I finally convinced my dad to pass on his LP collection to me, so I just went from a few dozen to a couple hundred records to spin, many of which I don't have on other formats. Right now I have an Art DJ Pre II preamp, which I like. Now that I have enough new content that recording to digital makes sense, I'm in the market for an upgrade with USB and could use some suggestions.
Here are my requirements:
-96khz/24 bit USB recording. My goal is to have a raw 96/24 recording of each album side archived so that I only have to record each album once. I can then muck around in Audacity until I get the levels and EQ reasonably close to my CD-based music files. Once I have the presets nailed down, I can just to a batch convert to 48/16 for my itunes library and I can keep the untouched HD versions around in case I want to go back and fix something.
-High quality analog processing. I'm not worried about the fidelity of the ADC or USB transfer, but getting the most accurate possible analog signal to the ADC is key. Everything I'm looking at includes RIAA EQ, but is some hardware significantly better than others? What other specs/features should I be looking for?
-$100 or less.
So far, the best option I've found is the Creative X-Fi HD USB. It's covers all the bases above, and has a lot of extra features that add value beyond the core features I'm looking for. It's also only $85, and have a very nice clean appearance.
Anything else I should be looking at? The Behringer UCA202 is the least expensive option at $30, but it tops out at 48khz (and I presume 16bit, but can't find any specs on bit depth). Wouldn't be a problem if I were recording cleaner analog audio, but I want the option to do a lot of post-processing with Audacity to clean up and balance out the sound, so I would feel much better with a 96/24 ADC.