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Computer Audio Setup: Is this clipping?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by ArizonaBay, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    I am relatively new to audio recording and am trying to record vinyl records to my computer (a Mac).

    I have a distortion problem that at first I thought was clipping, but now I am not sure. When the audio gets particularly loud or high-pitched, fuzzy distortion occurs. I tried adjusting the gain, but that did little. I even watched the input and made sure there was plenty of headroom while recording one side of an album, and in a few spots the distortion still appeared.

    Is this an issue with the levels, will gain adjustment or equalization work? Or could this be a hardware/setup issue?

    A few problems that may have led to this, and have came from it:

    I bought an iMic, a $50 usb microphone and line, which came with software called Final Vinyl (for Mac), and came with Audacity. When I plug in the iMic and record, there is static that starts out nearly impossible to hear, but grows to be extremely loud. I have tried a few things to fix that recommended elsewhere (checking Apple MIDI Setup), but nothing fixed it.

    That caused me to just try to use the default audio-input (3.5mm) on the back of the computer. I don't know if this is what is causing the problem, but that's my general setup. Cheap, I know, but if it is what is causing the problem, worth changing.

    Also, the problem persists in both Audacity and Final Vinyl. (Would GarageBand be of any use here?)

    Another problem: Most likely due to me screwing with the gain to try to get rid of the fuzz, the audio ends up thin and tinny. Could that be fixed by fixing the fuzz problem, or is the best thing that I can do to mess with the equalizer (bass boost?).
     
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Don't touch your EQ, you shouldn't have to if you can get a nice capture. I'm not sure how to do this, but somebody else around here should. Don't touch that dial!
     
  3. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    So my question should have been: Can I or How can I get a clean capture from a turntable using the default input on my computer?
     
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Exactly, now you're on the right track. Don't worry, someone will most likely give you your answer before the night is over.
     
  5. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    Thanks, I eagerly await an answer.
     
  6. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    Thanks, I eagerly await an answer.
     
  7. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    A consumer soundcard is the beginning of the troubles.
     
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/USBPhonoPlus2/
     
  9. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    What does the item in the link "do"? Sorry for being a noob here. Is there a chance that that thing will do the same thing as the iMic with the static? Would routing this through a stereo or receiver do the same thing? Or is the problem that I'm just plugging it into the audio input on the back of my computer?
     
  10. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    Also: Does the RIAA standard equalization in audacity do the same thing as the preamp?
     
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I haven't played with Audacity enough to tell you. RIAA is the eq curve required (along with sufficient preamp gain) to reproduce sound from a vinyl platter. The device I linked to is specifically designed for you to plug your turntable into via the RCA plugs, and then into the computer via the USB cable. It is far better suited for your purpose than plugging into a microphone input on a native computer sound card.
     
  12. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    Thanks so much for your help. I can't imagine I can get around paying for this and still get good quality audio.
     
  13. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    I have another quick question. This preamp you sent me was 100 bucks, but I have seen vinyl to digital recording stations (USB) for less than that. Is that a better deal? It seems hard to believe that people could sell something that would make significantly inferior recordings... What do you know about this?
     
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    That depends entirely on the quality level of the turntable you already have. If you have a rockin' platter spinner then the USB version will not be as good. If you have a Salvation Army Special, then the USB turntable will be as good or better.
     
  15. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    Okay, I'm hoping this won't illicit a response of something like " *smack* Quit being a cheapass and buy the preamp, its only 100 bucks" but I'd like to run this by you...

    Turntable: RCA: Receiver: Phones out: 3.5mm: iMic external soundcard: USB computer.

    Thought this might get rid of A) the RIAA equalization stuff and B) the native sound card (or nonexistent mac sound card).

    Is using my receiver's phones out (the only output other than speaker wire) an especially bad idea (i.e. does it lessen the quality). Also, I think I managed to get rid of the iMic static issues since I can now control the sound before the iMic and just set Audacity's recording volume to zero.
     
  16. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    Audio-Technica AT-PL120 Direct Drive Professional Turntable

    $250
     
  17. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    (Look at end post on previous page)
     
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    =shitty sound.

    A tape out or other line level output (most likely rca plugs) on the back of your receiver would work in a mediocre manner but the iMic portion of the program is what will give you the noise I suspect. This route will not give you great quality but will work. If this were what you were going to do then a USB turntable is definitely a better option.

    In any case, you will need to invest in a good record cleaning system to maximize the potential of the recording. A dirty record will have beau coups pops and clicks and skates and all those things the kids today don't know about.
     
  19. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    :shock:
    Dude. You crack me up. You're squirming over a decent budget $99 two channel preamp and looking at a $250 turntable?

    If your existing turntable is not very good or the needle is shot or you plan on listening to records a bunch (which I DO recommend), then the AT would be a decent purchase. At least AT used to make good turntables. Check out product reviews and such via google or gearslutz.
     
  20. ArizonaBay

    ArizonaBay Guest

    The turntable is my dad's, so is the iMic, I'm 16 and trying to start a business. I've already invested 40 dollars in some good DeClick software, and another 50 in stuff for CD's (photo paper, cd labels and applicator). I was hoping I wouldn't have to even deeper before I could do this right.
     

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