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ripping vinyl to mp3

This is a discussion on ripping vinyl to mp3 within the General Chat music genre on tuneID.com; Not exactly tuneid related, but i'm sure all you oldskoolers appreciate the importance of preserving those gems from back ...


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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 20th July 2009, 06:59 PM
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Default ripping vinyl to mp3

Not exactly tuneid related, but i'm sure all you oldskoolers appreciate the importance of preserving those gems from back in the day and will be able to help!

Its finally time for me to convert all my non-digitally-available tunes. I'm doing my best to make as good quality copies as i can - cleaning the vinyl, brand new stylus for recording only, and some post-recording wave editor software.

I'm familiar with the process, but was looking for some advice / input on 2 areas:

1. Does anyone have any thoughts on using 320kbps vs flac for the final compression. I have read up and understand that on high end audio kit, you can hear the difference. But is that so relevant when the source audio is a vinyl rip rather than a professionally produced cd?

2. Does anyone have any tips on any post-recording work that i could do on the wave file. I intend to use a de-hisser and de-crackler for those problems, but i read somewhere that compression can also produce a better quality track. Does anyone know about this kind of thing?

Am i taking this too far??? I want good quality tunes on my pc!

Cheers
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 20th July 2009, 07:02 PM
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Basically with converting to Flac u get no loss so thats why most are converting that way now. It all depends on how fussy people are or what they are using it for. If its for home use i would say 320 is fine but , If its for playing out people want Flac or Wav
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Old 20th July 2009, 09:19 PM
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There are a lot of myths and personal opinions when it comes to lossy vs. lossless compression formats, and you'll probably get 100 different answers. Here's my view:

1. In a blind test, you may always hear a difference, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you can sort the lossy compression from the control (the unmodified test sample) But that's the endless debate of hearing the difference. There is always a technical difference, which can be seen if you compare waveforms. When it comes to digitizing music that you are to process later, you'll want to keep a lossless format for as long as possible until you're done with the audio processing. Apart from a few very special audio codecs through history (like BBC MPEG1 Layer 2), re-compressing an audio file will degrade the signal a bit more every time you do so.

The answer to the second half of question 1 - "Is [hearing the pre/post compression difference] relevant when the source audio is a vinyl rip rather than a professionally produced CD?":
- I would argue that it is actually more relevant when ripping vinyl than a CD. The challenges for the compression algorithms are the same, they're just more abundant in the case of vinyl. Let me explain: The MP3 algorithm uses time-window analysis to determine the ear's natural masking in three domains - frequency, time and also phase (for mp3s encoded in "joint stereo"). While fine nuances in frequency and phase may not be too ugly after compression (like diffuse overtone structures or out-of-phase effects), the by far most problematic variable is small nuances in time. A classic example is a simple transient, which is only 1 sample long, but through compression gets blurred out into the full length of the time-window. A vinyl record is full of such transients (pops and crackles), so the noise of the vinyl medium puts more stress on the compression algorithm than a typical "noiseless CD".

2. I know friends who spend lots of time using de-hissers and de-cracklers, and high-end software can sometimes do a surprisingly good job. I generally avoid using such tools myself, since you usually can hear artifacts from the process anyway, and the artifacts sound more disturbing than the original noise IMO. However, I do remove the worst popcorn effects manually, using the pencil tool in Audacity (one may just as well run a heavy low-pass filter across the few samples in question to get a similar effect).

Second half of question 2: Apart from most encoders using a 20Hz high-pass filter before encoding, I don't see any reason at all why compressing an audio file can produce a (technically) better sound. Unless we're talking the effects of dynamic compression, but that's a totally unrelated topic and is something that we should keep out of this discussion to avoid confusion.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 12:01 PM
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Great, thanks very much for those answers. C14ru5, thanks in particular for that detailed reply. You've helped me decide part 1 quite easily - flac, though i was swaying in that direction already.

As for part 2, sorry i was referring to dynamic compression. I did make some effort after reading your reply to go away and do some investigation on this process. It does sound like it could potentially improve the sound, i would guess particularly on those older house tracks where the sound quality was never fantastic in the frst place. Have you (or anyone else out there) actually used this? Is it worth the effort?

Again many thanks.
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Old 22nd July 2009, 07:39 PM
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Well, I try to stay away from using/listening to exaggerated dynamic compression. That's one of the reasons why I mostly listen to pre-1995 stuff, before the rise of multiband compression/limiting during the last 15 years (Wikipedia:Loudness War).

Used very gently (like running your audio through a tube compressor with 2-3% distortion), many say they prefer that sound. In particular if your source material was poorly/cheaply masted originally, you may perceive a better-sounding result. But you really should know what you're doing before you wander down that path.
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Old 27th July 2009, 03:41 PM
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Ok many thanks for your input C14ru5, thanks to your comments and some late night reading i think im about good to go. Much appreciated.
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Old 31st August 2010, 02:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C14ru5 View Post
There are a lot of myths and personal opinions when it comes to lossy vs. lossless compression formats, and you'll probably get 100 different answers. Here's my view:

1. In a blind test, you may always hear a difference, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you can sort the lossy compression from the control (the unmodified test sample) But that's the endless debate of hearing the difference. There is always a technical difference, which can be seen if you compare waveforms. When it comes to digitizing music that you are to process later, you'll want to keep a lossless format for as long as possible until you're done with the audio processing. Apart from a few very special audio codecs through history (like BBC MPEG1 Layer 2), re-compressing an audio file will degrade the signal a bit more every time you do so.

The answer to the second half of question 1 - "Is [hearing the pre/post compression difference] relevant when the source audio is a vinyl rip rather than a professionally produced CD?":
- I would argue that it is actually more relevant when ripping vinyl than a CD. The challenges for the compression algorithms are the same, they're just more abundant in the case of vinyl. Let me explain: The MP3 algorithm uses time-window analysis to determine the ear's natural masking in three domains - frequency, time and also phase (for mp3s encoded in "joint stereo"). While fine nuances in frequency and phase may not be too ugly after compression (like diffuse overtone structures or out-of-phase effects), the by far most problematic variable is small nuances in time. A classic example is a simple transient, which is only 1 sample long, but through compression gets blurred out into the full length of the time-window. A vinyl record is full of such transients (pops and crackles), so the noise of the vinyl medium puts more stress on the compression algorithm than a typical "noiseless CD".

2. I know friends who spend lots of time using de-hissers and de-cracklers, and high-end software can sometimes do a surprisingly good job. I generally avoid using such tools myself, since you usually can hear artifacts from the process anyway, and the artifacts sound more disturbing than the original noise IMO. However, I do remove the worst popcorn effects manually, using the pencil tool in Audacity (one may just as well run a heavy low-pass filter across the few samples in question to get a similar effect).

Second half of question 2: Apart from most encoders using a 20Hz high-pass filter before encoding, I don't see any reason at all why compressing an audio file can produce a (technically) better sound. Unless we're talking the effects of dynamic compression, but that's a totally unrelated topic and is something that we should keep out of this discussion to avoid confusion.

Thanks you for the post.
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Old 31st August 2010, 07:59 AM
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Nice one there C14ru5!

I made this thread a sticky one as I think more peeps will benefit from this
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