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henryjg
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Turntable/preamp to archive vinyl

For space reasons, I need to get rid of some of my large LP collection. I'd like to digitally archive some of them and then get rid of the vinyl. So I want to make sure I do it right. I bought a USB turntable (paid about $150) and tried it out, but I'm really not happy with the results. I'd like to get something better but can't afford anything really high-end.

I've been reading a lot online about what to get, and it's a bit overwhelming. I'm looking at a Pro-Ject Debut III turntable with a Bellari VP530 preamp. Does that combination make sense? The preamp costs almost as much as the turntable which makes me wonder whether it's meant for a higher-end setup. I also read about the VP130 and NAD PP3 preamps. Is it worth it to spend the extra $ for the VP530?

I'll be using a 2010 iMac.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I also have a B&O Beogram RX-2 turntable that's about 20 years old. I replaced the cartridge several years ago and haven't used it much since then. I'm using it now with a TC-750 preamp and wondering if I should upgrade that preamp as well. Or if I upgrade the preamp, would the Beogram be OK to archive vinyl?

Demondog
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Archiving Vinyl

If you were only going to convert a small number of records to digital, maybe taking or sending them to a service would work. A quick look online had prices starting at about $12 each, so could get expensive.

If you are going to continue playing vinyl, then investing in a turntable and USB phono stage makes sense. The Pro-Ject turntable should work, and a Pro-Ject Phono Box II USB, or a NAD PP3, both at $200, should be sufficient. I personally don't think the Bellari VP530 (which is not high end) would be much of an improvement, but it's only twice the price.

Your TC-750 is not quite as good as the Pro-Ject or NAD, but it's not to bad for its price. I have a TC-760LC btw, which I think would sound the same as TC-750. I retired it pretty quickly to get some thing better, but it's not a night and day difference. But even with the TC-750, and your old turntable, you should get an external sound card. Something like Tascam US 122MKII at $129.

Simpler and cheapest to just go with your current turntable, and the NAD which includes recording software, or the Proj-Ject which you'll need to add software that can be found for free. But a last note: If you don't like the sound of your Beogram RX-2 and cartridge now, I don't think you'll like it much better with any of the phono preamps discussed, or any preamp for that matter.

henryjg
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Thanks so much for your

Thanks so much for your response. I definitely do intend to continue playing vinyl and after this initial batch, I'd like to be able to keep digitizing on an ongoing basis, so I definitely want my own setup.

If you don't mind a few more questions...

This might be a dumb question, but is a "phono stage" the same thing as a preamp?

Another newbie question: what do I need the external sound card for? What does it do?

Is the Pro-Ject turntable a step up from the Beogram? I guess more than anything I'm worried that after 20+ years the Beogram wouldn't perform like a new turntable or that technology would have improved. I wouldn't say I dislike the sound of the Beogram either, but I haven't listened to anything else since 1990 so I also wonder if I just don't know what I might be missing by upgrading to something like the Pro-Ject, if that would in fact even be an upgrade.

jackfish
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To archive vinyl you need a analog to digital converter.

There is a cheap one in USB turntables. There are computer software solutions, Audacity will allow vinyl rips up to 24/96 I believe. For a good vinyl rip one obviously needs a good turntable/cartridge. A phono stage is a phono preamp. The Bellari VP530 is perhaps overkill with the ProJect Debut III, look to a Bellari VP130 iinstead. Unless your Beogram and its stylus are in top form I'd opt for a new turntable.

Demondog
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Phono Stage

A phono stage, and phono preamp are the same thing, just different names. They're for the first level of amplification for the very low signals from moving magnet, or moving coil phono cartridge. They usually include an equalization function to restore the signal to a relatively flat frequency response.

An external sound card such as the one I listed has an analog to digital conversion ability, similar to the NAD, Pro-Ject, and Bellari USB phono preamps. An ADC capable sound card would only be used if you were using something like the TC-750 preamp that doesn't have an ADC, though you could probably even feed the signal to your computer, and then do the equalization with software.

The Pro-Ject turntable might be an upgrade over the Beogram, I don't know. With any decently capable turntable, I think the biggest upgrade might be the cartridge, though you didn't say which one you are using, so I don't know that either.

henryjg
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Thanks!

Thank y'all so much!  You've been extremely helpful. One last question. I've read that the cartridge that comes with the Pro-Ject III (Ortofon OM 5E) is a good one for archiving vinyl and that I wouldn't need to upgrade it. Any thoughts on that?  

(I have an MMC 2 cartridge on my Beogram. Can you even get cartridges for the Beogram anymore?)

Demondog
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Beogram MMC2 cartridge

From what I can find, the MMC2 cartridge was top of the line Beogram, and may be a moving coil design judging from its output voltage. Looks like Beogram had their own unique mounting design, so other cartridge brands won't work. But if yours is in good shape it should sound very good.

The Pro-Ject's Otofon is an entry level moving magnet design, and while it's OK at $59, it's not too special. The Beogram MMC2 should be much better.

One MMC2 page at http://www.turntableneedles.com/MMC2_p_820.html and another http://www.lpgear.com/product/BOMMC2.html

henryjg
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Holy crap!

I can't believe that cartridge is selling for $800! I can't imagine I would have paid more than $75 when I bought it. I assume it's in good shape--I can't imagine I've used it for more than 40 or 50 hours of play at most. Maybe I should just get the NAD PP3 and use the turntable I have. Thanks again!

commsysman
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Archiving

The Music Hall USB-1 has a USB connection and a built-in phono stage and comes with an Audio-Technica cartridge. It is $249 from Audio Advisor and is not bad.

It is important to realize that a phono stage is partly to amplify the small cartridge voltage but also to EQUALIZE what is on the record with an RIAA equalization filter.

The output of the phono preamp stage is equalized and amplified so that it can connect to any input on a receiver or amplifier.

The information imbedded in the record grooves had the bass restricted in the recording process, so it must be restored to its proper level by the RIAA circuit; otherwise all you would hear is too much hi-frequency content and little else. If they didn't do this when they mastered the record, the bass would take up too much space and each side of an LP would hold about 4 minutes of music.

If the USB-1 is not quite good enough for you when you try it, you could spend another $150 or so on a better cartridge like the Audio-Tecnica ATP2 and get major improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[quote=henryjg]For space reasons, I need to get rid of some of my large LP collection. I'd like to digitally archive some of them and then get rid of the vinyl. So I want to make sure I do it right. I bought a USB turntable (paid about $150) and tried it out, but I'm really not happy with the results. I'd like to get something better but can't afford anything really high-end.

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