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  • donnie
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
First off, I don't know a huge amount about this and I know there are quite a lot of threads on vinyl to digital conversion. However, I'm looking for advice about USB turntables, specifically an ION TTUSB05XL.

A family member bought this for themselves as an early Christmas present - we have hundreds, possibly thousands of old vinyls in the house and it would be nice to have the less damaged ones on playable again. However, is this actually going to be much use? The manual talks about recording directly to mp3 via iTunes, so it's aimed at a pretty low tech market and the whole thing probably costs less the £50.

The install CD also comes with audacity for "Expert Users" so I'm assuming getting the audio in a decent format shouldn't be a problem and it should work ok in Linux too. But is it going to be worth archiving several hundred vinyls to FLAC with this level of hardware? I always assumed the best way to do this would be to use a decent turntable setup with a line in to a decent soundcard. If I'm going to be doing it I'd rather get it right first time as it's going to take a lot of effort.

  • bandpass
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #1
I'm looking for advice about USB turntables, specifically an ION TTUSB05XL.

But is it going to be worth archiving several hundred vinyls to FLAC with this level of hardware?
`There are no good USB turntables...'
See http://www.knowzy.com/usb-turntable-comparison.htm

  -bandpass

  • xmixahlx
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #2
that is a great website - thanks for posting it.

in short, most will agree:
* get an analog turntable (with curved swingarm, anti-skate, etc.)
* get a good cartridge
* get a good needle (not ceramic "DJ")
* get a preamp (or if your receiver supports a phono input you can use this and record via the tape-out)
* get a good sound card
* get audacity
* start recording

(and audacity does work great with linux, i've archived MANY records with the above "points" - i use my receiver.  with linux YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE THE SOUND CARD IS WELL SUPPORTED before buying.)


later

  • maggior
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #3
I always assumed the best way to do this would be to use a decent turntable setup with a line in to a decent soundcard. If I'm going to be doing it I'd rather get it right first time as it's going to take a lot of effort.


Bingo!

Your assumption is corrrect.  The USB turntables are geared to those who are less tech savvy and don't care too much about sound quality.

  • donnie
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #4
Thanks for the replies. So basically I want a turntable without a ceramic cartridge and with adjustable anti-skate. If I can get a USB turntable without these then that may or may not be better than my Dad's old Setup (which is missing the amp anyway).

Unhelpfully the manual for the new ION usb turntable gives absolutely no information or specs whatsoever. However I guess I can assume that it does have a ceramic cartridge since it specifically says not to plug it into a phono line to avoid damaging the receiver.

  • uart
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #5
Thanks for the replies. So basically I want a turntable without a ceramic cartridge and with adjustable anti-skate. If I can get a USB turntable without these then that may or may not be better than my Dad's old Setup (which is missing the amp anyway).

Unhelpfully the manual for the new ION usb turntable gives absolutely no information or specs whatsoever. However I guess I can assume that it does have a ceramic cartridge since it specifically says not to plug it into a phono line to avoid damaging the receiver.


Yes unfortunately the quality of most USB turntables is not vey high. Even if you get a very cheap pre-amp (you want one with a phono-in) for your dads old rig then you'll likely be way better off. BTW What model is your dads old turntable? I've seen plenty of instances where people already have a reasonably good quality turntable lying around and then they go out and buy a dreadfully nasty cheap USB turntable just becasue they're too lazy to fiddle with making the analog connection of the old turntable to computer (even though it's not particularly difficult).

Anyway when making vinyl tranfers the most important component in the whole chain is the turntable and there's just no getting around that.

PS. You could make a few short samples of vinyl transfers on that USB turntable and upload them if you want some opinions of how it sounds.
  • Last Edit: 21 December, 2008, 09:16:51 AM by uart

  • donnie
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #6
The old turntable is a Collaro P900. I don't know if that means anything to anyone, google doesn't help much about it so I reckon it's pretty obscure.

  • Axon
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  • Members (Donating)
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #7
Yeah, a few of us would love to listen to some FLACs/WAVs of the Ion turntable if you can swing it. One single play on it won't do any damage to the vinyl (it almost certainly has a magnetic cartridge). Audiophiles love to bash on low end vinyl kit, and everybody else loves to bash on audiophiles, but we could probably tell you very specific ways that it will sound better with a higher-end investment, and you can decide from there if it's important.

If you dust off the Collaro, buy a new stylus for it if it's more than 10 years old. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #8
The old turntable is a Collaro P900. I don't know if that means anything to anyone, google doesn't help much about it so I reckon it's pretty obscure.


Very obscure. My recollection is that Collaro was spanish or italian, and not highly regarded. Sub-Garrard changers, maybe as bad as Voice of Music.

  • Knowzy
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #9
I'm looking for advice about USB turntables, specifically an ION TTUSB05XL.

The TTUSB05XL is Ion's bottom-of-the-line USB turntable.


that is a great website - thanks for posting it.

I'm glad you liked it. I got a lot of great insight from this forum in writing the guide.

So basically I want a turntable without a ceramic cartridge and with adjustable anti-skate....
Unhelpfully the manual for the new ION usb turntable gives absolutely no information or specs whatsoever. However I guess I can assume that it does have a ceramic cartridge since it specifically says not to plug it into a phono line to avoid damaging the receiver.


Chart #3: Turntable Construction shows the type of cartridge, anti-skate adjustment and the type of platter for each USB turntable.

The TT05USB has a moving magnet cartridge (maybe- read on), no anti-skate adjustment and a plastic platter.

Ion claims none of their turntables use ceramic catridges but I have serious doubts about this model and the portable iPTUSB.
 
  If anyone knows of a way to independently verify the claim, that would be great.

   
PS. You could make a few short samples of vinyl transfers on that USB turntable and upload them if you want some opinions of how it sounds.
Yeah, a few  of us would love to listen to some FLACs/WAVs of the Ion turntable if  you can swing it....We could probably tell you very specific ways that it  will sound better with a higher-end investment, and you can decide from  there if it's important.

I will be posting samples in the new year. Stay tuned!

  • MichaelW
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #10
A quick Google reveals that Collaro was a brand owned by Magnavox, who seem to have been a reputable company back in the days of fire bottles. Nothing visible on the P900, as OP says, but the company did make a transcription turntable, and there's a little bit of traffic about restoring the beasts.

Which would suggest that it might make a better basis for the project than a USB turntable, with a new stylus or perhaps cartridge.

  • WmAx
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #11
I would suggest buying an 80's era turn table; one of the units that has low popularity today but was never the less, a high quality design. This keeps the current day re-sale value low; I'm talking less then $100 for a quality table. If interested in specific examples, let me know.

-Chris

  • vpa
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #12
That's what I would suggest too. I've got myself a few months ago a Pioneer PL 750 with an unused needle for only 55 Euro from eBay for ripping my Vinyl. Some years ago this one was a very wanted item (because of Quarz PLL direct driven table, MC), but now you can grab those things for little money (if you are a little patient). You just have to inform yourself a bit and avoid the way overpriced Technics SL 12xx, as most reputable companies had very good stuff in the 80's and early 90's. Sadly most actualy stuff is of bad quality (except you are willing to sell one arm and one leg to afford one new good quality turntable).
WavPack 4.50.1 -hhx6 | LAME 3.98.2 -V 0

  • maggior
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #13
I always assumed the best way to do this would be to use a decent turntable setup with a line in to a decent soundcard. If I'm going to be doing it I'd rather get it right first time as it's going to take a lot of effort.


For Christmas, I got a ART USBPhonoPlus V2 for the purpose of archiving vinyl.  Based on the 5 lps I've recorded already, my conclusion is that this device definitely qualifies as a "decent soundcard", and then some.  If you already have a decent turntable, this device makes it quite easy to connect it to your PC for archival purposes.

Knowzy's article quoted in this thread refers to this device but only offers the manufacturer's specs.  I thought I'd throw in my hands-on experience with this device and explain my reasoning for selecting it.


Previously, I did my vinyl archiving using my turntable connected to an old receiver with the output sent to my Yamaha XG PC sound card.  The results were good with this, but I wanted to have something portable to use with my laptop so I could bring the PC to the turntable, not the other way around.

I was skeptical about this device, as I am with any device labeled "all-in-one".  The specs looked good and from the picture it looked to be of solid construction.  I found 1 review of it on the 'net which was very positive.  So, knowing I could return it if it turned out to be complete crap, I decided to give it a try.  (I ordered it and my wife gave it to me for Christmas).

What attracted me to this device was that it was designed specifically for recording from a turntable or tape deck - it's not designed to be used by a musician looking to plug mics or instruments into it.  It also has built-in adjustable gain - no need for an outboard mixer, which again is geared toward the musician, not the audio enthusiest.

The device is well constructed being made out of metal with large rubber legs on each side.  The gain adjustment pot has a very solid feel and has a nice gradual range.  The jacks on the back are solid and well constructed.  The volume pot for the headphone jack is quite good too, though with a smaller knob.  The switch to control what is being monitored (analog source, PC, or both) is decent, though doesn't have the same quality feel of the gain pot. 

Regarding sound quality, let me just say that I've found it to equal, and perhaps exceed, my Yamaha XG sound card.  This is not your typical SoundBlaster sound card with hum and noise - it's quiet.  It is more than acceptable for archival of vinyl.

I love having the gain knob and being able to set the gain for the recording.  It is so much easier than dealing with a software mixer and adjusting a slider control.

The provided CD includes the owner's manual (not much to it) and a copy of audacity (which can be had on the 'net quite easily).  Nothing really useful there.  There are no drivers - the built in drivers in the OS work with it.

Is it a true audiophile device?  No.  Is it a device for the audio enthusiest with a discerning ear?  Yes!

BTW, they do not quote support for Vista, but it worked on my Vista Basic laptop.  The only glitch I ran into was it configured itself for mono recording.  By going into the sound device settings in control panel, I was easily able to change that.

I'm not sure about Linux support - I'll be trying that at some point with my Ubuntu partition.

I would recommend this device to connect your turntable or tape deck to your PC for archiving recordings.
  • Last Edit: 27 December, 2008, 01:05:29 AM by maggior

  • jadsdad
  • [*]
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #14
I fell into the USB turntable trap around 18 months ago, ditching it this Christmas for a Pro-Ject Debut III (I know - hardly top-spec gear, but I like it).

One thing I found with USB turntables was that Windows/Linux will not let you adjust the recording level/gain so what you end up with are potentially loud, clipped and distorted recordings that you can't fix.  My USB TT (KAM BDX9000) at least offered a line and phono output, so I bought a pre-amp, connected it all up and noticed a slight improvement.  No more clipping/distortion, but the sound quality still had the tonal finesse of an armoured tank

  • facesnorth
  • [*]
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #15
That's what I would suggest too. I've got myself a few months ago a Pioneer PL 750 with an unused needle for only 55 Euro from eBay for ripping my Vinyl. Some years ago this one was a very wanted item (because of Quarz PLL direct driven table, MC), but now you can grab those things for little money (if you are a little patient). You just have to inform yourself a bit and avoid the way overpriced Technics SL 12xx, as most reputable companies had very good stuff in the 80's and early 90's. Sadly most actualy stuff is of bad quality (except you are willing to sell one arm and one leg to afford one new good quality turntable).


I actually have a Technics SL-1200mkii that I bought around 1996 when I was interested in DJ'ing.  It never got much use.  Recently I bought an LP Gear AT95E cartridge for it, but I don't really understand how to install it properly.

You mention avoiding the 1200's.  Is it just because they are overpriced or are the poor quality?  I am interested in the same as the OP.  I have an Onkyo TX-NR905 receiver which has a phono input (although I understand Onkyo/Integra is not well regarded for their analog stage).  Would this be acceptable using its tape output with RCA to 1/4 cables into my Tascam US-144 via USB 2.0 into my PC then record with audacity to hard drive?

  • jadsdad
  • [*]
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #16
Recently I bought an LP Gear AT95E cartridge for it, but I don't really understand how to install it properly.


Installing cartridges is really fiddly business but when you've done it once, it becomes second nature.  I'm going on the assumption that you've never replaced a cartridge before, so apologies if I'm telling you something you already know.

It looks like the Technics TT has a removable headshell, which makes things a lot easier.  All you need to do is:

* remove the headshell and place it upside-down on a flat surface
* carefully slide the 4 connecting wires away from the cartridge
* turn the headshell over and remove the two nuts that hold the cartridge in place.
* with the screws still in the headshell, turn the headshell upside down and place the AT95E so that the screws fit into the holes/cutouts provided on the cartridge.  By doing this with the headshell upside down, I find that it keeps the top of the cartridge flat against the headshell and stops the screws from moving about.
* using either tweezers or some delicate fingerwork, fix the nuts back onto the screws, tight enough to allow you to move the cartridge backwards and forwards with a bit of effort.
* re-attach the wires to the pins on the back of the cartridge.  The pins should have a little coloured band at the bottom which tells you which wire to connect to it.
* re-attach the headshell to the tone arm and use an alignment protractor to make sure the cartridge is perfectly aligned.  You can get printable protractors from www.vinylengine.com with full instructions on how to use them.
* once aligned, tighten the screws firmly, but not overly tight.

If you need any further advice with installing cartridges, let me know and I'll be glad to help.

Simon.
  • Last Edit: 13 January, 2009, 05:14:51 AM by jadsdad

  • cliveb
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  • Developer
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #17
Installing cartridges is really fiddly business but when you've done it once, it becomes second nature.  I'm going on the assumption that you've never replaced a cartridge before, so apologies if I'm telling you something you already know.
... [snip]

No doubt most people will realise this as being self-evident, but perhaps it ought to be pointed out that while you're mounting and dismounting pickup cartridges, REMEMBER TO REMOVE THE STYLUS.

Most moving coil cartridges do not have removable stylii - in that case be sure to install the stylus guard and take extra care.

  • Knowzy
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #18
...avoid the way overpriced Technics SL 12xx, as most reputable companies had very good stuff in the 80's and early 90's. Sadly most actualy stuff is of bad quality (except you are willing to sell one arm and one leg to afford one new good quality turntable).

You mention avoiding the 1200's.  Is it just because they are overpriced or are the poor quality?

I think you'd have a hard time finding someone claiming the SL-1200 series is of poor quality. In fact I think it's fair to call it a legendary turntable.

As I say in my article, I hear praise for the 1200 "so often, you might think there is a conspiracy against the other manufacturers."

I don't own one and have minimal personal experience with it. However, I can offer you the specs. <.025% wow and flutter is tough (dare I suggest impossible) to beat in this price range for a new turntable.

I say if you own one, stick with it. It won't let you down.

  • Axon
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  • Members (Donating)
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #19
The 1200 is regularly available in the US brand-new for $450 or less. It's a somewhat high price for a DJ table (after all, it has the most name recognition, which Technics correctly uses to increase profit margins). It's much more expensive than almost all USB turntables. At the same time, it's in the far low end of cost in the high-end market, and that's where a lot of its recent reputation has been forming. It largely depends on which market you're focusing on to estimate its relative cost.

I'm sure you can find cheaper tables that deliver performance just as acceptable as with the 1200, but it's highly unclear if there ever will be a cheaper table that delivers superior performance. All the R&D costs that went into building it have been paid off many times over.

  • facesnorth
  • [*]
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #20
Recently I bought an LP Gear AT95E cartridge for it, but I don't really understand how to install it properly.


Installing cartridges is really fiddly business but when you've done it once, it becomes second nature.  I'm going on the assumption that you've never replaced a cartridge before, so apologies if I'm telling you something you already know.

It looks like the Technics TT has a removable headshell, which makes things a lot easier.  All you need to do is:

* remove the headshell and place it upside-down on a flat surface
* carefully slide the 4 connecting wires away from the cartridge
* turn the headshell over and remove the two nuts that hold the cartridge in place.
* with the screws still in the headshell, turn the headshell upside down and place the AT95E so that the screws fit into the holes/cutouts provided on the cartridge.  By doing this with the headshell upside down, I find that it keeps the top of the cartridge flat against the headshell and stops the screws from moving about.
* using either tweezers or some delicate fingerwork, fix the nuts back onto the screws, tight enough to allow you to move the cartridge backwards and forwards with a bit of effort.
* re-attach the wires to the pins on the back of the cartridge.  The pins should have a little coloured band at the bottom which tells you which wire to connect to it.
* re-attach the headshell to the tone arm and use an alignment protractor to make sure the cartridge is perfectly aligned.  You can get printable protractors from www.vinylengine.com with full instructions on how to use them.
* once aligned, tighten the screws firmly, but not overly tight.

If you need any further advice with installing cartridges, let me know and I'll be glad to help.

Simon.


Thanks for the tips.  I realize I wasn't clear in my statement.  The part about aligning it using the protractor, and then fine tuning from there are the parts I'm not sure about.  I already have the cartridge mounted to the headshell.  I did get a protractor included from LP Gear with my AT95E.  Is this a good cartridge to use with the 1200?  From my dj days (short lived) I used to tape penny's to the headshell to get it to stick to the record.  Now I can't figure out how to balance it properly and make it not skip when it plays.  I don't think it's aligned and balanced properly.

Also I've always gotten a tinny sound out of it when hooking it up to my old receiver.  I haven't tried it on my onkyo 905 yet, nor with the new at95e and was looking forward to seeing if there was a noticeable difference.  Last time I used it was a couple years ago with a stanton 500 cartridge through a h/k avi 200ii's phono inputs and cheap speakers.

I like the idea of doing some mods too down the line, but I feel I should get it going as-is for now and start listening to vinyl again before I start investing in mods.  Are mods easy to do on my own or would I need to send it in?

thanks

  • WmAx
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ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #21
How is the Technics SL-1200MKII over priced in any way?

That is my question.

To my knowledge, there is nothing that is cheaper, that is comparable in build quality and general performance.

To my knowledge, there is nothing that is priced the same that is comparable in build quality and general performance. Now, there are some entry level audiophile table with probably superior quality arms(lower resonance arms), but not comparable in any other way. One can later change the arm on the Technics and have the best of both worlds.

If there is a product, priced new, that is comparable for a lower cost, I would appreciate it if someone would let me know of this product.

Perhaps the above post was about USED value. In that case, the Technics seems to be expensive compared to what else you can get used from the 80's era that is of comparable or superior quality.

So, if you are buying new, then get the Technics 1200MKII. If buying used, consider other products.

-Chris
  • Last Edit: 31 January, 2009, 07:10:02 AM by WmAx

  • Knowzy
  • [*][*][*]
ripping vinyl, usb turntable
Reply #22
I'm sure you can find cheaper tables that deliver performance just as acceptable as with the 1200, but it's highly unclear if there ever will be a cheaper table that delivers superior performance. All the R&D costs that went into building it have been paid off many times over.

If there is a product, priced new, that is comparable for a lower cost, I would appreciate it if someone would let me know of this product.


These are questions I've spent considerable time exploring for my Superior Analog Turntables section. In it, I define "superior" as better specifications than the Debut III USB (not the SL-1200) and under $750 new with a cartridge.

I have yet to come across one that beats the SL-1200MK5 strictly on its specifications.

Here are some of the contenders. Please fill me in if I missed your favorite.

[blockquote]Thorens TD190-1  $500, OMB 10 cart included
Belt Drive
Manual
Wow and Flutter: 0.04% (WRMS), 0.07% (DIN)
S/N: 46db unweighted, 72dB weighted
Platter: Aluminum, 1.5lbs
Tracking force: 1.75g (according to Ortofon), 1.5g (according to Thorens)
Tracking error: 0.15°
Tonearm: TP 19-1
Speed deviation: Not published



Denon DP-500M  $700, cart not included (not in Superior Turntable section. Reason: Too expensive)
  Direct Drive
MDF Cabinet
Fully automatic
Wow and Flutter: <0.1% (WRMS)
  S/N: >=70db (presumably unweighted)
  Platter: Aluminum, underside silicon rubber sheet
  Tracking force: N/A
  Tracking error:
  Tonearm: Diecast parts with dampening material
  Speed deviation: +/-0.003%


[/blockquote][blockquote]Music Hall  $450, cart included (not in Superior Turntable section. Reason: Not beginner-friendly)
    Belt Drive
Manual
  Wow and Flutter: <0.15% (presumably WRMS)
    S/N: 70db (presumably unweighted)
    Platter: Alloy, 4.5lbs
    Tracking force: 1.75g
    Tracking error: Not published
    Tonearm: Yes (no details)
    Speed deviation: +/-0.09%
[/blockquote]   
 

Compare to the SL-1200:

[blockquote]Technics SL-1200MK5  $450, cart not included
    Direct Drive
Manual
  Wow and Flutter: <0.025% (WRMS), <0.01% (turntable assembly alone)
    S/N: 56db unweighted, 78dB weighted
  Platter: Aluminum, 3.74lbs
    Tracking force: N/A
    Tracking error:
    Tonearm: Diecast parts with dampening material
    Speed deviation: Not published
[/blockquote]   

It goes without saying that specs aren't everything and are often embellished. Every turntable and the components that make it up have a different sound and that is something that cannot be measured.

That said, I'm not aware of anything that beats SL-1200 from the standpoint of things you can measure. At least not within a few hundred dollars of the SL-1200's price.
  • Last Edit: 31 January, 2009, 04:37:23 PM by Knowzy