New Turntable or new pre-amp?

I’m about to convert my old vinyl to digital and I need some guidance on equipment.

I have an old Denon DP-30L-ii that I haven’t used in years, but it should still be good. It has a Grado MC+ cartridge (which I believe is stereo, despite Grado’s current designation). To use this turntable, I’d have to buy a pre-amp, correct?

Or, I could simply get a new turntable with a built-in pre-amp, possibly one with a USB connection, such as the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB (expensive) or AT-LP60-USB (cheaper).

Suggestions welcome. If a pre-amp, which one? If a new TT, which one?

I would tend to avoid the cheaper AT deck.

I started out with an ION iTTUSB - the electronics were fine but the platter was far too light giving noticeable wow&flutter :frowning:

I retrieved my Technics SL-150 with SME 3009 arm from the attic and gave it a good home service. I bought it a new cartridge - I had too as I tried cleaning the stylus with alcohol and this dissolved the glue attaching the diamond stylus to the cantilever (an expensive mistake) - oops :blush:

I ran that through my wife’s old Technics preamp through to an Edirol UA-1EX soundcard. The Technics amp died so I bought an ARTcessories DJ-Pre11 preamp (also feeding the Edirol). Both of those yielded excellent results. ART also make a combined preamp and USB soundcard - the USB Phono-plus. In other circumstances I would have bough that. See:

So I think you have two options:

  1. Use the Denon if you think that is good enough plus an ARTcessories USB Phono-Plus (or similar, Behringer make one too but that one has no gain control, unlike the ART which does, which may be an issue when setting signal level).

  2. Buy the more expensive AT deck.

In either case once you’ve finished, unless you want to retain the vinyl for playing then you can always sell on the kit :slight_smile:

Have fun with your vinyl transfers,

Oh and the other thing I bought was a highly focussed piece of software for click removal (my records had a hard life!) called ClickRepair which gave almost magical results and saved me loads of time. See this sticky thread:


And if you haven’t already seen this tutorial set in the Audacity Manual have a read of these:

This workflow one in particular:

and this one on working with USB input:


Thanks, waxcylinder

I would lean towards putting your Denon back into service as well. It may need a new belt (if belt drive) and possibly some lubrication, but I would expect it to be much better than the current AT offerings.

If you still have a receiver with phono input available, then you can get a Behringer UCA-202 and install in in one of the Tape-loop connections of the receiver. That is the setup I’ve been using to transfer LPs. If you don’t have a receiver still then Behringer makes the UFO-202 which is the same unit with the addition of a Phono pre-amp. The only flaw with the Behringer unit is that the lack any gain control ahead of the A/D conversion, but the noise floor still is well below the noise floor of the LPs so it’s not really an issue, you will just want to “normalize” the recordings before converting to mp3 (assuming that is what you plan to do).

I’ve been using Click Repair as well, and it does do a pretty good job. However I only turn to it for particularly noisy LPs, most go straight to mp3 pops, clicks and all.

I also use a tool called “Wave-repair” for the actual recording and track splitting. I find its workflow to be a bit easier than Audacity (but that may well be more because I’m more used to the interface). Wave-repair also has pop and click repair tools, but they are pretty much totally manual so I hardly ever use them.