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montysano
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Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/tips?

Well, as I posted earlier, a new cartridge and a new cleaning system has me fired up about vinyl again. A big drawback to vinyl is, of course, portability. I've burned vinyl to cd, using both Mac and PC. It sounds good, but it's a pain in the ass and it eats up hard drive space.

Has anyone burned vinyl to cd using a stand alone CD recorder? How easy/hard is it? How do you separate tracks? This type of recorder is getting very affordable, so I'm thinkin'.

montysano
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

And a corollary question: what's your take on the audio quality of vinyl burned to CD? To my ears, it quite good, but I'd be interested in what others think.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

Perhaps you could tell us a little more specifically what your set up was for burning music taken from vinyl recordings to CD's using your home computer(s) and why doing that was so painful. The process does use some hard drive space, but only until the CD is produced; so unless you're really strapped for space to begin with, that should be no problem. If the computer you used was a laptop or a Mac Mini, the physical elements of the process were probably as easy to deal with as anything you might expect from a stand alone unit. Given the variety of good computer software designed for this process, the liklihood that you would lose both sound quality as well as flexibility by switching to a stand alone would seem to be worth considering.

I've transferred a lot of music from vinyl to CD using a Mac laptop, and the quality of the resultant CD sound is as good, overall, as any Redbook CD. Where old records in less than pristine condition were concerned, the software I used gave me CD's without the clicks, pops, etc. that are present in the vinyl copies. Stand alone units I'm aware of don't offer that functionality.

My only direct experience with stand alone copying involves video as well as audio. I've used a couple of different stand alone units to transfer both analog and digital A/V material to DVD. I've also used Mac software for the same process and the end product benefitted significantly from the editing capacity the computer software provided. If you're willing to take what is on the vinyl without any editing, track definition, etc., I presume the stand alones will do it, but I wouldn't recommend it. The end product just isn't worth it.

But, I say again, let us know why you thought your experiences to date were so painful. Maybe there's another way to deal with the pain.

Best of Luck,

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

I agree with all that Cheapskate as said, but if you are going to take the time to transfer vinyl to CD you really should consider leaving it in your computer in case you ever want to have a music server. Hard drive space is super cheap these day and after all that effort that would make sense to me to leave it in there.

there is a new Tascam unit that has a street price of about $599-699 that is very good going one to one. www.musiciansfriend.com

montysano
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

I guess the process isn't really all that painful. I use Analogue Ripper on my Mac. So, you have the time involved with playing the record; then time spent separating tracks, then more time to burn the disc. Not that bad, I guess. I was dreaming of play-the-record-and-done.

Plus, I was suspicious as to the quality of the sound card, even in my Mac, and thought a stand-alone might offer better fidelity.

I can certainly stick with my current process. But you all know how it is: always looking for something better

ohfourohnine
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

I could recommend an approach to getting that "something better", but it would involve spending more time. My guess is that, for now at least, you're getting the best trade-off of time for end product that you're likely to get by staying with your present approach.

Happy burning,

BGLeduc
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

I am late to the party, but I get very good results with my Pioneer 509 stand alone CR-R deck (Rega P2 TT, NAD PP2 phono preamp, Shure M97x cart).

I prefer this approach, as I would rather not drag the PC to my 2CH system, or drag my TT set-up to my PC.

I live with whatever clicks and pops end up on the burn, but for whatever reason, those have been very few in number. Not enough to make me want to do anything about it.

As I have been slowly getting back to vinyl over the last couple years, its fun to pull out an LP that was long ago replaced with a store bought CD, and find that the vinyl sounds better than the CD. That's not the case 100% of the time, but when it does happen that the LP is better, I do a needle drop and toss the original CD.

Brian

mschnittman
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Re: Stand alone CD recorders for burning vinyl: any experiences/

I will be trying to do the same in the near future, as I am in the process of getting my turntable setup again.

On the digital side of things, the most time consuming part will be to separate the rip into separate tracks. I have some experience doing this with images that I aquire from others who ripped an analog source. You will need 3 things:

- Ripping software
- a copy of MusiCutter
- a CUE sheet for the tracks and their times

You can manually create a CUE sheet if you don't have one, which you won't if you rip the tracks yourself.

MusiCutter will take an MP3 and cut in into the tracks defined in the supplied CUE sheet. A CUE sheet is nothing more than a text file with a particular format, and 'CUE' as the file extension. Creating your own will entail playing the album in real time, and noting the exact start and stop times of the tracks during its playback. These are the times that you will use for the CUE sheet data. If you're ripping a popluar album, you can find the CUE sheets for them online, but you will be relying on the integrity of someone else's data -- which could cause MusiCutter to splice your MP3 in the wrong places if the frames don't line up properly.

As far a ripping is concerned, what you want to use is a combination of the Exact Audio Copy ripper with the LAME variable bitrate MP3 encoder. Unlike most encoder witch employ a fixed bitrate throughout a piece of music, LAME changes the bitrate on the fly as the complexity of the music changes in real time. This ensures that the final digitized image will have uniform sonic quality, which will normally go up and down with a fixed bitrate encoding scheme. LAME will use a higher bitrate for passages that are more difficult to rip, and will lower the bitrate for passages that are less complex.

Here is where you can learn how to get, install, and configure LAME and EAC:

http://www.chrismyden.com/bestmp3guide.php

Have fun!

Mark

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