Newbie questions

I have an ELAC/Miracord 55H turntable connected to a Luxman LV-105 amp. On the computer side I have a Dell Precision M4800 running Windows 10.1.

If I understand correctly, I need to connect one of the Luxman’s Tape out pairs to the laptop, but what is the best approach? I think the options are:

  • a cable to connect the RCA Tape 1 outputs on the amp to the mic mini-jack on the laptop (not sure if this laptop can auto-sense what is being connected)
  • a cable to connect the RCA Tape 1 outputs on the amp to a USB stereo adapter plug (e.g., Sabrent USB External Stereo Sound Adapter, $7.98 on amazon), thence to the laptop’s USB
  • a mixer (e.g. BEHRINGER Audio Interface, 1x XLR/TRS 1x 1/4" 2X RCA USB, Black, 1-Channel (UM2), $38.99 on Amazon), with appropriate cable to the laptop’s USB.

Which will provide the best quality?

The Behringer audio interface has the proper line-inputs (to match the line-level tape-outputs).

If you have access to a desktop/tower computer with a regular soundcard you can use the line-input which is color-coded blue.

A microphone input will “work” but a line-level signal is about 100 times higher than a mic signal so you can overload (distort) the preamp in computer. Plus, it’s often mono and low-quality.

Most laptops don’t have line-in. The Sabrent USB External Stereo Sound Adapter essentially just duplicates the mic-in and headphone-out that’s already on your laptop.

The Behringer UCA202 is popular and more affordable but it doesn’t have a recording level knob. Behringer has a similar product with a built-in phono preamp (also without any level controls). Or for about twice the money you can get the ART USB Phono Plus, which has a phono preamp and an analog volume control (a nice feature). You don’t need the phono preamp but it might make your setup simpler. If your stereo is already set up and running, it’s easier to use the existing tape-output.

Thanks! I like the ART USB Phono Plus because it eliminates any dependencies on the amplifier, meaning my son could use it w/o too much effort. I’ll post anything useful I encounter while getting this set up.