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Old Jul 13, 2020, 12:21 AM
Damned Damned is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 31
Default Looking to Learn how to digitize Vinyls and Cassette Tapes...LOTS of questions!

Hey everyone,

So after seeing a bunch of my favorite video game soundtracks being vinyl only, as well as some vinyls having awesome orchestrated arrangements, I am looking to start buying and learning about transferring vinyl and cassette tapes to my PC. Here are my overall goals...

1. Transfer the audio as high quality and accurate to the source material as possible

2. Do so using equipment that is as simple to use as possible

What I am looking for is a fully automatic, high quality sound turntable with a simple plug and record jack (Whether that is USB or a 3.5 mm audio jack, whichever would be higher quality). I do not want to have to fiddle around with buttons, knobs, or other settings in order to get the sound just right or play the record properly (Knowing me, I'll do something wrong and break a record). I just want something where I take it out of the box, put the record on it, connect a 3.5 mm audio / USB plug into my PC, and hit play to start recording. Also, I won't be using the turntable to listen to the records at all, only transfer them.

I am willing to spend around $300-$500 in this endeavor. So would anyone be able to recommend a turntable around that price range that can do all of the above?

Now for cassette tapes, I understand that you should buy a dedicated tape deck in order to get high quality sound. I'd like to only spend around $100, since I doubt I'll be transferring that many tapes.

From my research, I understand there are different types of tapes as well as something called "Dolby Noise Reduction", and that you need to set these properly on a tape deck in order to transfer audio correctly. Are there any other settings I need to worry about and how do I know what to use (Is it true the majority of "Recorded by professional record companies, then sold in stores" tapes are type 1 and use Dolby Noise Reduction B)?

As for transferring and recording the audio, someone mentioned that a blue "Line In" jack is better to use than a microphone jack (They made no mention of a USB jack). Is the "Line In" jack the best to use? How about the frequency and bit depth to record at? I figure 16 bit is the proper setting as I know from reading articles that 24 bit is worthless, but should I be recording at 44100 Khz or 48000 Khz? Do I need special cables to ensure the audio is actually being recorded in stereo, rather than 2 channel mono (I believe the correct cables are called 3.5 mm audio cables)?

As for recording, I think I have that part figured out decently enough, as I've used Audacity before to do basic editing. The only questions I have concern monitoring the recording for clipping. From what I understand, I should avoid going into the "red zone" on the volume...monitoring...thingy, and that going into yellow is generally okay, but the absolute best recording volume wise is one that only goes into the farthest of "green". Is this true and is there any specific volume that is a sweet spot, or any trick to ensure you can just record at 100% volume and not go into the "red zone", or is it all just trial and error? Am I supposed to be controlling the volume from one specific device / Audacity itself, or does it not matter?

I also heard that supposedly, at least for cassette tapes, that if you record through your audio jack at too loud a volume you can damage your computer's circuitry! Is that true? Finally, should I turn on the "Software Playthrough of Input" option under "Recording" in Audacity (Someone in a video said I should, but then the version of Audacity he was using mentioned something about not checking it if recording stereo tracks, which I will be).

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance!
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