OK Thanks guys,
As far as compact discs are concerned, I'm glad to see your comments agree with what I thought. I'll probably still rip them but into 44.1/16 FLAC or ALAC files. The only problem I have with FLAC files is that they're not supported by Apple's iTunes or their iPod products, however it's a simple solution just to convert him to a very similar format called ALAC which, you guessed it is an acronym for Apple lossless audio codec. I imagine this is a simple licensing problem with Apple. :-) I have downloaded some live concerts from a site called amazingly " live downloads com" where some bands which will give you the option between FLAC or ALAC at the same cost, both at 44.1/16.
Okay so now on the LP vinyl records, using the program audacity I have it set up to initially record under our quality preferences of 96 kHz and a sample depth of 32-bit float. The 96 kHz I just chose for testing but you can choose rates from 8 - 192Hz (or presumably greater just by entering a number in the project rate field). the 32-bit float bit depth setting is quite interesting because from what I've read it allows essentially an infinite dynamic range, however the problem is not only the file size but the fact the very few DACs, even the really expensive ones will play this. That is okay because all I'm using the settings for is the initial raw digital capture which I'll save to file as an audacity project. I will archive these files and back them up obviously, file space actually is not a problem for me right now I'm running a 36 TB NAS server ( by the way I am storing other stuff and backing other stuff to it as well ).
Using these original files I can make multiple exports in audacity, right now I'm testing out exporting them at 96 kHz and 32 bit PCM, as well as 96 kHz and 24 bit PCM in uncompressed AIFF format.
Just for your interest in the file sizes involved here, they are all for one side of one record which is about 24 minutes, the initial RAW recording file at 96 kHz and 32 bit float ranges from 3.5 to 4 GB, and exported AIFF file at 96 kHz and 32 bit is about 1.1 to 1.4 GB and the exported a AIF file 96 kHz at 24 bit ranges from 700MB to 1GB. -Remember that these are all uncompressed AIFF, and I'm just playing around with some of the settings. I have saved a couple in 96/24 FLAC format and they come in around the 500 to 600 MB range.
OK now the thing is I'm not an expert at using audacity or any other digital recording software. I should be getting a book or manual in hard print about running audacity tomorrow, there are a lot of settings to understand such as " remove clicks " " normalize ".
Just to give you an example, the audacity online tutorial or manual highlights these editing actions in an LP workflow:
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"Remove DC offset
DC offset can occur at the recording stage so that the recorded waveform is not centered on the horizontal line at 0.0 amplitude. Use the Normalize effect to remove any DC offset. Put a check mark in "Remove any DC offset..." but leave "Normalize maximum amplitude..." unchecked.
Remove subsonic rumble and low frequency noise
Use Effect > High Pass Filter... with a setting of 24 dB per octave rolloff, and a cutoff frequency of 20 - 30 Hz to remove unwanted subsonic frequencies which can cause clicks when editing. If your record is warped, this will definitely generate unwanted subsonics, in which case consider a lower cutoff frequency.
This step can probably be omitted given a flat record and high quality turntable, arm and cartridge.
Remove clicks and pops
There are a number of ways you can use Audacity to remove clicks and pops from your recording.
Use the Click Removal effect on either selected regions of audio or on the whole project. Preview the effect with different settings to get the best results.
Clicks which did not get removed with Click Removal can be treated individually with other methods. These are only really useful if you have a relatively small number of clicks and pops to deal with, otherwise the approach may be too labour-intensive and time-consuming:
Try Audacity's Repair effect. This repairs a very short length of up to 128 samples by interpolating from the neighbouring samples. You will need to zoom in to see the individual samples to use this effect.
For somewhat longer regions of audio, try:
Draw Tool. You also need to be zoomed in to the individual samples to use this. Some patience may be needed with this tool, but the principle is to put samples back into line with their neighbours so that a smooth contour is presented.
Effect > Hard Limiter.... This is an extreme compressor effect, but can be effective used on an individual click. There is no need to zoom right in to sample level to use this.
Remove hiss and high frequency noise
Get a noise sample from either the lead-in grooves immediately before the music starts, or from a lead-in between tracks. Apply the Noise Removal effect with Noise Reduction set to no more than 12 dB (9 dB is a good guideline), Frequency smoothing 300 Hz and Attack/decay time 0.25 seconds.
Noise reduction is always a compromise, because on the one hand you can have all the music and a lot of noise, and on the other hand, no noise and only some of the music. Try different settings on the "Noise Reduction (dB)" slider until you get the best compromise.
Whether you need to use Noise Removal will depend on the quality of your LPs and your stylus and cartridge.
Clean the inter-track gaps
These are rarely truly silent so you may want to replace them with silence by selecting the gap and using CTRL+L. Reduce the inter-track gap as desired to around a maximum of 2 seconds, though you may wish to use a shorter gap or even no gap at all for some recordings.
Note that CD burning software almost always adds a 2-second gap between tracks by default. Check for any options to turn this off, or for "gapless burning" or "Disc-at-once (DAO)" options that you can enable.
Adjust label positions
If you are using a 2-second gap, adjust the label position as desired to be 0.5 seconds before the start of the next track. To move the label, drag by its center circle.
Normalize the amplitude of the recording. Use Effect > Normalize as the last editing step to bring the amplitude to around -3.0 dB. The Normalize effect can be set to either:
adjust the amplitude of both stereo channels by the same amount (thus preserving the original stereo balance) or
adjust each stereo channel independently (this can be useful if your equipment is not balanced).
The Compressor effect reduces the dynamic range of audio. One of the main purposes of reducing dynamic range is to permit the audio to be amplified further (without clipping) than would be otherwise possible.
Compressor makes the loud parts quieter and (optionally) the quiet parts louder. It can be very useful for listening to classical music in a car. Such music normally has a wide dynamic range and can thus be difficult to listen to in a car without constant volume re-adjustment."
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The reason I mention all of these is partly in response to part of kraut's reply :
"Higher rates than 44.1 and 16 bits is nonsense, waste of digital storage and makes no sense when taking into account the flaws of a medium like an LP. I have yet to hear an LP that does not have some surface noise, even aside from the lead in/out tracks and between tracks."
Which of course is true and I knew that from the beginning.
However even if these flaws can't be that much reduced, then for me and this is really just a subjective call, I'd still like the music portion to be as high resolution as possible.
And some vinyl recording simply never made it to CD or digital downloads, they are the equivalent of " out-of-print ".
Thanks again for reading and your replies.