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ADC Recording set-up ?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by trb157, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. trb157

    trb157 Active Member

    First post, take it easy on me, I'll try to make my question clear and to the point.

    I work for a large university and we have thousands of recordings on a variety of formats. Currently, we take the obsolete format and simply record it to CD, mostly just to have an access copy.

    We would like to record to a digital audio file.

    To do this, as I understand it, we need a ADC, and some sort of DAW recording set-up. I have been looking at several ADCs, one of which is the Focusrite LS 56. Assuming we have the right adapters and connectors for input, is it conceivable that we could connect, say: a DAT player, phonographs, cassette decks, reel to reel tape player, etc to the ADC and have it recorded to a digital audio file?

    Just wondering if this type of interface is the right way to go or if there's something else out there to consider.
  2. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    That interface will 'interface' with damn near any source you need it to. Its a pretty good one and a very reliable company with many years in the business.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    With the exception of directly connecting a gramophone pickup cartridge, the LS56 will do the job with capacity to spare, and, in fact, is probably an overkill for your needs. To connect the cartridge, you would need to go through a small device that corrects for the RIAA frequency pre-empahsis of LPs (example).

    By the way, the Focusrite LS56 contains 8 ADCs (one for each of the analog inputs). Devices of this type are normally known by their overall function, which is an "audio interface" rather than an "ADC".

    If you have not yet chosen a DAW, you should look carefully at Reaper. However, for the 2-track transfers that it sounds as though you are proposing to do, even the free base-level Audacity would work.
  4. trb157

    trb157 Active Member

    I've looked at a few DAWs and will probably just go with Audacity for now. A lot of what we do is transfer of oral history interviews, speeches, spoken word types of things. I'm aware the LS56 is overkill, but it's hard to find something else with enough inputs for all of our components without sacrificing quality. We do have some recordings, rare 78s, etc that we do want to record at high archival recording levels. We have Thorens preamps for our phonographs right now, so I think we're ok on that front. Thanks for the input!
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Assuming your DAT player has an S/PDIF digital output (optical or coaxial), it will connect digitally to the LS56 without losing quality or using up analog inputs. These can then be assigned to the R-R deck (if stereo) and cassette deck (up 2 channels each), leaving 2 pairs of inputs for your record players (LPs and 78s). In this way, you could leave everything connected up, and have several different startup icons for your DAW that selected the input device you wanted to use this time.

    It would be normal practice to set the system levels up such that peak analog output of all the source devices was a few dB below clipping level when digitized, so I'm a little puzzled by your comment about wanting to copy the 78s at "high archival recording levels". In principle, the 78s would be no different from the other sources in this respect, but I would probably want to digitize them so the audio was considerably lower than this level to allow headroom for spiky noise. Noise reduction software operating on the digitized data could then reduce the crackle and bring the audio back up to nominal level.
  6. trb157

    trb157 Active Member

    I just meant that there are things, like our 78s, that we would want to record at 96/24 and other things like spoken word interviews that we don't need as high quality. The 78s were just an example, not a specific reference. We have things to digitize over several "levels" of quality, some recordings there isn't much point, others there is. Thanks for the clarification on the st-up of inputs. Things are becoming a little clearer now!
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    A university should have quality transfer equipment. For you guys, I would suggest the Apogee line of analog to digital converters. RME would also be another nice high quality sounding devices. Many of the other devices you are looking at would be what I would refer to as average consumer stuff. A university should have something a little better than a standard consumer audio interface. In the land of academia, your equipment should at least match your tuition payments? Yearly tuition payments. And most of those quality pieces of equipment include quality software that are bundled with those devices. So, Audacity will not necessarily be your primary software. Avid/ProTools & Steinberg are likely to be your best software choices and even their equipment is quite usable. Avid runs the full realm from lowest level to highest level in professional equipment and capabilities even though they are not my favorite. They are the favorites of many however.

    For spoken word nonsense, you only need the rudimentary stuff. For music purposes, you need the good stuff. And 24-bit/96 kHz does not necessarily mean good stuff. That alone is not a criteria indicator of quality. It's an indicator of what the analog to digital converter chip might be capable of but that is still being fed from mediocre analog audio inputs. And therein lies a considerable difference from the higher-end professional equipment that has much better input and output amplifiers preceding and out of the analog to digital and digital to analog converters.

    Now all you need to do is clean your glasses.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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