What is your vinyl ripping setup?

For the last few years I’ve been ripping records from my MKII 1200s/Xone23 into the line-in from my Tascam DR-100MKII recorder and am getting exhausted with how thin the rips sound. I’m curious what you lot use and whether you’ve found ways to mitigate thin rips. Thanks!

What carts are you using? I have a similar set up (mixer is Warm 2 though).

Edit: I have Naga carts too, and I’m pleased with the overall results. Very fat and warm sounding rips.

Do you fiddle about with the pots before recording, or do you keep them neutral? Obviously it depends on the mastering of the track, but I tend to boost the mids a little more than bass/treble.

Right now I’m using Ortofon’s white tips (I forget what they’re called). They were recommended to me for both playback and ripping – and they sound good overall.

I definitely pump the bass and mids a bit when ripping but always record a bit quiet so I can pump the volume in post after pulling out any clicks and pops.

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How do you remove the clicks? Sorry I’m pretty basic, and understand less than I make out.

Is there additional processing involved that could degrade the sound maybe?

Fair question. I usually throw it into Audacity and snip out the offending passages. I’ve used the click remover, too, but have had mixed results with that. In my experience since I’m not applying an affect to the whole song I doubt it’s degrading the overall sound.

I know some DJs use compressors or vinyl-specific preamps when ripping but I wouldn’t even know where to start.

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There’s a compressor in Audacity.

I’d also check out the Normalize effect in Audacity too.

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Not what you asked for but unless you’re an audio engineer I’d probably just buy the WAVs from Juno, Traxsource or Bandcamp - the rips never sound the same. The amount of turntables with USBs on them are increasing though and I presume the quality of them is too? It might be worth investing in one if you really want to get busy. You’ll probably still need to master them though, so make sure you have some kick arse monitors, software and time - could be a cool hobby!

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Yeah only bother ripping tunes you 100% can’t buy digitally is a good rule.

Same, I only rip records that aren’t available digitally in stores or on Soulseek. I don’t know if those USB turntables are any good, they often look like they’re built like toys (the ones I’ve seen anyway).

I do wonder about doing a “mastering” on top of an already mastered file.

MK2 1210s with Ortofon Concorde MK2 carts, through my Radius 2 mixer and into my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. I then record into Ableton Live. Pretty happy with how the rips turn out although I will sometimes play about with the recording in Ableton, particularly if there’s a loud click/pop present - I usually just try and edit it out if there’s an identical section of the track I can clone and use. Never had any success with the “click removal” tool in Audacity so I don’t bother with it.

Examples here: https://youtube.com/@DistantWaves

Edit: Probably worth saying that some of the older uploads on my YouTube were ripped using a previous set up of mine that wasn’t quite as good and they sound quite thin, but any upload from the past 6 months will have been with the new set up.

I also rip cassettes from my tape deck straight into the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and then inevitably fiddle about with them in Ableton in a vain attempt to get them sounding good.

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At the moment, I’m recording from the Condesa’s record-out into a Zoom H1n, then touching up in Audacity. For mixes and the tracks I can’t find digitally, it does a pretty good job.

For those that have had trouble with Click Removal in Audacity (like me), I find Crossfade Clips excellent:

  1. Click on the click(!) you want to remove.
  2. Split the clip into two (Edit > Audio Clips > Split).
  3. Drag across each side of the newly-split clip. Only has to be a tiny amount.
  4. Apply the Crossfade Clips effect (Effect > Crossfade Clips).

Voila. Because of the tiny amount of clip you’ve chosen, the crossfade isn’t noticeable whatsoever, but sharp enough that it cuts out the click.

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Thanks, all!

I use MKIIs & Shure Trackmaster pickups through NI S4 mk3 dj controller. So I skip the mixer stage, less analog cables and opportunities for added noise. NI has had good parts for A/D D/A, considerably better sounding than Pioneer through the years.

I’m not sure the Trackmasters are ideal for ripping, I keep thinking of buying sharper needles, ones you shouldn’t scratch with, that sound better/are more resistant to surface noise. But I only have these for now.

I record in Ableton because I’m just bloody used to Ableton.
I have both Izotope RX and Adobe Audition for noise removal. I usually get better results with Audition, tbh. Audition comes with Adobe Creative Cloud, for the graphic designers out there.

I save the raw recording and the noise-removed recording separately.

If it still sounds like shit I master it with the automagic settings in iZotope Ozone. That usually does the trick. There are some online automagic or AI mastering services that don’t cost much, those could be what you’re looking for to fix a thin sound. If all else fails.

I end up with three recordings that I store, and then I usually add the mastered one to my DJ library.

When using iZotope Ozone automagic mastering I choose the DJ algo, not the streaming algo, so Ozone doesn’t compress all life out of the track.

Anway.

To investigate the thin sound, I would compare how the record sounds from vinyl, to your mixer, to your speaker. And how the recording sounds through the mixer to the speakers.

It might be a difference between how your dj setup sounds and how your computer monitoring setup sounds. Not saying it is but worth a look.

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Use a Technics into Rega Fono Mini thing - has a usb so direct into computer, pleased with results.

From Technics 1200 with Shure white label (which need a needle replacement, but that’s another story and thread…)

Usually just leave the files unless a massive click (life’s too short…)

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Do you think the results are better than going via a DJ mixer?

Haven’t done any proper comparisons and to be honest haven’t the set up or ears to be able to tell. Also did old rips through good mixer - Rane Empath or Xone 92.

Main push for me was convenience and visual aesthetics - don’t have decks set up at home, just one turntable in lounge and a mixer next to it was drawing understandable looks from the Visual Aesthetics Director of the House, plus just plugging usb into laptop with no sound card makes it easy to just rip a few vinyl bits while listening / chilling. YMMV.

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“Aesthetics Director”! I know what you mean.

Thanks, might try via phono stage in comparison to mixer/iRig.

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Congratulations to your Visual Aesthetics Director of the House. That Rega thing looks pretty nice.

When it comes to software for ripping or any other recording I use Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack.

Unfortunately, it’s Mac only and costs, but reasonable. Design is good, many capabilities, customer service excellent, updates every so often but not onerously so.

There’s also an audio editor from Rogue, Fission.

Free trials of course. And I like the name Rogue Amoeba. So appropriate for the contemporary world.

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I was a somewhat early adopter of digital Dj’ing, so my ripping project has been going on for close to 20 years… I’ve had a good few years off it, but as I’m currently getting rid of a large portion of my records, I’ve started up again recently, ripping the stuff I’d like to keep a digital copy of.

Experience has taught me a couple of things. This stuff takes A LOT of time, so make sure you get it right the first time. I didn’t, so have had to re-record a fair bit over the years… For one, I recorded through a crap Pioneer mixer at first, which was a really bad idea. Up until around 2007, I also saved everything as 320 kbps MP3, as hard drives didn’t have the storage capacity back then as we have today, something I regret today.

So, my advice would be this:

  1. Use a good cart. No need to go all Koetsu crazy, but use something decent. I’m not a hi-fi freak, but I wouldn’t use a crap cart for this. I’m currently using a Shure Whitelabel, but will have to find something new when the replacement stylus I have wear out.

  2. Change your stylus more often than you think. It’s hard to hear wear, as it comes so gradually, but suddenly you’re at a point where you realize you should’ve changed it a month ago.

  3. Go straight from turntable to a decent phono preamp to your audio interface. Don’t use a mixer if you can avoid it. In my experience it never adds to the sound.

  4. Don’t eq unless you have exceptionally good ears (like being a mastering engineer…).

  5. Record at 24 bit, so that you can record at a lower level. Depending on the music, I guess I generally I like to keep the peaks at no higher than max -5 dB, to avoid clipping at all costs. The noise floor when recording at 24 bit is so low, I doesn’t really matter if you have to boost it a bit later. Try tapping the stylus with your finger before you record. If that makes it clip, you should probably turn it down a bit.

  6. Don’t bother with clicks and pops. As someone else said: life is to short…

  7. Add a limiter to the master when you bounce it (I use the Fabfilter one). I generally try to aim for -14 dB Lufs, but have an eye on how much that compresses the peaks. Will mean you don’t squash the hell out of the final version, but still get it to a decent level.

  8. Save as aiff, not wav as it lets you add metadata. You can also use one of the lossless formats, but I’ve had some issues with CDJs not recognizing them. Space isn’t a concern anymore so I go for aiff.

Rinse and repeat for 5000 times. :laughing:

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Great addition to the thread. Thanks!

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