Recording vinyl
#1

Hi all. I used to DJ (a couple of decades ago!) and have an extensive vinyl collection. I now want to record my vinyl collection before selling the more valuable ones. My old mixer has given up the ghost, and my current PC has a bog-standard onboard sound card. I still have my Technics decks with decent Ortofon cartridges.

Broadly my question is this: which of these two options seems better?

1) Buy a decent mixer, a decent sound card and adopt the following set-up: turntable > mixer > sound card.
2) Buy a decent phono preamp, amp and sound card and adopt the following set-up: turntable > phono preamp > amp > sound card.

In both cases I'll be using Audacity to record.

Money isn't an issue, though because I don't have any real desire to do any mixing, I obviously want to spend significantly less than I earn from selling my collection, otherwise it's a loss-making exercise. The collection will probably fetch a couple of grand in total, so I'm hoping to spend no more than a few hundred (GBP). Sound quality should be good, but not audiophile level (it's vinyl after all).

Any constructive ideas welcome!
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#2

I use option 2 but either is fine as long as you've got the best components you can afford at every step.
beats are there to be broken http://musicindevon.org/
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#3

I know nothing about this, but Wave anyway
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#4

Over a decade ago, I DAT recorded all my vinyl. 

My advice: You don't really need to invest even hundreds for this. Max £50. Invest the money in a good digital recorder (fits second option criteria). 

How does this work? It's much easier than soundcard trial and error I find. Digital recorders like my £35.00 from Viking online shop Olympus VN13 Digital Recorder is a condenser microphone and speaker.  Records up to 192kbps Mp3s, but there are many higher spec ones out there. 

So providing you have cloths, liquids and good cartridges, you would be fine. Set up your record start and end point, and press record. Simples.

Downside here is if you want to have spick and span recordings as opposed to ones with the odd background recording noise. Such as footsteps.

Hope that helps.
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#5

Thanks for the input so far, guys. I won't be going for the digital recorder, though. Although I said sound quality doesn't have to be amazing, I'd still want it to be as good as downloading music off of YouTube. Plus I'll be working whilst recording the records, which means keyboard clattering sounds. To pause my work whilst recording would mean reduced productivity and reduced earnings that would vastly outstrip the gain from selling the records.
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#6

In that case option 2. No offence taken. Phono preamp straight to sound card or mixer to sound card, take out as much interference as possible.

I recommend as a soundcard, although my recommendation is with 15 year old specification, at least an M Audio 2496 computer soundcard to be slotted in easily. Cost me £80 back then.
Because you know how to use Audacity, you're fine there.
Otherwise, remember (simple I know) to use the waveforms as a guide when stopping the vinyl, not just when the record stops. Over time, you will be able to adjust your work flow accordingly.

Peas
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#7

Cool. Thanks for the additional input, Muttley. Yes, I had M Audio in mind as a brand with decent sound quality at a decent price for my purposes. I don't need studio quality, but I don't want some dreadful, tinny recordings for all the effort it will cost. My local computer shop only sells Creative Sound Blaster ZX as it's most 'sophisticated' sound card. Otherwise it's all onboard ones in cheap PCs.

I used to do some post-editing of mixes in Cubase, so compared to that Audacity is a piece of cake (though less impressive).

Can I ask what you mean about using the waveforms as a guide when stopping the vinyl, not just when the record stops? I'm not quite sure what's being referred to there.
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#8

Mornin' chap or chapette,

Waveforms: I'm basically referring to the frequency wave, the hertz of the recording, which in music editors such as Ableton and Blaze Media Pro (latter 15 years ago high-end soundwave editor) comes as standard sight.

When you get used to seeing lots of waves, frequency waves, sound waves et al, you can predict when the vinyl is ending, what you need to trim off to make it better, what will sound better.

Naturally, this applies to the start of the recording(s) as well, the needle drop can be trimmed, making a solid soundwave recording with maximum optimised studio quality.

Blaze Media was my Audacity. I trialled it for a month and loved it so much I bought the enhanced £50 version. I recorded my 250-ish small collection into .wav / 320kbps Mp3 and have everything still.

So yeah. It's also worth investing in good cabling. Doesn't have to be gold connectors as some audiophiles bang on about, just solid connectors with ease of use to connect everything.

In other subjects related, not all vinyl turntables used to come with preamps, but pretty much all do now; the call for DJing in the eighties (from research, I wasn't around) became too necessitated.
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#9

A sound wave, if you need extra reminding, Is this thing:

{-//////////-]

It's a visual block of data about the music you are recording. Really helps you learn tracks and re-learn them sonically.
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#11

Hi there. Thanks for the comments above. I got to the stage of realising that I might as well go for the mixer > sound card option, because the price difference between getting a half-decent mixer and getting a half-decent phono preamp and amp won't be huge, so I might as well have the capacity to do some mixing. I've been busy with work, but intend to look into mixers in more detail. I looked at the Pioneer DJM 900, but it's got too many effects for my liking, and I don't want to pay a grand extra just for effects that I can add in software.
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