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You have got me thinking about ripping my 1,000+ vinyl collection. I have previously tried it via a horrid Behringer box that provides RIAA equalization and sends it out via USB, where I then trapped it on a laptop.

 

I was never satisfied with the sound doing this, so I only ripped a few LPs.

 

You have just reminded me that I could use my Zoom H4N recorder instead.

 

Would the best (simplest) way to do this be by cabling the Zoom to the tape out circuit via unbalanced RCAs and ripping at the Zoom's highest sample rate (I can't recall if it's 96k or 192k)? If I do this will I get quantizing problems if I then down sample to 44.1k? I usually rip CDs to FLAC at 44.1 kHz as I then listen by streaming them from a NUC into a Sonos Connect wired to my hi-fi, and the Sonos gear doesn't like 96k FLACs.....

 

Any advice and ideas gratefully received before I stuff up 🙂

Edited by norman

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36 minutes ago, betty boop said:

reminds me to pull out those boneyM LPs   :D

This equates to self harm.

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44 minutes ago, TDK said:

 

Well boil my tangerines and colour me purple.

 

When feeding source from RCA and going to RCA, as opposed to using a RCA - Balanced cable, the damn thing works exactly as it should.

 

Setting the trim does precisely what you would expect, and it's showing levels exactly as you would expect. It shows when it's clipping and it's recording the waveform exactly as it's metering it.

 

Tascam.jpg.598e647bbbeb5f3a12f7616db8b868bd.jpg

 

Something really weird is going on when sending an unbalanced level signal into the balanced inputs. It doesn't make sense, but I don't care. It's now doing what it's meant to and it's metering accurately.

 

I'm still waiting on a reply from our friends at Tascam, maybe they can explain why its acting like this. I'm going with confusion on the part of the recorder.

 

 

 

 

"Setting the trim does precisely what you would expect, and it's showing levels exactly as you would expect. It shows when it's clipping and it's recording the waveform exactly as it's metering it."

 

hi TDK, indeed this is what i was trying to say as I had uh7000 indeed working this ways. but yes seems to be the wrong signal level as have found out. and perhaps the wrong signal level overwhelming the circuit or something 

 

as a general rule. I completely stay away from balanced to unbalanced - adapter things as while they might take signal, not to know what they are actually doing. and do nothing for signal level. Rane have a good page on balanced and unbalanced connections. there are right and wrong and if must a convertor (rather than adapter) is way to go.

 

https://www.rane.com/note110.html

 

over the years i have used both balanced and unbalanced gear. still do and now stick to things with balanced connecting up via balanced and things with RCA only sticking to that method only rather than any adapters or anything like that.

 

glad got to bottom of it :) 

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Guest Muon N'

Strange, unless the balanced input raises the gain using an Op Amp *shrug* I have no idea :$

 

Anyhow, great that you worked out the problem :)

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1 hour ago, norman said:

You have got me thinking about ripping my 1,000+ vinyl collection. I have previously tried it via a horrid Behringer box that provides RIAA equalization and sends it out via USB, where I then trapped it on a laptop.

 

I was never satisfied with the sound doing this, so I only ripped a few LPs.

 

You have just reminded me that I could use my Zoom H4N recorder instead.

 

Would the best (simplest) way to do this be by cabling the Zoom to the tape out circuit via unbalanced RCAs and ripping at the Zoom's highest sample rate (I can't recall if it's 96k or 192k)? If I do this will I get quantizing problems if I then down sample to 44.1k? I usually rip CDs to FLAC at 44.1 kHz as I then listen by streaming them from a NUC into a Sonos Connect wired to my hi-fi, and the Sonos gear doesn't like 96k FLACs.....

 

Any advice and ideas gratefully received before I stuff up 🙂

 

Yep that's pretty much the process I follow. Works very well and the sound quality is really good (When its not clipped LOL).

 

In the earlier days it was recommended to sample at 88khz if you want to downsample, but I don't believe with modern software that it's really the big issue that it's made out to be. I sample at 24/96 - more than enough for vinyl.

 

Edited by TDK

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39 minutes ago, betty boop said:

 

"Setting the trim does precisely what you would expect, and it's showing levels exactly as you would expect. It shows when it's clipping and it's recording the waveform exactly as it's metering it."

 

hi TDK, indeed this is what i was trying to say as I had uh7000 indeed working this ways. but yes seems to be the wrong signal level as have found out. and perhaps the wrong signal level overwhelming the circuit or something 

 

 

So weird, because if anything it should be underwhelming the circuit. Even then, why would it show -2dB (and record to the waveform at -2dB) when it's clipping the source so bad...

 

Has to be a 2 stage amplification going on, or perhaps even a dual ADC conversion where the gain is applied to the first step.

 

Hopefully Tascam come back with an explanation, but for now I'm really happy I got to the bottom of it.. Only issue is I need to re-rip a huge section of my collection...

 

What a journey this hobby can be.

 

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5 minutes ago, TDK said:

 

So weird, because if anything it should be underwhelming the circuit. Even then, why would it show -2dB (and record to the waveform at -2dB) when it's clipping the source so bad...

 

Has to be a 2 stage amplification going on, or perhaps even a dual ADC conversion where the gain is applied to the first step.

 

Hopefully Tascam come back with an explanation, but for now I'm really happy I got to the bottom of it.. Only issue is I need to re-rip a huge section of my collection...

 

What a journey this hobby can be.

 

indeed ever learning :D 

 

dont forget when connecting up RCA too XLR...one is what is even happening with the pin assignments ... can have no idea with this with an adapter.. and then to remember there are circuits at both ends ....XLR end and RCA end and how these might be impacted is anyones guess ! :) worth a read of the  RANE page :) 

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Guest Muon N'

Often gear with balanced connections are not balanced circuits, they just have a circuit internally that changes the unbalanced circuit to balanced and adds gain, this is what was going on inside the Behringer SRC 2496 units I used to own and modded.

I removed the XLR sockets on them and installed RCA sockets and took the signal from earlier in the circuit before the balanced tacked on circuit, sounded noticeably better for it.

Edited by Muon N'
oops, typo

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Hi,
I just saw this interesting thread and can sympathise with the OP.
I ran into exactly the same issue about a year ago, with very similar components, including three cartridges, Parasound JC3+ phono stage, balanced cables into Tascam 1000.
Funnily, I concluded that the clipping / limiting occurred at the phono stage. As far as I can remember now, changing those settings seems to have fixed the issue. Don't think it had anything to do with the recorder.
I admit that I did not investigate the problem to the level that you have, but to me, the source was always clear.
Anyway, I'm glad you sorted it out. Cheers!

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5 hours ago, Gandra said:

Hi,
I just saw this interesting thread and can sympathise with the OP.
I ran into exactly the same issue about a year ago, with very similar components, including three cartridges, Parasound JC3+ phono stage, balanced cables into Tascam 1000.
Funnily, I concluded that the clipping / limiting occurred at the phono stage. As far as I can remember now, changing those settings seems to have fixed the issue. Don't think it had anything to do with the recorder.
I admit that I did not investigate the problem to the level that you have, but to me, the source was always clear.
Anyway, I'm glad you sorted it out. Cheers!

 

Cheers Gandra.

 

Since I've been on a recording binge (3 years and counting), my heart sank when I realized what had happened. Thankfully - through chance more than luck - the fallout was limited to the last 300 or so 12" singles I'd recorded, so I'm now in the process of backtracking these and re-recording them.

 

I gotta say I almost threw the towel in, but the quest must be completed! I do also still have some lingering fears that even though the previous recordings weren't clipped, that they still weren't recorded as well as they could have otherwise been. I'll do some spot checks later.

 

The issue was really bizarre. Effectively the inputs could be driven to the point of clipping, but no matter how hard you drive them - the VU meters on the Tascam never read more than -3dB and thus never showed any clipping was occuring - even though the captured waveform was clearly clipped at the source.

 

Changing the cables so that it was being fed an unbalanced output (amp) to an unbalanced input (Tascam) fixed it, previously I was using a RCA/Balanced cable to feed into the Tascam's balanced input.

 

My only guess is it's an issue with voltage levels and potentially a 2 stage amplification process on the inputs into the Tascam.

 

Anyway the support has been very telling, even for a 'professional' product. McIntosh replied in 15 mins even though it turned out to be no fault of theirs - yet I'm getting nothing but crickets from Tascam after 5 days.

 

I'm just glad I found out the issue, but backtracking and re-recording so much music is seriously tedious and is indeed a lesson on needing to check ones assumptions.

 

Edited by TDK

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I understand. Sorry if I missed it, once you've recorded your record, how do you edit it? I record about 6-7 lps and then transfer to my computer, where I edit it in Audacity. There's not more than a day or two difference between them, so I can quickly see if there is an issue. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but how come you didn't notice this issue until more than 300 lps were recorded?

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Just now, Gandra said:

I understand. Sorry if I missed it, once you've recorded your record, how do you edit it? I record about 6-7 lps and then transfer to my computer, where I edit it in Audacity. There's not more than a day or two difference between them, so I can quickly see if there is an issue. Sorry, I don't mean to be rude, but how come you didn't notice this issue until more than 300 lps were recorded?

 

Gandra - because I'm leaving the "editing" phase or the project until after I've recorded everything. More time efficient. Or so I thought!

 

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Ok, sorry again I missed that part of the thread, I'm sure you mentioned it. I hope you have now sorted out all the issues and can get back to ripping. Cheers!

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On 09/10/2019 at 3:42 AM, TDK said:

I figured it out.. Oh FFS...

 

OK so here's the thing...

 

I'm running Unbalanced to Balanced cables from the amp into the Tascam. No reason other than they are nicest set of spare cables I had left..

 

The more mathematically educated amongst you may already know the problem.

 

Anyway, I had the gain on the Tascam set to +12dB because previously I was recording from a MC cart. This indicated levels no higher than -2dB on the Tascam's meters.


When I put the MM in and monitored levels on the Tascam, it also showed no higher than -2dB, so I thought I was golden even though in fact the input volume levels were WAY higher (why Tascam, why?)

 

So here's the problem.....

 

The Tascam was getting confused by the fact that unbalanced voltages were coming into the balanced inputs. Even though the meter was telling me all was sweet, the dB gain setting on the inputs were overdriving what was coming in - even though, strangely, nothing was being recorded higher than -2dB....  Clearly I'm misunderstanding. Changing the gain does move the meters, but they never go over -2dB, even when you are distorting the crap out of your input.

 

Somebody with better knowledge of input voltages can explain this to me... Why an overdriven input didn't show up as (or was recorded as) clipping at 0dB is beyond me. 

 

No wonder my meters on the Tascam NEVER get over -2dB even when being completely overdriven.

 

Software bug in the Tascam or user numpty?

 

Same record with the MM cart with the input gain now set to 4dB as opposed to 12dB... 

 

Fixed.thumb.JPG.84355d833ea68303601e171056e68343.JPG

 

Now to re-record 300 records.

 

Edit: Big shout out to the guys in McIntosh head office. I had them replying to me in an email within 5 mins of me sending off my query. 

 

 

 

Hello there,

 

pretty sad story, sorry for all that wasted effort. I think I would not have bothered to re-rip and simply given up. I'm a bit lazy like that with re-work. ;) 

 

Moral of the story is procedural, I suppose: when you make a change, do a trial run and check the result.

 

cheers

Grant

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