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Recording Vinyl --> Input level too high for my soundcard?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Jacky, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. Jacky

    Jacky Active Member

    Hello everyone,

    hope that I choose the right subforum to post my question...

    Well I'm a newbie to analog sound and have bought the following equipment to rip some tracks from vinyl in a decent quality.

    Turntable: Reloop RP-4000 MK3
    System: Ortofon Arkiv (output voltage ~6mV)
    PreAmp: Pro-Ject Phono Box MM
    Soundcard: M-Audio Audiophile 2496
    Rec. software: Adobe Audition 3

    The problem that I'm facing is the sound level: without a preamp I have to amplify the recorded martial digitally which turns anything that might have sounded well into something you simply can't listen to.

    If I'm using the Project PhonoBox MM the output level seems to be too high for my soundcard, the recording level is almost constantly at 0dB. In order to check the sound without my soundcard involved, I tried connecting it to my Samsung home cinema system and the sound was quite OK.

    Somewhere else I read that the maximum input voltage, a Audiophile 2496 can cope with, lies around 1,4V and assuming the Phono Box MM amplifies each 0,5mV input to ~200mV output my overall input into the soundcard would be ~2,4V.???

    The final question is what shall I do? Change my newly bought preamp? Look for another MM cartridge? Put some resistors between the preamp out and the soundcard in?

    Thanks for all answers :)
  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    You need to use the phono preamp, no way you'll get proper audio out of the turntable without it.
    Looks like that MM preamp has +32db of gain which is fixed, that's line level not mic level, pretty hot coming into your 2496 and I think your over driving it.
    Can't you adjust the input gain on the 2496 using the software input fader and bring it down there.
    If that doesn't work next thing would be to get some sort of RCA attenuator's or pad's between the MM pre and the 2496.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Yes, you have a mis-match in audio levels there. The input of the Audiophile 2496 is a fixed +2dBV peak. The 200mV nominal output of the Phono Box could easily exceed that in louder music passages. Maybe you play loud music all the time.

    Make yourself up a potentiometer to adjust the level going into the 2496. A 10K log stereo (2-gang) pot in a small box with RCA input sockets and short coax wires out to RCA male connectors that plug into the 2496 would be cheap in parts cost and easy to construct. I don't think simple items like this are available ready-made from audio stores, at least not at a reasonable cost.
  4. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I've seen inline RCA pads.
    You'd need two one for each side (L/R)
    I hate to say check Rack Shack but they might have those or:

    Parts Express Line Level Attenuators

    Another idea would be a DI box..but then your spending more money....
  5. Jacky

    Jacky Active Member

    OK, thank you so far.

    As I wanna use the stuff for recording vinyl, I don't want to send the sound signal through more parts than I have to. Especially not some trash like those cheap RCA attenuators (Reviews @ amazon.com).

    Hmmm ok I got a RCA cable between the preamp and the 2496 which I could cut in half and put the pot in between... But I'm not quite shure which is the right one... would a ALPS-RK 27112 10K do?

    But as this thing would cost me around 20€, I guess selling my Phono Box on eBay and buying an other phono preamp which has a gain control would be the cheaper way to solve that problem...
    Does anyone know a good preamp with a gain control for less than 100€?
  6. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    LOL...I thought you were looking for a cheap fix!
    I actually thought these were pretty expensive for what they are which is just a resistor network molded inside a plug! And they were only 6db which you probably need more reduction. There are more expensive RCA unbalanced pads!
    But with that sound card the price seems pretty high to bother....
    Boswell's pot idea would work....kind of a kluge though by the time you fit a box and connectors...
    Here's what the big boys would use with a professional interface!
    Radial J33 Stereo Phono Preamp and Direct Box

    But considering your using a cheap sound card to try to record with I think that's a bit overkill! I'd sell all that stuff and get some decent audio equipment!
  7. Jacky

    Jacky Active Member

    Well I am. But not just any fix, because then I could take some adapter cables and connect all to my onboard line in ;)
    I'd say a sound card for about 100$ isn't cheap. It's no high end either but keep in mind that some people do this with an onboard audio...
    I see your point, those cheap RCA pads are already over priced but as the reviews at amazon point out, they are not much more than rubbish and will probably make my signal even worse... so why should I use them? :D

    But as I can't find better looking pads which don't ship from the US (takes far too long), I think the best way to solve this is either some self-built thing with a pot or to exchange the preamp... and probably take one with its own A/D changer and a USB connection...

    Btw that preamp looks nice but taking a look at what I'm using, I think it's not so difficult to miss that I don't have 1bn $ to spend on audio equipment ;)
  8. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Note to self....New Years resolution.....
    Stop trying to be nice and help people on audio forums!
    Thanks Davedog...

    Just take a 1k resistor in series and 1k or less in parallel to ground make a pad.
    That would cost you about $1.00.
  9. Jacky

    Jacky Active Member

    sorry... don't get the first part of your post... but won't be substantial to solve my problem, I guess...

    Well I finally found an eBay seller from Austria who sells this -12dB attenuators. Cost me some money but if the result doesn't satisfy me, I'll send them back and get back my money :smile:

    The idea with the resistor sounds great but I'm not sure if it will work if I built something like this...
  10. The.Truth

    The.Truth Member

    I can guarantee you my recordings are more dynamic and closer to original sounding sources than any of yours, and I use a 2496. People that record vinyl to digital files swear by these cards for a reason. Hook up an audiophile setup to it, you get audiophile results for a fraction of the price of the imitators. When you assume, well we all know how that goes......

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