Vinyl Transfer Station

I’m in the process of moving my office downstairs, and now that I’ll have a little more space, I’m able to set up a small dedicated workspace for dubs and vinyl transfers. Right now, t consists of a Audio Technica turntable with an AT-400 cartridge, Sony MXP-29 mixer, and a new M-Audio Fast Track Pro interface. Not shown is the new LaCie 320GB triple interface hard drive that I’ll need to store all this data that I’m generating.

While I’m not a huge fan of the MP3 standard, there’s no denying it’s become pretty universal. And it is handy to have just about every record I’ve ever liked on a single ipod. Since I can leave this stuff hooked up, it’s much easier to do a vinyl to MP3 transfer now, though it’s still a fairly time-consuming process.

My dedicated vinyl transfer, dubbing, and encoding station.

Here’s a photo. The MXP-29 has a dedicated pair of inputs with phono preamps, so I’m able to go directly into the mixer. The Sony preamps are pretty accurate, if not a little sterile, but I think they sound a hair better than the small block-type preamp that I had been using. I monitor through a pair of AKG271 headphones, though I’ll occasionally listen to my Sony 7806 headphones. The AKGs are much more accurate overall, but the 7806s are more comfortable to wear and have a bass boost that sometimes makes a nice change. The turntable is a fairly nice Audio Technica that was donated by my brother-in-law. Fortunately the stylus and cartridge are still good… I’ve seen prices of $36 for a stylus. Last time I bought one, it was $2.59.

The records are recorded straight into Adobe Soundbooth with minimal processing. (See my previous post on Adobe Soundbooth.) While I can edit out all the crackles and thumps between songs, I usually leave them in for nostalgia’s sake. Occasionally a record will have a loud pop in a track… Soundbooth lets you highlight just the fraction of a second where the pop occurs, and then treat that section only, leaving the rest of the program untouched… A nice feature. While there are extensive EQ possibilities, I generally leave them alone unless I really want to play around.

Some of my newly acquired vinyl titles include Dark Side Of The Moon, and a near-mint pressing of Introducing The Beatles. Also picked up some Joni Mitchell, English Beat, and Candy-O by the Cars. My 14-yr old son wants to get some Queen as well… I force him to listen to some of these records as part of his mandatory cultural education.

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