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Low quality of my cartridge+preamp—can you suggest others? ≤€500
dumdidum
post Feb 15 2012, 00:58
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I currently digitize vinyl working with a technics 1210, an audio-technica at-95e, and the preamps built into my native instruments traktor kontrol s4. presumably, few people here will know what an s4 is. for purposes of this thread, it should be sufficient to note that the s4 is a midi controller (roughly speaking--actually, it uses a different protocol) which includes a 4-in, 4-out audio interface with 2 phono preamps that's geared towards DJs. the audio interface in the s4 might be comparable to standalone 4-in, 4-out USB 2.0 audio interface with 2 phono preamps in the $200 range (again, it would be an audio interface geared towards DJs so it would come with very low-latency asio drivers).

i am unsatisfied with the results i'm currently getting. i record with audacity at default settings (32-bit floating point, 44.1kHz). the gain in windows' volume mixer for the channel to which the 1210 is connected to is at 100%. the peak levels i'm getting during recording are at about -12dB to -15dB. (there's no way in audacity to further boost the volume during recording.) i don't perceive the audio quality as good at all despite the fact that i'm digitizing records in mint condition. (i'm trying to digitize vinyl-only releases so buying digital is not an option. unfortunately, in the genres i listen to--certain areas of house and techno--, vinyl-only release are relatively common.) on some recordings, the kick drum sounds muffled. on most recordings, i feel noise levels are excessive.

now, i certainly don't think the preamps in my audio interface are any good. the at-95e cartridge which i recently bought for EUR 20 is entry-level, too. does anyone have suggestions as to what preamp and cartridge to buy? as for my budget: EUR 500 (~$650) is my absolute max. ideally, i'd like to spend less. so i'd be happier if i can get something reasonable for, say, EUR 300 or so.

This post has been edited by dumdidum: Feb 15 2012, 01:01
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dumdidum
post Feb 15 2012, 18:31
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Group: Members
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Arnold B. Krueger, derty2:

This is good stuff, your thoughts are much appreciated! smile.gif

RonaldDumsfeld,

Thanks, I actually work with automatic gain adjustment software as well. it ain't perfect but yeah, it helps.

QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Feb 15 2012, 15:54) *
So, troubleshoot what's going wrong now, rather than spending silly money. My best guess, like others, is the pre-amp. Though at $900, you'd hope the pre-amp in the traktor was OK. Maybe the money went elsewhere in the product.

Getting the gain right should help immensely. Maybe everything is just getting lost in pre-amp noise because it expects a cartridge with a much higher output. So, different equipment, rather than more expensive equipment, may be the answer.

Might be something as dumb as grounding. Samples may help to identify the problem, or maybe not.

the ground wire is connected. but, apart from that, some interesting thoughts here. i will try to troubleshoot further before pulling the trigger on new equipment. a few responses:

1.) i suspect, too, that the low input gain may be part of the problem. the input gain of the S4's channel to which i connected the 1210 is at its max (100%). i can adjust that input gain via Win 7's volume control panel. in audacity 1.3.14, i can see that the volume of the selected input source is at 100% as well. there's nothing further i can crank up. yet, as i already wrote above, the peaks i see after recording are somewhere between -12dB and -15dB, depending on the track. according to the s4's specs, its phono preamps only provide for 32dB amplification. it seems many discrete phono stages in the $50-$150 range provide ~40dB amplification, some even more.

2.) apparently, i am not the only one who complains about the low amplification of the latest iteration of native instruments' audio interfaces. on the NI forums, other users complain about the phono signal not being hot enough.

3.) i still got a DJ cart flying around somewhere which should provide substantially higher output. i will get around to do some testing of my own either tonight or tomorrow. idk if anybody would listen to those, but i could provide audio samples. perhaps one with the hifi cart (at-95e) and a second one where i digitize the same track using the DJ cart.
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Posts in this topic
- dumdidum   Low quality of my cartridge+preamp—can you suggest others? ≤€500   Feb 15 2012, 00:58
- - DVDdoug   I can't recommend a preamp. But for cartridge...   Feb 15 2012, 02:48
- - zaentzpantz   I used to have the Audio Technica cartridge, and i...   Feb 15 2012, 11:21
- - RonaldDumsfeld   I had a similar chain as yourself. Technics 1210,...   Feb 15 2012, 13:02
|- - dumdidum   QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Feb 15 2012, 13:0...   Feb 15 2012, 13:55
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 15 2012, 07:55) QUO...   Feb 15 2012, 14:36
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Feb 15 2012, 02:48) for ...   Feb 15 2012, 13:48
- - 2Bdecided   I'd have no problem digitising the kind of mus...   Feb 15 2012, 15:54
- - RonaldDumsfeld   I did also consider that maybe the loudest parts o...   Feb 15 2012, 16:21
- - derty2   Comments by a friend of mine who is quite good at ...   Feb 15 2012, 16:44
- - dumdidum   Arnold B. Krueger, derty2: This is good stuff, yo...   Feb 15 2012, 18:31
- - Gretschguy   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Feb 15 2012, 00:58) i a...   Feb 15 2012, 20:52
- - RonaldDumsfeld   QUOTE If you are recording at a peak of -12dB then...   Feb 15 2012, 22:02
|- - DonP   QUOTE (RonaldDumsfeld @ Feb 15 2012, 17:0...   Mar 5 2012, 21:52
- - DVDdoug   QUOTE Dumdidum, I would suggest not normalizing to...   Feb 15 2012, 22:27
- - kraut   QUOTE I would recommend the Denon turntable and DL...   Feb 17 2012, 14:58
- - pdq   The problem with software equalization is that it ...   Feb 17 2012, 15:27
- - dumdidum   ok, it took me awhile, but i have prepared samples...   Mar 4 2012, 16:19
- - db1989   The point of an ABX test is not to compare two pro...   Mar 4 2012, 22:19
- - 2Bdecided   I'm amazed that two supposedly working RIAA pr...   Mar 7 2012, 12:08
|- - cliveb   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 7 2012, 11:08) May...   Mar 7 2012, 19:35
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Mar 7 2012, 12:08) I...   Mar 7 2012, 13:09
|- - db1989   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Mar 7 2012, 12:09) I...   Mar 8 2012, 15:01
- - pdq   If you think that one channel of the preamp has a ...   Mar 7 2012, 20:23
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (pdq @ Mar 7 2012, 20:23) If you th...   Mar 8 2012, 14:49
- - pdq   QUOTE (dumdidum @ Mar 8 2012, 08:49) QUOT...   Mar 8 2012, 16:09
- - dumdidum   QUOTE (pdq @ Mar 8 2012, 16:09) QUOTE (du...   Mar 8 2012, 17:05


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