, and I threw some serious money at the problem a couple of years ago.  I found that no sound card upgrade made the slightest difference – they were all terrible.  What did work was a source that had a built in DAC and USB output – thus bypassing the whole audio card and line transmission noise problem.

          For vinyl records I used a turntable with a built in DAC and USB output to the computer.  Several models are available.  Expect to spend at least USD $200 or more for one with decent specs and a decent DAC.

          The Sony PS-LX310 is a good starter model with belt drive. I liked the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Direct-Drive Turntable better – and it did a “decent” job for my old records.

          For cassette tape conversion the best budget converter is the  Marantz Professional PMD-300CP.  But . . .  nothing I tried could get rid of the native noise from magnetic tapes.

          For Red-Book standard music CD’s, use a built-in CD player on your computer:  get the free music player/ripper FooBar2000.org and convert them directly to FLAC format for permanent archiving.   These are bit for bit exact copies, and you can later convert FLAC to other formats as needed on the fly (like the inferior MP3) without any problems.

          Remember to correctly tag every music file consistently, and accurately so your library can be managed.  (Foobar2000 helps with this.)

          And finally, I know you did not ask, but I use PLEX in private mode (not exposed as a service to the Internet) on a small server to manage my video and music library for general devices on my home network.  For full fidelity music on my big sound system I use a good quality USB to Tosh-link converter from that server running Music Player Daemon – (see https://www.musicpd.org/ ) with the optical cable feeding up from my basement to my main amplifier.  All music is cataloged and encoded in FLAC on that server for this purpose.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

          4 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2277668 Reply
            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            I’ve never been able to get perfect results on analog to digital conversion, and I threw some serious money at the problem a couple of years ago. I found that no sound card upgrade made the slightest difference – they were all terrible. What did work was a source that had a built in DAC and USB output – thus bypassing the whole audio card and line transmission noise problem.

            For vinyl records I used a turntable with a built in DAC and USB output to the computer. Several models are available. Expect to spend at least USD $200 or more for one with decent specs and a decent DAC.

            And then the 60 cycle hum problem is side stepped.

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
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      • #2277555 Reply
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        As @Paul-T has mentioned, Audacity is probably the most user friendly FREE utility for vinyl/ cassettes conversion to digital format.. mini-disks didn’t take off (remember those?)
        192kb bitrate is fine for MP3’s unless you have the acute hearing of a dog or owl you may wish to raise that at the cost of filesize. If you have other portable devices and wish to transfer the music later, I’d suggest using the MP3 format but, that’s entirely up to you.

        With regards to a sound card, I wouldn’t bother, unless you are in the music industry/ producing/ mixing etc.. I did have a Yamaha OPL3 (I think it was called) soundcard years ago specifically for mixing and audio/ midi input/output. When it came to games, it was useless. What you have is fine, there’s no need for a soundcard. Onboard sound chips have improved vastly over the years since the creative labs soundblaster series way back.

        | Win8.1 Pro x64 | Linux Hybrids x86/x64 | Win7 Pro x86/x64 Offline |
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      • #2277565 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        I’m not sure who Paul T is; I go by that name sometimes as well.

        I would certainly go to the engineers who work with this every day. at

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_for_Recorded_Sound_Collections

        Get connected to their listserve.

        Paul T Jackson

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      • #2277605 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        convert them directly to FLAC format for permanent archiving.   These are bit for bit exact copies

        They are not really exact copies, they are digitized and compressed, but very close.

        192kb bitrate is fine for MP3’s

        I don’t agree. Archive requires the best possible quality and you can decide to reduce that quality for copies on external devices if you are short on space.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2277687 Reply
          NetDef
          AskWoody_MVP

          They are not really exact copies, they are digitized and compressed, but very close.

          If you use a quality encoder, the digital source CD music track and the target FLAC file are in fact bit for bit accurate matches.  The problem you might be alluding to is not about the format, it’s about the tools.  Not all are equal.  Some change the bit-rate (looking at default settings for ffmpeg) and some are user-error.

          It’s true FLAC is compressed, but just like a ZIP file it’s lossless compression.  Compare to MP3 which is lossy compression to further reduce file size at the expense of no longer being a precise copy.

          Not sure this is the forum or venue for an extended discussion – but this topic is one I’ve researched repeatedly and deeply over the years.  I suffer from audio addiction . . . . 😉

          Here’s an informative article about the recurring argument about FLAC not truly being better than an uncompressed format.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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      • #2277693 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        While this is primarily a Web site for Windows users and their issues, it does include Macs and Linux PCs ones as well.

        The same question about Windows posed here can be asked by those of us using Macs, that off the box only allow adjusting the volume of sound, set its input and output channels — and that is about it. Nathan Parker advised me, earlier on, to get the “Boom 2” application. This application reinforces the sound to a chosen level and allows adjusting the frequency response of the audio channel. When properly used to make the adjustments, it significantly improves the sound, even when it is coming from the little built-in speakers of my Mac laptop (which are not too bad, for a laptop).

        It is very easy to install and use; I have been using it for well over a year without any problems, so far, while running first macOS “Mojave.” I have not heard anything, good or bad, from those running the current OS version “Catalina.”

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

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        • #2277705 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          NetDef, this is the right forum for an extended discussion.

          I started it in attempt to gain a better understanding of computer related audio.

          All things audio!

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          • #2277736 Reply
            NetDef
            AskWoody_MVP

            Heh, thanks Kathy!   I was not questioning your new topic here, it’s just that the whole audio format subject can lead to very lengthy and sometimes . . . shall we say loud? . . . discussions. It can be a highly subjective topic and opinions can be quite strong. (And that’s without delving into the snake oil aspects that easily get dragged into audiophile golden ear discussions.)

            One site that has put together a wide range of hardware/software/format/metadata information that I like is

            https://thewelltemperedcomputer.com/index.html . . .

            (I love the reference in the domain name to Bach’s favored instrument.)

            It’s a great intro into starting out with managed computer audio – and while a little dated the concepts are all still true.   Navigate it by the horizontal headers across the top, then by a left hand sub-topic menu.

            ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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      • #2277713 Reply
        PaulK
        AskWoody Lounger

        You may also get some useful info by inquiring at
        https://www.dslreports.com/forum/audiovideo , one of the fora at
        https://www.dslreports.com/forums/all
        (under ‘Tech / Special Interest’ about 1/3 down the middle column).

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      • #2277742 Reply
        mn–
        AskWoody Lounger

        With regards to a sound card, I wouldn’t bother, unless you are in the music industry/ producing/ mixing etc.. I did have a Yamaha OPL3 (I think it was called) soundcard years ago specifically for mixing and audio/ midi input/output. When it came to games, it was useless. What you have is fine, there’s no need for a soundcard. Onboard sound chips have improved vastly over the years since the creative labs soundblaster series way back.

        … well, depends on what you’re doing. Onboard sound chips are optimized for “consumer-grade” audio output, not much else – even the mic / line in feature can be hit and miss… this is why separate USB headsets or just microphones can be a good thing.

        I’m getting to be old enough that I no longer hear all that much beyond the “CD quality” theoretical scale, but my kids still hear past 30 kHz … and that’s where the regular consumer-grade audio just doesn’t reproduce much anything.

        I mean, sure you get a frequency response up to half the sample rate… but you start to get inaccurate sampling and thus distortion a lot earlier.

        And then there’s the lower end… the low end is discriminated against, heh, a former colleague had problems with finding a mobile phone that’d pick his voice up properly… he also happened to be the local choir’s basso profondo.

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      • #2277743 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        What is the best approach for digitizing the vinyl and tape recordings?

        I’ve got a bit of experience in this area.

        Hardware upgrade:  Use an outboard USB based audio interface like this:

        https://focusrite.com/en/usb-audio-interface/scarlett/scarlett-2i2

        Software: Either use the supplied software, which may be overkill or use Audacity.

        Sound Quality:  Digitize media to mp3@192kbs or greater. MP3 formats give the best compatibility across different media players.  For everyday listening I use 192. For archive I use 320kbs.  Don’t digitize using the joint stereo option, instead use stereo.  For pure archive only FLAC is the highest quality.  However,  is debatable if a person can hear the difference  between a high bitrate MP3 vs FLAC and it depends on the type of music, the source and the listening  environment.  Always have a backup of your music or files

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        • #2278046 Reply
          Kathy Stevens
          AskWoody Plus

          I was hoping to avoid purchasing a new turntable.

          I have a vintage KLH Model 20 system that was purchased in 1968.

          It has been well cared for, still works, and sounds great, and we still have the original cartons, bill of sale, and manuals.

          The manuals are less than detailed but include cursory descriptions of the outputs including:

          • “Auxiliary Inputs: phone jacks for stereo or mono sources, second single jack for mono source.”
          • “Tape Recording Outputs: Permit recording from records, FM, or external music source.”
          • “Headphone Output: Accommodates standard stereo headphone plug.”
          • “Speaker Outputs: Standard jacks for simple and positive connection of speaker cables.”

          Any chance that I can use the Model 20 to feed audio into a modern Windows 10 computer?

          • #2278097 Reply
            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Any chance that I can use the Model 20 to feed audio into a modern Windows 10 computer?

            Well yes, most likely… I’m not familiar with the model, but if it has multiple kinds of outputs it should already have an amplifier so might not even need a “phono” preamp.

            But, this is not really a case of “can” or “cannot”, but “how much work and how expensive for how good” … and that depends on specifics that aren’t really knowable without testing your specific hardware. Audio input quality isn’t one of the numbers included in non-specialty PC specs.

            And a good analog input converter as a separate product, if it turns out you do need one to get sufficient quality for your needs, may well be more expensive than a new turntable with that part already built-in. (At least, my closest electronics store has a 499 EUR price tag for the one converter model they sell… probably overpriced but anyway.)

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      • #2277763 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Onboard sound chips have improved vastly over the years

        It depends on the motherboard, with modern gaming boards having quite good audio output sections. I put an audio card in my low end motherboard and had an immediate improvement in sound quality.
        These days I’d opt for an external DAC (an audio card is a DAC), either in the amp or separate.

        To rip your vinyl, assuming you don’t mind investing a modest sum, try this Sony.
        For tape I see no reason to use anything other than the sound card on your PC.

        cheers, Paul

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      • #2278101 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        I was hoping to avoid purchasing a new turntable.

        I have a vintage KLH Model 20 system that was purchased in 1968.

        It has been well cared for, still works, and sounds great, and we still have the original cartons, bill of sale, and manuals.

        The manuals are less than detailed but include cursory descriptions of the outputs including:

        • “Auxiliary Inputs: phone jacks for stereo or mono sources, second single jack for mono source.”
        • “Tape Recording Outputs: Permit recording from records, FM, or external music source.”
        • “Headphone Output: Accommodates standard stereo headphone plug.”
        • “Speaker Outputs: Standard jacks for simple and positive connection of speaker cables.”

        Any chance that I can use the Model 20 to feed audio into a modern Windows 10 computer?

        Poor to Good quality:  Run the appropriate audio cables from the “Tape Recording Outputs” on the KLH to the line level input(s) on your computer sound card.

        Good quality:  Run the appropriate cables from the “Tape Recording Outputs” on the KLH to an external audio interface as I linked above in my previous post. Then from that device hook to your computer using the appropriate USB cable.

        If you seriously want archival quality, then purchase a turntable and use an outboard audio interface.  If you have well used scratchy records, home mix cassette tapes then don’t purchase anything and use the KLH and your existing computer setup.  In that case, you’re  saving memories, not archive quality.

        Your cassette deck will hook into the KLH auxiliary inputs.

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Mike.
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      • #2278104 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        As for CD’s, if they are commercially made, then you use your computer’s optical drive and the appropriate  software to rip the music (redbook format) CD and convert to MP3 or Flac.

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      • #2278110 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Your cassette deck will hook into the KLH auxiliary inputs

        It will connect directly to your “line in” on the sound card.

        cheers, Paul

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2278346 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Well, I am overwhelmed and want to thank everyone for their input related to optimizing the sound quality flowing out of a Windows 10 computer.

        The hidden agenda, when I posted the thread, was to find a way to use Wi-Fi to flow music from a computer to the four Logitech Squeezebox Boom All-in-One Network Music Players / Wi-Fi Internet Radios that are scattered around the house as well as speakers connected directly to a Windows 10 computer.

        The Squeezebox Booms are incredible machines and we are disappointed that they have been discontinued by their manufacturer. On the other hand, the Logitech software we use to stream audio from computer to the radios is amazing.

        After reviewing the thread, I am questioning the wisdom of digitizing a huge collection of vinyl, tape, and CD audio at all. The first barrier is the sheer amount of time it will take to copy the CDs to a four-tetra bite hard drive.

        I thought the copying part would be easy and straightforward. However, I have quickly learned that the difficulty in making the transition was in the labeling the tracks of each CD. Composer, work, and/or track. Each track on a CD was frequently labeled simply 1, 2, 3,  4, etc. No label with respect to composer and/or artist.

        Then there was the recommendation to insert the CD and rip the music to the hard drive using FLAC the free lossless audio codec. If I am correct, with FLAC I would have to play each CD to accomplish the recording/transition – literally hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work. There goes the simple copy the CD to the hard drive and relabel.

        For vinyl, a recommendation was to use RCA male jack from the back of our ancient KLH Model 20 to a 3.5mm male stereo male plug for line into the computer using Audacity for digitization. But then there was a recognition of the huge amount of time that would be consumed in playing both sides of each long-playing recording while the computer quietly listened and digitized the sound. And then there is the question as to whether the electricity flowing from the output of the KLH Model 20 was compatible input on the computer or would the electrical flow burn up the internals of the computer?

        Then the question of RIAA equalization came up. A quick look at the Wikipedia article on RIAA convinced me that I was out of my element on this recommendation. As a result, I will see if the equalization will be done by the computer.

        Then there is the issue of using the KLH Model 20 to feed the computer at all or purchase a new turntable with built in DAC and USB output. One suggestion was an Audio-Technica Silver Direct-Drive Turntable at a cost of about $250. A great idea, but for $250 I can purchase a huge amount of streaming audio that can digitized and saved directly to the hard drive.

        And there was the question of whether a sound card would improve audio quality output. For the Boomboxes a ound card was not an issue. But for playback directly through external speakers that is another matter. The computer I am planning to use is a HP ENVY Desktop – 795-0050, a machine that is capable of playing demanding video game. We will see how it sounds before making a decision on upgrading to a sound card.

        Having walked through the garden of computer sound, I will have to take some time to reflect on the cost-benefit of digitizing an extensive collection of CDs and vinyl. Or would the time be better spent simply sitting back and listening to the music coming from my ancient but still very functional stereo system and CD players. Or perhaps investing in new equipment.

        Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to the thread.

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      • #2278352 Reply
        NetDef
        AskWoody_MVP

        I thought the copying part would be easy and straightforward. However, I have quickly learned that the difficulty in making the transition was in the labeling the tracks of each CD. Composer, work, and/or track. Each track on a CD was frequently labeled simply 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. No label with respect to composer and/or artist.

        Many (most?) ripping applications make this really easy when coming from commercially produced CD’s.  You open the rip dialog with the CD in the tray, and you can query an online database to populate everything – the album title, artist, year recorded, genre, and all the track titles . . . etc.  A little – ah – proofreading is sometimes required but mostly it works nicely.

        Then there was the recommendation to insert the CD and rip the music to the hard drive using FLAC the free lossless audio codec. If I am correct, with FLAC I would have to play each CD to accomplish the recording/transition – literally hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work. There goes the simple copy the CD to the hard drive and relabel.

        The actual ripping time is dependent on the speed of your PC’s player.  On mine, which is rated at 52X, an hour long CD takes about 4 minutes to rip accurately, including encoding to FLAC and writing the files to the hard drive.  When I did my initial conversion from a very large CD library, I was able to finish the project an hour an evening in about two months.

        An an aside:  In the US it’s legal to make these archival copies of media you own, as long as you continue to own the CD’s!  I kept ALL of my ripped music, stored in my basement.

        I already commented on the Vinyl and Cassette experience I had.  Even with great equipment my  results were disappointing . . .

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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        • #2278685 Reply
          wavy
          AskWoody Plus

          Which makes the ripped better than the original cd as the album info is now digital and available to players

          You open the rip dialog with the CD in the tray, and you can query an online database to populate everything – the album title, artist, year recorded, genre, and all the track titles . . . etc. A little – ah – proofreading is sometimes required but mostly it works nicely.

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
          • This reply was modified 1 month ago by wavy.
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      • #2278361 Reply
        NetDef
        AskWoody_MVP

        Would a setup and usage step by step tutorial be of interest for CD archiving?

        ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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        • #2278410 Reply
          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          That sounds like a great Topic of its own…

          I’m trying to utilize open source software… would you cover steps with specific software, or in general?

          I started copying my CDs a decade ago… but never completed them. They were done with MediaMonkey, and the digital files have survived… but I had difficulty when my daughter gave me an iPod (knowing I love music) and had to install iTunes for managing and backing it up, which tried to take over and change things (so frustrating!). Survived an OS crash, with the data intact, but have been very reluctant to install another proprietary program to manage my music. MediaMonkey is well worth the money for a Gold Key, in terms of the many kinds of files it works with, converting and leveling, and organizing playlists… and it let me organize and tag the way I wanted… I’m now on a W10 desktop, barely getting used to customizing and organizing it… but I’d really like to finish converting my CDs (and over time, they have continued to multiply). I’m at a point where I don’t remember what I did before, and I’d like to move to an open source program to manage my music… so if you feel so inclined, I’d really appreciate something step by step.

          Maybe looking at all the old albums and CDs is overwhelming… but if we just focused on one aspect, like getting the CDs ripped, it might not be so bad, and not even take extra equipment, if we have a computer with a CD player… and an external CD/DVD player is relatively inexpensive. Would ripping CDs require an upgraded sound card for best results?

          Non-techy Win 10 Pro and Linux Mint experimenter

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          • #2278411 Reply
            NetDef
            AskWoody_MVP

            Open source = perfect.

            I’ve started an article, might finish it late tonight!

            Would  “Home › Forums › Tools” be the right place to post it?

            ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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            • #2278701 Reply
              wavy
              AskWoody Plus

              can you add notes for vinyl to digital ?
              maybe next year… 🤥😁

              🍻

              Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2278809 Reply
                NetDef
                AskWoody_MVP

                Ooof.

                No promises!  😉

                ~ Group "Weekend" ~

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      • #2278420 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        After reviewing the thread, I am questioning the wisdom of digitizing a huge collection of vinyl, tape, and CD audio at all. The first barrier is the sheer amount of time it will take to copy the CDs to a four-tetra bite hard drive.

        True.  This is why I always recommend only digitizing the ones that are personal mixes, family memories or unavailable for purchase.  Buy all the others.  Unless of course, you are a vinyl junkie and desire the vinyl sound.

        I thought the copying part would be easy and straightforward. However, I have quickly learned that the difficulty in making the transition was in the labeling the tracks of each CD. Composer, work, and/or track. Each track on a CD was frequently labeled simply 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. No label with respect to composer and/or artist.

        It’s very time consuming if you want to use the attributes of MP3 to sort your music.  Seems like you have to have some sort of “sorting” numbering system when you have loads of stuff, otherwise how do you find it ?

        Then there was the recommendation to insert the CD and rip the music to the hard drive using FLAC the free lossless audio codec. If I am correct, with FLAC I would have to play each CD to accomplish the recording/transition – literally hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work. There goes the simple copy the CD to the hard drive and relabel.

        It’s really a 1 to 1 process for analog source material.  If you have a 45 minute per side cassette tape, then you digitize for 45 minutes per side.  If it’s a commercial CD that you bought, then it’s just a few minutes to “rip” that CD to a format (Flac or MP3).

        For vinyl, a recommendation was to use RCA male jack from the back of our ancient KLH Model 20 to a 3.5mm male stereo male plug for line into the computer using Audacity for digitization. But then there was a recognition of the huge amount of time that would be consumed in playing both sides of each long-playing recording while the computer quietly listened and digitized the sound.

        Same as above:  1:1 time for analog sources.

        And then there is the question as to whether the electricity flowing from the output of the KLH Model 20 was compatible input on the computer or would the electrical flow burn up the internals of the computer?

        No, it should work and if not you can get an attenuation patch cord.  I doubt you’d need that at all since most internal computer audio has a wide range of input levels.  Plus Line Level has been pretty standard for years.

        Then the question of RIAA equalization came up. A quick look at the Wikipedia article on RIAA convinced me that I was out of my element on this recommendation. As a result, I will see if the equalization will be done by the computer.

        Slim chance.  RIAA equalization  emphasizes parts of the sound frequency response.  Essentially, an LP or vinyl record is encoded for ease of manufacture and then a preamp with the RIAA rolloff decodes for proper sound frequency response.  That’s why you can’t just amplify the audio to get the proper level.  You also need the RIAA electronics.  Those two are build into a phone preamp, and it’s what you have in your KLH as part of the amplifier.  You can however, buy a phono preamp separately and use to achieve the same thing.  Note:  Don’t confuse a phono preamp (that has the RIAA) with normal Mic inputs.

        Then there is the issue of using the KLH Model 20 to feed the computer at all or purchase a new turntable with built in DAC and USB output. One suggestion was an Audio-Technica Silver Direct-Drive Turntable at a cost of about $250. A great idea, but for $250 I can purchase a huge amount of streaming audio that can digitized and saved directly to the hard drive.

        Now you’re thinking.  But what about the stuff you can’t get or purchase?

        And there was the question of whether a sound card would improve audio quality output. For the Boomboxes a ound card was not an issue. But for playback directly through external speakers that is another matter. The computer I am planning to use is a HP ENVY Desktop – 795-0050, a machine that is capable of playing demanding video game. We will see how it sounds before making a decision on upgrading to a sound card.

        For hissy tapes and scratchy vinyl does it matter?  Think about your critical listening ability, the type of music or audio and the environment.   Rock and Roll in a car is much less demanding than Classical with headphones.  Ask yourself:  What is the purpose of converting these?  Is it for future generations or my own use?

        Having walked through the garden of computer sound, I will have to take some time to reflect on the cost-benefit of digitizing an extensive collection of CDs and vinyl. Or would the time be better spent simply sitting back and listening to the music coming from my ancient but still very functional stereo system and CD players. Or perhaps investing in new equipment.

        When you figure it out, you can help me digitize about 200 8mm “digital 8” tapes, about 100 personal cassettes.

         

        • This reply was modified 1 month ago by Mike.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2278440 Reply
        Kathy Stevens
        AskWoody Plus

        Ok, forget about coping all of the vinyl, tapes, and CDs to a hard drive. It will take far more time than I am prepared to spend on the project.

        So, let’s keep it simple.

        Is there anything I should do to tweak our Windows 10 HP ENVY Desktop – 795-0050 to make it sound better when I simply slip in a CD and let it play?

        The PC has an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.

        It has integrated audio – Audio Codec: CX20642-31Z, High Definition (Azalia) 5.1 channel audio support, and Audio jack presence detection.  In addition, the PC has the Andrea Audio Commander app and an Andrea NC-185VM USB headset.

         

      • #2278446 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Is there anything I should do … to make it sound better

        Buy decent speakers and run them with an external amp. A sound card will make less difference than good speakers.
        I currently run Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers off the computer – excellent sound for not a lot of cash.

        cheers, Paul

        • #2278810 Reply
          NetDef
          AskWoody_MVP

          +1 to what Paul said.

          ~ Group "Weekend" ~

      • #2278452 Reply
        Mike
        AskWoody Plus

        Kathy,

        You keep asking and “hinting” at what can be done to make the sound better.  For your computer “As Is”, just go for it and start listening or digitizing.  Then listen and see what you think.  You’re going to be the critic.  For listening, you have several Windows OS based sound settings that you can check out.  For digitizing or recording to HD, use the format(s) of your choice, compare and see if you can hear the difference.

        Personally, I never use a computer for listening to music only, because it’s a pretty big waste of electricity (and wear and tear).  There are much better ways to do that……of course then we’re back to MP3’s.  Darn me.

        Image:  My 900 Watt CD Player (Just kidding)

        deluxe-open

        Attachments:
      • #2278721 Reply
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        There maybe some performances of music by certain artists that are most valued to the owners of old vinyl, audiotapes, etc. that they have presently recorded in such media and may feel some urgency in converting to a more stable form. But there might be, with a little bit of luck, an alternative that brings the old analog recordings instantly into digital format, cleaned up of most hisses and scratches, directly into the hard drive or SSD of one’s choice.  With 99.99999 of the conversion work already done for you by dedicated people who know how to do it.

        And completely for free.

        Magic? Hardly! What then? YouTube

        YouTube has a collection of thousands of music of all kinds, folk, pop, rock, classical, etc., etc. etc. that can be streamed and saved without any need to register or having to pay any fees. Although, if one is going to stream a lot from one of the channels, then it is only decent to subscribe and help support the people putting together said channel. Also it is wise to have an adblocker set to “on”, because the advertising is hard-core and highly obtrusive. There are usually reasonably informative notes included in the section below the video’s window, plus comments of those who have viewed them, number of times a video has been watched up to the present, etc. These cannot be saved along with the video, but those who are keen enough could copy and paste the notes, etc, to an “electronic album” for future reference.

        So there is a good chance that if you have an old vinyl recording you want to preserve and still be able to play it when the old record player finally is overcome by entropy, by digitizing it now, then you might not be wasting your time by looking to see if it is already available in YouTube. Maybe the whole album, maybe just some of the tracks. Either way, worth a shot.

        (You might get some idea if you check out, in case you have not already, my thread “Aren’t these the best performances of classical music? in the “Fun stuff” forum. There are numerous links there to an equal number of YouTube music videos. Links to new ones in new comments, welcome.)

        But streaming in the music is not all, of course. One needs to save it as mp4 (as it also comes with a movie-like video, or sometimes just a static picture). I cannot tell you what is available for Windows, but for Macs,  “ClipGrab” does an excellent job.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
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