Ripping vinyl through a laptop...Need advice

My laptop doesn’t have a line-in input, so I either have to rip through firewire or USB, correct?

I was initially using the USB that my numark has on it, but switched over to an external soundcard that runs through firewire (Presonus Inspire GT). Well, either way my rips are coming out really shitty. And with the $150 Presonus, I get little glitches thrown in there. I will rip something over and over again and get a small little glitch every time.

My turntable is a Numark TTX.
I record my vinyl with soundforge 8 (audacity doesnt recognize presonus).
I usually record in 96/24
I edit and export the wav files to mp3 with LAME though Audacity (320, 44/24)
I amplify one track at a time up to 0. (is it ok just to record then amplify to its peak, or are there other settings I should be adjusting?)
And I’m recording the vinyl though a Presonus Inspire GT external box
My laptop has Vista

Here’s an example of what my rips sound like. This file includes the little glitches that Presonus adds on:
http://www.zshare.net/audio/1458639510f1df68/ (starts playing automatically)

Is it just impossible to get a good rip through a laptop? Is there a better way to go about this? Any help would be appreciated.

Glitches are caused when the incoming data can not get through to the hard drive fast enough, so bits get missed out.

Drop the sample rate to 44.1 or 48kHz (this will halve the data throughput and have negligible effect on sound quality (apart from perhaps curing the glitches)

Defrag your hard drive.

Disconnect your internet and disable your anti virus (this may not be necessary, but it’s worth doing to see if we can get a glitch free recording)

Shut down all non-essential programs.

Switch off any screen savers and power saving.

(various other tips if you search this forum)

I can’t comment on the sound quality because I’ve got cheap and nasty speakers on this computer, and I don’t know what the original sound like. It may however be worth using the Normalize effect rather than Amplify as this will also remove andy DC offset. I like to normalize / amplify to a little under 0 dB (-0.1) as some players do funny things when they hit 0.

No reason fundamentally why it shouldn’t work.

My laptop (Dell Vostro running XP-PRO) produces recordings from vinyl equally as good as those on my desktop (Dell Dimension 2400 XP-HE). I record from my Technics TT into a phono pre-amp (ART DJ-PREII) and then into a USG external soundcard (Edirol UA-1EX).

I record/edit in Audacity (1.3.5) at 44.1kHz 32-bit (for improved editing headroom) and then export downsampling to WAV at 16-Bit 44.1kHz for burning CDs and I usually also export to MP3 at 192 or 256 - all of these produce excellent sound files.

Edit: an additional thought - have you tried using a different USB port on your laptop? Sometimes people find this helps …

WC

Well, it’s all going through firewire, and I only have one firewire port.

But you say you use a preamp in addition to a sound card. Right now I have the turntable going through the external sound card, which I think is working as a preamp, and the sound card to the laptop via firewire. There’s no real need for me to have a preamp, or anything in addition, right?

Maybe my Presonus Inspire GT isn’t good for this kind of project and I should look into something.

But I think next time I rip I will make sure that nothing else is running on my computer at all, and see if that helps at all.

<<<the external sound card, which I think is working as a preamp>>>

By “preamp” in this case we mean an amplifier that will boost the weak signal from your turntable, remove the RIAA distortion that is applied to every disk and suppress the hum that invariably results when you do the first two.

You have to get a “Phono Preamp” in there somewhere unless there’s one built into your turntable–which is very not normal.

Koz

Well, I’ve been referring to what I have - PreSonus Inspire 1394 FireWire Audio Interface- as a sound card. But it says in the booklet that it’s also working as a preamp. So I guess maybe it somehow differs from the average sound card. I mean, I have no problems picking up the signal from the turntable- its definitely amplifying it, and my records sound great coming through it. But it seems a little muddy once I rip it through soundforge.

A few years ago I had a cheaper turntable, and a small $20 preamp that I got off ebay, and I ripped some stuff through the line in jack on my PC, and it sounded much, much better. I’ve heard elsewhere of people ripping through the mic jack on the laptop, but every time I plug it in that way it sounds completely distorted. So I don’t understand how people are getting the mic input to workas an a line-in input.

I will tinker around with the settings some more, though. and do what been suggested to see if that helps out.

Thanks for the help.

Masoncity: Actually I think that your TT has its own on-board pre-amp. From Looking at the specs it seems to be settable between phono output and line output.

If it is set to "“Line” output - then the internal pre-amp will be engaged and the necessary RIAA equalization will be applied. So no need to buy a pre-amp.

Keep us posted with your experiments and we’ll see if we can help further.

WC

I’ve also been having problems with exporting MP3s from Audacity - the original recording from vinyl is fine, but the resulting MP3 files sometimes stutter at random points.

My files sound very similar to your example file: if you listen carefully, none of the track is ‘missing’; instead very short sections are duplicated, therefore causing a repetitive stutter. You can physically observe this if you re-open the MP3 in Audacity and find the offending stutters by playback time.

Have you listened to the Audacity recording before exporting as an MP3? If it’s okay, then (as I suspect) the problem is somewhere within the MP3 encoding process. I haven’t found the reason for this yet, but that’s what I joined this forum to discover!

A

MP3 Export quality is set in the Audacity Preferences > File Formats. That MP3 compression number for relatively serious work should never drop below about 128. Really good quality numbers go into the 200 and 300 range. Set that for something really high (384-ish) and try the export again. This will separate compression problems from damaged software.

If you still get a stuttering damaged show, try deleting the lame program and download/install it again. I have personally gotten a bad download, but it’s pretty unusual.

Koz

All my vinyl rips to date have been through my work laptop (IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T61p) and using a Soundlab USB turntable. The turntable cost around £90 (~$160) and it was shipped with Audacity. So far I’ve not had any problems at all - I rip to FLAC and the rips have been great so far. So to answer your question, I’d say that it should indeed be possible to get a good rip through a laptop.

What is the spec of your laptop?