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Index » Internet/Computer » Streaming/Media » Ripping from Vinyl Page: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  Next
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kurtster
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Posted: Apr 18, 2016 - 1:04pm

So I've been a ripping fool for the past several weeks and been really stoked by what I'm getting.  Hearing vinyl again, a lot of vinyl, has turned out to be a very happy indulgence.  Among other things, it is just plain mastered differently.  Hearing the music as it was most intended to be heard, the way it was mastered to be heard, after years of CD's is a new rediscovered joy.  It sounds so good that I have little desire to do much more than remove pops and clicks and leave the rip mostly untouched by any serious remastering work.

Along the way, I mentioned that I was testing an eyeglass cleaner as a vinyl record cleaner for the company that makes it and seeing if it was marketable for that purpose.  I've already used it for years for cleaning CD's because CD's are basically polycarbonate wafers with an aluminum film in between the wafers.  The same polycarbonate that most eyeglass lenses are made from.  Its kind of a serendipity because the demand for CD's caused the effort to purify the compound enough to make it clear enough to work as eyeglass lenses.

Anyway, I finished the project, wrote the review and sent it off this morning and got a reply back from the CEO within 2 hours about moving this forward.  I'm pretty stoked about it.  Might get a piece of the pie !  So as I threatened, here's the review I wrote for it.  It was written to be understood by people who don't know about or give a rat's ass about records as well as those who do, so read it with that in mind.

 ———-

Can we use an eyeglass cleaner for cleaning our precious vinyl recordings ? The answer is yes, if its Ultra Clarity from Nanofilms. I have been using it professionally as an optician for over 15 years and have found it to be one of the best lens cleaners available. What do eyeglass lenses and vinyl records have in common ? Oily fingerprints, dust and static buildup. So when I reached a point in my life where I could finally take the time to rediscover my record collection and hopefully enjoy it, I did a lot of reading and catch up to find out what the state of vinyl is in the 21st century. Seems that there has been a rebirth of the medium and demand far exceeds the capacity to fill the gap. The process illustrated below occurred over a period of 4 months and many hours of experimentation and critical listening.

After getting the turntable and cartridge in good working order the next and most important step was to find a way to clean the records and unlock the sonic beauty to be heard under the decades of dust, debris and fingerprints. For the previous 50 years or so, I had only had the usual cleaning pads and brushes to work with and did my best to keep them clean and playable.

There are many ways to clean records decently and my first try was the Spin Clean machine which is a completely manual operation that suspends a record in a tank up to its label and then as the name implies you spin the record between a pair of brushes mounted on the sides of the tank. Simple, effective, yet time consuming because the ideal process is to do a cleaning wash and then a rinsing bath afterwards. To be most worthwhile you should do at least 5 albums at a time to make the fluid change in the tanks economical.

The decision to try the Ultra Clarity was simple. First the cleaning properties were perfect and it was in a spray bottle. I have yet to find an audiophile grade cleaner available in a spray bottle. With the way the Spin Clean holds the records vertically, it was the perfect solution. Spray it on while holding the record in your hands and spread it around with your fingers or a cloth then place it into the cleaner and let it mix with the distilled water in the tank. Or it can simply be added directly to the tank water if preferred. Pre spraying on known areas of concern is a plus though. The records did dry very nicely in between the cleaning and the rinsing making the rinsing optional. There was no visible residue left behind from the first cleaning cycle. Part of the reason why is how Ultra Clarity deals with the surface tension of water. But if your going to all the trouble to clean them in the first place, why not rinse them.

Next comes the VPI MW-1 Cyclone vacuum cleaning record machine. Audiophile level cleaning in both directions on a horizontal platter. It came with VPI’s highly regarded cleaner and a generous supply of two different Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s cleaners as well. Started with Ultra Clarity because of its performance in the Spin Clean machine. Simply clamped the record in place, turned on the platter and sprayed the record as it rotated for 1 revolution. About 8 to 10 sprays. I immediately noticed no surface tension bubbles as the spray was on the record. It actually spread out on its own over the surface. Using the hard bristle brush included requires pre wetting of the brush with water before scrubbing in order to help the Ultra Clarity spread out and cover the surface of the record quickly avoiding dry scrubbing. It spreads out very evenly and completely allowing a vigorous scrubbing without harming the record. Better yet, it stays in place allowing 5 minutes or more of just soaking in place allowing the detergents to really work. No reconstituting of droplets caused by surface tension. Next, just vacuum as directed. Once again, you could stop here as it rinses very clean without any visual or audible residue. Static free as well. The rinsing step is very effective as well because of what is left behind on the surface is just enough to breakdown the surface tension of the distilled water rinse also allowing soaking if desired. Result is a thoroughly cleaned and shiny record. Over spray on the label is inconsequential because it dries quickly without staining.

The other solutions. Both highly regarded brands and widely used. All three were in their own bottles that you dripped onto the record as it spins. They just sat there and did nothing until brushed and even then they did not want to break down into a film and cover the surface without using more solution to cover enough to avoid dry scrubbing for too long a period of time. It did not take long for the film to break up and reform into droplets making soaking impossible.

Finally, I had the opportunity to try a brand new album made in 2015, Pink Floyd’s The Endless River. Reasonable to assume state of the art modern pressing technology. The album was not exactly clean upon opening. Some lint and also the presence of mold release film and stains on the surface. Played it without vacuum cleaning, just using conventional cleaning pads and brushes. The result was disappointing, with more than a couple of pops and ticks and some audible surface noise. Then I used the VPI and Ultra Clarity to clean the album. All the stains were removed along with most of the pops and ticks from debris left behind in the manufacturing process. The listening experience was greatly improved along with the visual appearance of the record.

The greatest benefit of using Ultra Clarity is the ability to actually let the record soak for 5 minutes or more. This just cannot be done with a product with a strong surface tension. Ultra Clarity really wets the entire record allowing every nook and cranny to get wet to help release the smallest of particles. These particles are so small they cannot be seen yet when the needle hits them, they can be quit jarring during a quiet passage of a song. Getting them loose is especially hard to do. Soaking at least allows them to get soft and loose enough where in many cases, simply playing the record may actually detach these particles making the next playing even better. With the average record being around 40 years old, soaking is a must, especially if you are going to all the trouble to clean the record in the first place.

In conclusion, Ultra Clarity is a top notch solution for cleaning records. Better in my opinion, than those produced by the audiophile industry based on the two other products tested. Easy to use and each 6 ounce spray bottle should do between 40 to 60 albums as a spray using vacuum cleaners. It can also be used in a bath type cleaner by adding about 10 to 15 ml’s of solution to the distilled water. The low 6% alcohol content is very desirable as well. There is much debate about the effects of alcohol on vinyl. This tiny amount is enough to help the cleaning process, yet should have a minimal impact on the vinyl itself, leaving the purists with very little to be worried about.

 




kurtster
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Posted: Apr 18, 2016 - 12:44pm

 miamizsun wrote:

ok i took the pepsi challenge with the tracks

stock sound card, pair of the audioengine A5 speakers

i cranked it up and listened as well as tired ears could

imho the second track has more pronounced detail (maybe recorded hotter, i don't know for sure)

regardless i'm rocking over here  {#Music}

i'll try later with some sennheiser headphones

thx for the music {#Cheers}

 
Missed this.  The first track was the one with the Jitterbug.  As was pointed out to me by another, it was not the best track to do this with because its old and noisy.  I admit it really is hard to tell any difference.   Thanks for taking the time to give it a go.  Just trying to share what I found to be worthwhile for me as an inexpensive tweak.
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Posted: Apr 6, 2016 - 4:00am

 kurtster wrote:

Like the article mentions, there are many more variables than the file type that affect the end product.

I'll try it when I get home and let you know.

 
ok i took the pepsi challenge with the tracks

stock sound card, pair of the audioengine A5 speakers

i cranked it up and listened as well as tired ears could

imho the second track has more pronounced detail (maybe recorded hotter, i don't know for sure)

regardless i'm rocking over here  {#Music}

i'll try later with some sennheiser headphones

thx for the music {#Cheers}
ScottFromWyoming
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 6:43pm

 kurtster wrote:

Tried it on my websurfer Dell with onboard soundcard and crappy desktop speakers ... 0 for 6
Even picked the 128's on JayZ, Vega and KP

Tried again on the music puter with decent soundcard and decent but worn 5.1 speakers that I use for my monitors and turned them up pretty loud as directed ... 3 for 6
Scored on the Classical, NY and KP, but no 128's this time around. 

Its tough to be sure.  Like mentioned as how the Vega song was used as the standard listening over and over again, this would be easier with songs that you know intimately on good equipment.  I tried keying on certain parts of songs on the first test on the crappy puter to no avail.  The second test on the good puter I rely wavered on my final choices on the ones missed.  Not bad for 63 yo ?.  Good test.  

It would have been nice to try it on the main system, but the music puter is in one room and the main is in another room making it impossible to sit there and go back and forth as needed.  Its light years better in stereo on the main than listening in the office on the same puter with the 5.1's.   Then again, the soundcard out to the main stays digital and goes optical to the main with a good 24bit DAC in the receiver.

Thanks for sharing this  

  
 
It's pretty interesting. One the Coldplay, I was able to pick out one with decent highs; the other two sounded clipped and muddy. So I was "okay, I need to listen for good crisp tweeter sssssoundssss. JayZ and Suzanne Vega both were over the top with sibilance and so I tried to find differences in separation, low end, etc. Nothing. All 3 (on my $5 speakers) were as good as identical. The Neil Young and the piano both sounded muddy on all 3 samples. I got Coldplay and Katy Perry but to be honest, Katy was a WAG. 
kurtster
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 5:46pm

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
I haven't bothered, because I have $5 speakers on my desk, but:
 

How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?

June 2, 2015 • 

A hi-def test for your ears (and your audio equipment): Listen to these songs and see if you can tell the difference between an MP3 and an uncompressed audio file.

 
edit: I tried it and got the first two right, no idea on the next 4. Although the piano piece and Neil Young all sounded crappy.

 
Tried it on my websurfer Dell with onboard soundcard and crappy desktop speakers ... 0 for 6
Even picked the 128's on JayZ, Vega and KP

Tried again on the music puter with decent soundcard and decent but worn 5.1 speakers that I use for my monitors and turned them up pretty loud as directed ... 3 for 6
Scored on the Classical, NY and KP, but no 128's this time around. 

Its tough to be sure.  Like mentioned as how the Vega song was used as the standard listening over and over again, this would be easier with songs that you know intimately on good equipment.  I tried keying on certain parts of songs on the first test on the crappy puter to no avail.  The second test on the good puter I rely wavered on my final choices on the ones missed.  Not bad for 63 yo ?.  Good test.  

It would have been nice to try it on the main system, but the music puter is in one room and the main is in another room making it impossible to sit there and go back and forth as needed.  Its light years better in stereo on the main than listening in the office on the same puter with the 5.1's.   Then again, the soundcard out to the main stays digital and goes optical to the main with a good 24bit DAC in the receiver.

Thanks for sharing this  

 


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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 12:54pm

 black321 wrote:
Im at work listening through a pair of audioengine a2 speakers (at modest volume level).  got 4 of 6, failed with the katy perry and coldplay, but still picked the 320k version.  the jayz, classical and suzanne vega were easy. 

 
Those were impossible for me/my speakers. The Coldplay was easy tho. Night and day... I thought they led off with an easy one. Edit: ooh, it shuffles the order of songs. And probably the order of the samples for each song...


black321
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 12:06pm

Im at work listening through a pair of audioengine a2 speakers (at modest volume level).  got 4 of 6, failed with the katy perry and coldplay, but still picked the 320k version.  the jayz, classical and suzanne vega were easy. 


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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 12:00pm

Four down, one to go.
kurtster
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 11:57am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote: 
Like the article mentions, there are many more variables than the file type that affect the end product.

I'll try it when I get home and let you know.
ScottFromWyoming
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 11:51am

I haven't bothered, because I have $5 speakers on my desk, but:
 

How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality?

June 2, 2015 • 

A hi-def test for your ears (and your audio equipment): Listen to these songs and see if you can tell the difference between an MP3 and an uncompressed audio file.

 
edit: I tried it and got the first two right, no idea on the next 4. Although the piano piece and Neil Young all sounded crappy.
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 - 11:47am

Three down, two to go.
kurtster
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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 - 9:19am

Two down, three to go.
kurtster
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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 - 7:24am

I have an offer to make to those who were interested on the topic regarding devices used for line conditioning with USB and ripping vinyl.

For the first 5 to pm me I will send you this version of Disraeli Gears ripped with plain cable and ripped with the Jitterbug to listen and compare.  The difference is subtle I'll admit, but I hear it.  I won't tell you which is which until after you've listened.

There is one string attached though.  In return, I would like to know what your opinion is in regarding how to grade to quality of the album for the purpose of selling it.  This is the grading system to consider.

To consider about the album.  Its damn near 50 years old, but it has been cleaned with a VPI Cyclone so it looks shiny new.  You cannot see any scratches or scuffs, yet there are some that you will hear.  The label is pristine, again for being almost 50.

As an incentive I'll include a copy of my current mixtape.

Don't have to post reply's if you don't want to.  Can keep it all pm.  Not trying to impress anyone with anything.  The inquiry about the record condition is serious and worth it to me to do this to find out.

I'm even willing to ship one north of the 49th.  {#Good-vibes}


kurtster
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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 7:54pm

 black321 wrote:
An interesting topic, albeit possibly chasing our tails as often is the case in high end audio discussion.  Can you hear the difference:

http://www.sereneaudio.com/blog/what-does-jitter-sound-like

 
Yes.

I'm just going to guess that few here are using USB in their big rigs at any level and have no need for this kind of device.   
black321
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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 12:31pm

An interesting topic, albeit possibly chasing our tails as often is the case in high end audio discussion.  Can you hear the difference:

http://www.sereneaudio.com/blog/what-does-jitter-sound-like
kurtster
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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 12:08pm

 black321 wrote:
ehh, i'm not convinced one way or the other...it seems there are good arguments that the clock frequency could create digital jitter, but is it audible? Regardless, I'd rather invest in things that do matter.  Still, I might be tempted to grab one at best buy and do a blind a/b test to see if there is a difference. 

here's another article discussing jitter, if you're so inclined:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue43/jitter.htm
 
From your link ...

Q: If my DAC already has jitter reduction, what difference will a re-clocker make?

A: Most DACs use ASRC (Asynchronous Sample-Rate Conversion) to reduce the incoming jitter. All of these devices up-sample or re-sample the data using a local oscillator. To track the incoming data the re-sampling device must use a PLL to track the incoming stream. Since the local clock has its own jitter and a PLL is utilized, there is new jitter added and the PLL still has some sensitivity to incoming jitter. Re-clocking just before the DAC input can still make a big difference in overall jitter.

Backscrolled and read all the links.  Lot's of good stuff.  I'm going with the above which is the principle function of the jitterbug.  Reading about the S/PDIF connection was particularly interesting because that is how I get from my computer to my receiver.  Granted the article is older, so I'm hoping that advances have been made across the board
 Can't get them at BB, gonna have to do it online.

Here is an article I found while looking around, goes at jitter mathematically in more depth than we've seen linked so far.

And another review of the jitterbug that sings its praises at the PCM lossless level, admits that for mp3's the results may not be noticeable.  Guess it depends on your sources and needs.  I am lossless PCM wav as much as possible.  Seems that I have more to benefit.

 http://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/audioquest-jitterbug-usb-data-and-power-filter/


islander
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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 10:17am

 black321 wrote:
ehh, i'm not convinced one way or the other...it seems there are good arguments that the clock frequency could create digital jitter, but is it audible? Regardless, I'd rather invest in things that do matter.  Still, I might be tempted to grab one at best buy and do a blind a/b test to see if there is a difference. 

 
Be sure to use a Monster cable to connect it.
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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 9:03am

ehh, i'm not convinced one way or the other...it seems there are good arguments that the clock frequency could create digital jitter, but is it audible? Regardless, I'd rather invest in things that do matter.  Still, I might be tempted to grab one at best buy and do a blind a/b test to see if there is a difference. 
ScottFromWyoming
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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 8:48am

 Lazy8 wrote:
some of that may sound like something.
 


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Posted: Mar 8, 2016 - 8:40am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
I'm with you but I'm lost at the same time. What's the data transfer rate got to do with hearing frequencies? <<< only very mildly curious so don't spend a lot of time laying it out. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious. If the data transfer rate is not fast enough to keep up with the data coming off the USB turntable, and if the turntable doesn't have a buffer, that would be a problem, but what I think you're pointing to is 44.1kHz sample rate x 16bits is still well below the slow data transfer rate of 1.5mB for USB 1.0, right? So there shouldn't be a problem even if you plug the turntable into the jack on your keyboard?
 
But I did try to google it and got this page

And then Uh-oh:
 
"Another impact of finite sample rate is the possibility of jitter in the sample clock. If the clock is not exactly on time, the jitter causes distortion, sometimes called "jitter error". Jitter error is unique to digital, and is vanishingly minuscule, a tribute to the many years of effort that went into minimizing it. By the time the earliest CD players came out, distortion produced by jitter was well below the threshold of audibility.

Since it does not use discrete timing steps, analog gear does not have jitter, per se, but wow and flutter—large and small speed variations—occur in all analog gear. The scale of wow and flutter is far greater than that of digital jitter, and is far more likely to produce audible effects." 



Hey, you put a nickel in the jukebox and the tune plays.

"Digital is just a special case of analog." —an EE of my acquaintance, years ago.

If you look at the actual signals in a digital communication line with an oscilloscope they look like square waves, or at least everybody involved does their best to make them look like square waves. Those are ones and zeros going by.

They aren't perfect square waves. Electrons don't just start and stop instantaneously; there are no discontinuous functions in nature. When you (try to) suddenly change voltage/current it's like yanking on a string: it will twang. That twang is noise, and digital interfaces are designed to minimize/ignore that twang. That twang could look like a one or a zero, and that places an upper limit on the speed that interface can attain.

You can play that square wave thru a pair of speakers and (to a bad first approximation) it will sound like a sine wave signal. If bits are going by at 300 bits/sec that sounds like a 300 Hz signal. A Hz (Hertz) is a cycle per second. So a USB 1.0 data rate of 1.5 Mb/sec sounds like 1.5 MHz. Which is to say it sounds like nothing, you can't hear 1.5 MHz. Your speakers couldn't reproduce it even if you could hear it. The speakers you're listening to right now are getting signals like that as you read this and you can't hear them.

There would be sounds (mostly ugly ones) if you tried to play a USB 1.0 signal thru a pair of speakers tho. Remember that twang? Your speakers have what we call reactive elements. They twang like mofos. Also the datastream won't be constant, it will start and stop and speed up and slow down, and some of that may sound like something.

It is, of course, more complicated than that due to things like handshaking. When the sender has a packet of data there is (depending on the protocol used) often some preliminaries: it sends a signal to let the receiver know data is about to be sent, the receiver signals back "I'm ready", the data gets sent, the transmitter says "I'm done", the receiver signals "I got it, it checks out, ready for the next packet."

And those packets don't just arrive in the nick of time either, they get buffered at either end because they have to be decoded. The data transfer rate may be tremendously fast, but ultimately data only moves as fast as the buffers empty. Since the limiting rate is the signal going to your speakers the transfer rate over the digital line should have absolutely nothing to do with the sound quality, as long as it's fast enough. The only hardware that can mess with the sound is what is processing the digital signal into sound. The digital jitter the article is talking about is in that hardware, not the communication protocol filling up the buffer that hardware is processing from.

And yes, jitter exists in analog signals. Look at a sine wave. If you compress or expand the time axis for some portion of the wave it gets peakier or flatter and the peaks come closer together or farther apart. That shift in frequency is jitter. You can also describe jitter as wow and flutter, different ways of looking at the same phenomenon.

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