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Recording vinyl with microphones?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Anyone done it? I searched for "recording vinyl" and found a bunch of options from going line-out to my computer. But, it seems that will negate my phono amp (and speakers) from the equation. And, there are so many choices, it seems kind of overwhelming. So, I'm wondering if anyone around here has ever used a micrphone (or 2) placed in their room, and recorded the sound with whatever type of box will do that sort of thing. I guess it's like a low rent recording studio, but I wonder if it's worth trying.
(I realize this could be done by spending a fortune, but that's not my intent.)
post #2 of 18
You should be able to use two microphones plugged into a PC - just about all sound cards/chips have mic input. That being said I'm not sure if the mic input is mono or stereo. If stereo, you just need a Y-cable of the right type. Getting multi mic input shouldn't be hard to do if not already on the PC.

larry
post #3 of 18
Why?
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
I probably should've mentioned I have a mac, so the sound card is pretty crappy.
Was the "why" for me? If so, I'm looking to get some of my vinyl into digital format, but wanted to try it without the common method of using some gadget connected to my turntable (or my phono amp). Actually, connecting to the amp would probably be better than directly my turntable, but my cables are a pain to access and I think my sound card may be the achilles heel.
post #5 of 18
The best way is to go into the soundcard. As for it being crappy, you should be able to research how good it is maybe by running Google or seeing what's been said about it at a site like hydrogenaudio.com. You of course need to have the output of the turntable go into a phono preamp unless your turntable is one of those that has it built in. Using microphones, you will be enormously disappointed.
post #6 of 18
Don't even think about it.

Get an external soundcard for the Mac if you want; it will have the added benefit of greatly reducing some of the computer "noise" you might otherwise pick up.
post #7 of 18
Not regarding mic recording. in my experience recording with the built in sound card on most Macs quality not the best, I've seen a lot worse cards. I've recorded fine with it. but... but... but.. it does require pre tweaking of the sound levels, test recordings and careful listening.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by broadwayron View Post

I probably should've mentioned I have a mac, so the sound card is pretty crappy.
Was the "why" for me? If so, I'm looking to get some of my vinyl into digital format, but wanted to try it without the common method of using some gadget connected to my turntable (or my phono amp). Actually, connecting to the amp would probably be better than directly my turntable, but my cables are a pain to access and I think my sound card may be the achilles heel.

Well I'd say the ADC in a Mac is still probably better than the alternative. But for any decent recording you'll need "some gadget connected to [your] turntable". You can go realtivley cheap with Griffin's iMic which includes an app specific to recording vinyl. Or for a bit more ART's USB Phono Plus v2 that can also work as an DAC/ADC too. And to really clean it up more there are several shareware apps or the good stuff: BIAS' SoundSoap. Or the cool new program for an intersting visual interface for archiving your vinyl, Pure Vinyl.
post #9 of 18
Recording with microphones will sound terrible, like a telephone speakerphone. Instead, take a wire form the tape record out jacks on your music system (or in lieu of that the headphone jack) and connect directly to your microphone input on the computer. If it distorts because it is expecting a much quieter signal then intentionally use the headphone jack out and turn down the music system's volume until it no longer distorts the sound card.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Why?

Thank you. That is exactly what I was wondering.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. Maybe I'll try one of those USB devices, but I'll look for one without a phono pre-amp (because, I'm assuming I will like my pre-amp better [tube] than the one inside a $99 box).
post #12 of 18
Huh?

Why add an extra transfer function to the conversion chain? Instead of a purely electrical connection from your turntable to PC, you're going to add speakers and their inherent inaccuracies/freq response idiosyncracies, and a mic or set of mics with their own deviations. Not to mention room acoustics, noise, etc.

To me, I think you'd want to REMOVE the speakers and mics from the equation (you're going to be going thru the speakers during playback - why shove it thru again?).

I'd also recommend the USB route (w/o a phono stage - I'm sure your step-up is better). As long as you can get a good A/D conversion, it'll just be a matter of transferring it to your Mac.

PM
post #13 of 18
That is a lot of work for a stereo recording. Now a custom surround recording is a different story......and would involve a lot more work.
post #14 of 18
Hey, I really suggest transferring your vinyl via Line Out. This will help ensure that there are minimal errors and characteristic changes to the sound with your transfer to the computer. Now if you are still interested in the miking technique, there are a few things you want to take into consideration when using a microphone. Number one is that when you add more elements to the transfer process you will be introducing characteristic changes into to the original record that you might not want (The more electrical circuitry the audio signal crosses paths with the more color you will add to the original sound). Also be aware of your surroundings. The room matters! A room will also add a number of variables to the ending sound of the vinyl record. Room areas also have different reverberation and early reflection times (Depending on the size of the room, it may give off a "Shallow" feeling sound to your recording). Unless you want this, be sure to pick a space that has minimal noise and interference to the sound. Lastly, if you do decide to further this technique I suggest using a microphone well suited and designed to carry out the application. The AKG C414 is a great cabinet mic. Capturing more authentic signal to the original sound and will have the sensitivity to the high end "Warmth". If you're on a budget or do not have access to the C414, try The SM-57 by Shure. This is a low budget mic around $100 or less range and has a well known reputation for being the most reliable mic in the industry. Although it is cheaper, no low roll off, or pattern settings, in my opinion will do the job nicely. Let me know how it goes, I'd like to hear how it goes.

Ben
Lead AV Tech, AA Rental
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by broadwayron View Post

Anyone done it? I searched for "recording vinyl" and found a bunch of options from going line-out to my computer. But, it seems that will negate my phono amp (and speakers) from the equation. And, there are so many choices, it seems kind of overwhelming. So, I'm wondering if anyone around here has ever used a micrphone (or 2) placed in their room, and recorded the sound with whatever type of box will do that sort of thing. I guess it's like a low rent recording studio, but I wonder if it's worth trying.

I've done what you suggest and it was pretty horrible sounding. I will shortly explain why.


How will going line-out negate your phono amp?

Aren't you aware of the fact that your (and my) speakers and the room they are in are the absolutely worst parts of your audio system? Compared to the electronics, rooms and speakers are a real can of worms. That's true of the best audio systems that have ever been made. So nothiing against your speakers and room, its just how things are.
post #16 of 18
I digitized over 2500 vinyl records. What a job! I used a Teac CD recorder and burned them to CD-RW. Then I copied the CD-RW to a hard drive and erased it for the next dub. I would think that, if you have an ADC in or around your computer, that would certainly save one step and make it easy. Do not record music from your speakers with a microphone.
post #17 of 18
I would second the recommendation of the ART USB phono thing; I've never used one, but as far as I can tell it is a decent phono preamp combined with a versatile USB interface. It can record from line input as well, has a headphone output to listen to either input, output, or a mix of both, and also has S/PDIF I/O so you can capture from digital sources or connect to an AVR, pre/processor, or outboard DAC.

When it comes to digitizing my records, I intend to use a Bugle preamp feeding a Behringer SRC-2496 ADC via Toslink to an Audigy 2 ZS PCI card. I"m not sure what turntable, but probably a Technics 1200 fitted with a new arm since the original is beaten up from DJ use. Or, possibly a Kenwood KD-500 with SME arm if I can figure out why it doesn't hold speed.

Recording with microphones? Only if you're deliberately trying to preserve the tone of a vintage portable record player for some reason. Or it's a rare 45 inside a jukebox and there is no other way.
post #18 of 18

Considering the OP hasn't been here for 6 years I doubt any of these recent posts are getting to the intended recipient.

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