Compression From Vinyl To Digital Playback And Recording Using Audacity

So for the last couple months I’ve been getting into high-res audio before i would just stream it from Spotify, YouTube, Or Pandora
and i never really thought about what i had been missing out on. So i bought some CD’s and converted them to FLAC With EAC with the highest quality settings i could use, and was blown away by what i had been missing out on so i wanted to delve deeper i started researching vinyl to digital and since I’ve been collecting since 2013 i already have a ton of LP’s so i thought i would record them and before i would just record in MP3 which i thought was the best but after i got into High-Res Audio i realized that most of if not all the LP’s i own are from the 70’s and 80’s which are for the most part sourced from analog so to me it’s gotta have better quality and a more warm sound compared to the more recent reissues and digital YouTube, iTunes files. So i recorded a couple and had to redo it multiple times due to a crap pre-amp and a bad cartridge alignment but after all that i got a GeoDisc for alignment and a new pre-amp which is the ART ART DJPre II and so far I’ve had really good results and keep in mind that i listen to and record my vinyl from the pre-amp to the PC it does NOT go through the receiver i have, so basically all my audio is being digitalized what my prob is, is not that the Analog source is being digitalized cause my goal the whole time has been to have the highest quality digital files i can have but what I’m concerned about is if my records are being compressed when they’re being played back through my PC and recording using Audacity i record in 96khz, 32-bit float so everything default except for the sample rate and bitrate so i know i’m recording at a high sample rate and bitrate to preserve as much audio as i can most people say it’s overkill but i’m not gonna take the risk but if i’m going out of my way to record the best then i want the best hardware to do it so i discovered that my PC does NOT have a built in Analog to Digital Converter IDK if my pre-amp does most people say the more modern pre-amps like the DJPre that i have include a built in DAC but if that’s not the case then i would have to re-record 20+ albums which is a pain in my rear so what i want to know is if i need A DAC since my turntable is going through the DJPre II straight to my PC and if my audio is being molested by the PC’s onboard realtek audio. Now to my ears it sounds fine but i’m no expert I’ve only been listening to high-res audio since about late April so all i want to know is with the hardware i have if i need a DAC, does my pre-amp have one already, and if my PC is compressing the sound when playing back and recording from an Analog Source. Now i Know that my PC is using DirectSound which most people prefer ASIO or WASAPI but i’m a PC Gamer as well so i want to play a game while i record so ASIO And WASAPI are out of the picture. I also use 2 different audio sources using Voicemeeter for playback which is the Speakers/Headphones on the PC which is my 2 Sony bookshelf speakers and 2 old Allegro speakers which are connected to my Sherwood RX-5502 as well as my 2 Bose 161’s on the other side of my room and a second Panasonic Kelton Subwoofer my friend gave to me. And for the second (digital) audio source which is the Panasonic SA-BT300 Surround Sound System it is also being used with my Audio setup so i have 2 inputs of sound and with Voicemeeter i use the A1, and A2 Hardware Out so i can use both systems at once now i know there has to be some kind of delay most of my 96khz recordings are being resampled to 48khz because that’s my default settings because my surround sound for some reason when using the digital optical cable only goes up to 48khz and with the AUX it goes to 96khz but since that’s already being used by my RX-5502 setup i can’t go above 48 so to me i feel like i’m not getting the true potential and i also use Equalizer APO for Bass and what not so i have alot of things going on and it sounds great but if i don’t have a DAC or a good soundcard then i’m not unlocking the true potential of the music recordings or playback so it begs the question is my onboard audio enough for high-res audio listening, does my pre-amp have a internal DAC, or should i invest in a DAC and soundcard for use with my pre-amp and turntable.

The Rig:
Alienware Aurora R6
Intel i7 7700k
GTX 1080
Toshiba DT01ACA200 2TB HD
PC300 NVMe SK Hynix 256GB SSD
Onboard Realtek ALC899 audio according to Dell tech support no DAC
Windows 10 Home

Audacity for recording the LP’s
Voicemeeter for playback as well as the Line-in on Hardware Input for the audio to get from the turntable to the pre-amp to the PC and both systems at once
Equalizer APO for equalization and its does NOT effect the recordings I’ve checked and made sure it doesn’t

Phono Hardware:
Kenwood KD-3070
Shure M97xe
Rockford Fosgate Aux cable from the Preamp to a AUX to 3.5 adapter into the back of the pc on the Line-In Port

Audio Hardware:
Sherwood RX-5502 connected with the 2 Zenith Allegro 3000’s, the 2 Sony SS-MB350H’s and the 2 Bose 161’s along with the Panasonic Kelton Sub
Then my other (digital) setup the Panasonic SA-BT300 Surround Sound System which has a Kelton Sub and all the surround speakers connected and placed according to the manual.

Thanks for reading and please get back to me as soon as possible. Thnks :smiley:

That’s very hard to read… Ever heard of paragraphs?

Your soundcard has a DAC. If you’re using a digital connection to your surround sound system, your surround sound system has a DAC. A DAC is a digital-to-analog converter. That’s the only way to get an analog signal out of your soundcard. You can’t hear anything without a DAC.

If you’re not hearing noise out of your sound card it’s probably better than human hearing. (Frequency response and distortion are almost always better than human hearing).

i realized that most of if not all the LP’s i own are from the 70’s and 80’s which are for the most part sourced from analog so to me it’s gotta have better quality and a more warm sound

I don’t know what you mean by “warm” but analog studio tape was (technically) inferior to “CD quality” and records are (technically) far worse. The biggest limitation is noise which puts the dynamic range somewhere around 70dB under ideal conditions and typically it’s much worse. That’s a gives you usable “resolution” equivalent to something like 12-bits. Then, there are frequency response variations in production and differences in phono cartridges. Under some conditions you can get audible tracking distortion.

If you prefer the sound of vinyl then you can say it’s “better”, but that’s a matter of taste. In terms of fidelity or accuracy, analog doesn’t compare.

Now i Know that my PC is using DirectSound which most people prefer ASIO or WASAPI but i’m a PC Gamer as well so i want to play a game while i record so ASIO And WASAPI are out of the picture.

You don’t have to use DirectSound for everything. But for playback you probably won’t hear a difference. The main advantage of ASIO is low-latency, but that’s only important for recording and only in some recording situations (where the performer needs to hear their self with no delay in the headphones). ASIO also won’t resample which can be an advantage or a disadvantage. (WASAPI also has a no-resampling mode.) You also need special hardware with ASIO drivers. And, special software. Audacity doesn’t support ASIO.)

i know there has to be some kind of delay most of my 96khz recordings are being resampled to 48khz

Since your recordings are from the 70’s or 80’s, there’s already 40 years of delay and I don’t think a couple more milliseconds is going to hurt anything. :wink:

Sorry about the writing i don’t really use forums alot let alone type alot, i went through each line to make sure it was spelled correctly i didn’t think about paragraphs or sentences really i know i’m bad at spelling sorry :cry:.

What i meant by no DAC is my PC doesn’t have one that is what Dell said to me this morning when i asked them does it have an internal DAC they said no but like you said how does it get to the PC then If there is no DAC so i assume my pre-amp has one internally, again i’m no expert most of my life I’ve used MP3 and Lossy listening so idk alot i just know they said it didn’t have one so i wanted to know if my PC and Pre-amp are enough or am i missing something.

What i meant by warm is it sounds like your right there if you know what i mean with digital files
mostly what i have is from CD i don’t get that sound or there is little instrumentation
now i know i listen to my records and record them digitally but there is a difference in sound from CD vs Digitalized Vinyl (Analog Recording To Digital) when i said better that’s also what i meant it just sounds better to me less metallicy just warmer better sound to me i know that digital is better in many ways and is definitely more superior but with compression and most music these days we don’t have that unless you have a CD that’s not badly compressed or Vinyl or buy from let’s say HDTracks, or AcousticSounds to name a few and even then there’s something just not right.

Now with the way my PC plays back my audio or records it, alot of people have said there is a huge difference between WASAPI and DirectSound or ASIO i don’t know alot about ASIO i just know that WASAPI is more accurate then DirectSound and ASIO is also better then DirectSound now personally i’ve used Foobar2000 for a comparison between DirectSound And WASAPI and for me i couldn’t hear the difference i just thought i might bring it up so u guys can clear it up for me.

What do you mean by 40 years of delay do you mean the music format itself is outdated or do you mean there is an actual delay between the needle tracking across the groves and the way my PC Picks it up?? I’m confused by that. What I meant when i said delay was when it’s being played back straight or playing back a 96khz vinyl rip on 48khz default sound settings is there a delay or distortion being introduced is the quality being reduced?? I know humans can only hear to about 22khz and from what I’ve read some people can hear to 30khz but when the PC is playing a song that is 96khz or straight from record whatever my settings are it will resample it to that systems default sample rate with straight vinyl playback idk if it’s being resampled but with WASAPI i’m sure that’s not the case but like i said i like to be able to play games and what not while i record so with WASAPI i wouldn’t be able to hear anything else, so really what my main concern is do i need an External DAC like Cambridge Audio to name a brand of good DAC’s, do i need a good soundcard for no delay or quality sacrifices, or is my Internal Pre-amp DAC or PC DAC (I guess Dell was lying to me idk why they would) is it good enough or should i rethink all this before i record anymore and waste my time with lower quality playback and vinyl recordings.

Again sorry for the poor spelling and sentencing please bare with me thanks :smiley:

I’ve scanned through your initial post, and not found a single “?”
What is your question?

I’ll post this here as it appears to be difficult to find verifiable facts regarding hearing of sounds above 20kHz.

The above paper indicates that in laboratory conditions, a few individuals have been found to be able perceive frequencies above 20 kHz if the sound level is high enough. I think it’s worth noting that the sound levels used for these tests are around 10 million times higher than the threshold of hearing at 1 kHz, and that the frequencies present in natural musical sources decline rapidly at frequencies above 10 kHz. In other words, sounds that may theoretically be present in music that are above 20 kHz, are millions of times lower than the threshold of perception, even for people that have extraordinarily good high frequency perception.

Wikipedia also states (

The range shrinks during life,[14] usually beginning at around age of eight with the upper frequency limit being reduced.

The citation references this paper:

So I did some more research and found out i didn’t know a whole lot about DAC’s or Digital To Analog Converters (pretty much everything with a headphone jack/line-in jack has a DAC) really all i thought it was is for a turntable to be connected to a PC or in my case the ART ART DJPREII to the PC (through a Rockford Fosgate cable to a AUX to 3.5 adapter into line-in on the back of my R6). But all i need to know is if the turntable the (Kenwood KD-3070), the needle (Shure M97xe aligned with the GeoDisc), and the ART DJPREII is enough for high quality recordings because i don’t have a PCIe Soundcard i read up on it people said you can, but how big of a difference will it make when recording let’s say off a Sound BlasterX AE-5 instead of recording on the Realtek onboard sound.

And also i heard good things about external DAC’s like Audioengine D1, or the Schiit Magni 3 & Modi 2 (Amp & Dac Bundle for headphones) now the headphone DAC should make the sound better compared to the Front I/O ports on my PC but i have a Avantree DAC01 it was like 35 bucks i bought it before i used Foobar, and FLAC files so it’s not perfect for high-res but it’s better than the onboard front I/O audio (mechanical noises). But with all that being said there is alot to take in here honestly i’m confused about all this i just want to have the best possible sound with what i have, and if onboard Realtek audio on the new Auroura R6 is enough for 96khz 32- bit float vinyl recordings and should i think about getting a AE-5 and the Magni & Modi bundle, and also do i need a better internal DAC (like the X AE-5) or an external DAC to connect to the pre-amp people have said you can do that but idk if that’s just overkill plus the inputs on the Schiit DAC’s and amps are mostly for playback i don’t think i can record through them to the PC and the pre-amp at once.

So really the question i’ve been asking is do i need a Soundcard (AE-5 through DJPRE for recording vinyl and RX-5502/SA-BT300 playback), External DAC (for listening with my Project Riot headphones), and is my ART DJPre II, and Fosgate cable doing a good enough job recording without a AE-5 and just onboard Realtek audio?

Even though everything you have cited above is true there is one major flaw in the logic. Namely the simplification that all the sound we listen to in a live situation is in the form of a sine wave or waves. This is completely untrue and therefore renders all of these experiments based on simple tone generators meaningless. It is not enough to say that mathematically all pressure variations can be expressed as complex functions of sine waves, and furthermore human hearing is not a digital process or mechanism. Not all instruments produce significant output at high frequencies but some do ( notably percussive ones but also secondary sound from plucked strings etc.) and the true limitation of what can be reproduced is in the recording chain whether analogue or digital.

Rather than buying the Artcessories DJ Pre-11 preamp - you would probably have been better off getting the Artcessories USB Phono Plus:

This device is basically a DJ-Pre11 with and added onboard DAC/ADC and a USB interface to connect directly between your turntable and your PC.

That looks like a great pre-amp but i already have the DJPREII without the USB and i just bought it in June so i really
don’t want to buy another pre-amp with ADC/DAC if i already have a standard DJPREII , but since the USB Version has a internal ADC is it any better sound production wise then what i have? I’m assuming it’s the same on the standard DJPREII except for the DAC/ADC so it prob does a better job then the onboard PC converter but if i want to do it simply couldn’t i just get a USB DAC (NOT pre-amp) for the PC to go with the DJPREII i have a cheap Avantree DAC01 right now just so i can get used to having a DAC for Headphone listening but as far as recording goes it’s no way going to reproduce what i want so i was thinking about getting either a X-AE5 for recording/everyday playback gaming, high-res audio etc, prob upgrade to a Ortofon 2M Red or Blue maybe a Jico SAS haven’t done alot of research on cartridges but for the hardware/software i have is it good enough for playback/recording or am i blocking the true potential of my system. I know there is pieces of 100,000 dollar hardware/software out there for all this but for what i have now without the DJPREII USB, External DAC, X-AE5 will it get the job done and respectively produce enough to the point where i’m happy with it, i just feel like the DJPREII and the Realtek audio aren’t doing my M97xe, KD-3070 justice. Also what about cables?? I Know it sounds trivial but alot of people
swear by good cables right now i just use a Rockford Fosgate AUX to a cheap but good 3.5 to AUX adapter straight to the back of my mobo’s line-in. And in Audacity is there any settings i should use like i said in my first post My Audacity is default except for the way it’s recorded so right now it’s using the Line In (Realtek Audio) and playing back on VoiceMeeter Input (VB-Audio VoiceMeeter VAIO) and recording at 96khz, 32-bit float and then i edit and extract the rips at 96khz, 24bit using Level 8 (Best) for FLAC codec.

The type of cables make very little difference, provided that they are in good condition. Obviously, loose connections, corrosion, or damaged cables should be avoided.

Mini-jack plugs are best avoided as the contact area from plug to socket is tiny and they are quite vulnerable to damage. RCA plugs (as found on hi-fi equipment), 1/4" jacks, and XLR plugs (as used on professional microphones) are all much better (stronger, and greater contact area).

For sound quality there are no advantages to sample rates / sample formats above 44.1 kHz / 16-bit.
48 kHz is often recommended for video work as it is the standard for DVDs.
32-bit float is recommended for production as it provides greater headroom and supports amplitudes greater than 0 dB, but these benefits do not apply to the finished product because playback systems are limited to integer formats and clip at 0 dB.

The Behinger UCA 202 is an inexpensive stereo in/out USB device. It’s “only” 16-bit and has an internally it runs at 44.1 or 48 kHz, but the sound quality is excellent, and we hear of very few failures (I’ve got one that is over 10 years old, and the only thing to go wrong is that the label fell off a couple of years ago). The downside of the UCA 202 is that it has no level controls, but that’s not a problem if you’re using a pre-amp that has a level control.

Well i’ll prob go with the Soundcard route since i have two inputs Realtek Digital Audio and the Speakers/Headphones if i’m going to get good sound quality out of the speakers and the turntable, preamp i have I think a soundcard is the way to go. But what souncards are good in late 2018?? I Know there is not alot to choose from these days since i don’t think alot of people go the route i’m going but what do you guys recommend what’s the best under $250, 200 and one with the Front Speaker Out, Digital Out, Line-in for recording as well as a headphone jack. So Far i’ve kept my eyes on the SoundBlasterX AE-5 the software for it is supposedly trash but i don’t care about that i just want the SABRE32 DAC inside it since that thing should create super high quality recordings and not 44.1 48khz ones since vinyl goes to about 50khz max i want to save all that even if i can’t hear it. What i’m confuesed about and i know this is super simple but the X AE-5 has only a Digital Output now idk why this confused me maybe i need to go back to school for a while but if i’m plugging in the Digital Optical cable from my surround sound i would want a Output on the card right??? I’m pretty sure for me to have sound on the surround sound i need to Output audio from the X AE-5 to the SABT300 and not the other way around i checked which ports im using right now on the onboard stuff and it said Front Speaker Out (Speakers/Headphones) which is the RX5502 setup and the S/PDIF-Out (Digital Output) for the SABT300 so in theory everything should work with the X AE-5. But what do you guys think is the Alienware Auroura R6 compatible with the SoundBlasterX AE-5 and will it be the best for 130 bucks. Please lmk soon thanks :smiley: