Ripping 78's

Radioham

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Alan Ralph
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Hi,

The mother-in-law has quite a large collections of 78 which I would like to rip to a digital format.

Rather than transport the 78's some 200 miles round trip, it maybe easier to take the recording gear to her.

I have a spare record deck and tomorrow I will fit the Rega RP78 mono cartridge.I have several different ways of making the recording.

1. I could use my Teac CD recorder which has a phono input and burn to an audio CDR and then upload to my music server

2.I could use my laptop to make the recordings to the hard-disk, but would need to install some software ? and then would need to interface the RP78 to the laptop. One way would be to use a standalone phono pre-amp and use the line in on the PC or is there a USB/DAC which would take the output of the RP78. 

I have not yet seen the 78's but I dont expect to find anything very rare, so  not looking to spend too much money on the project.

If I did go down the PC route, what bit rate/format would you use.

I am not sure if different RIAA correction would be required. I think most of the records would be 1940 to 1950.

Your thoughts please.

Alan

 

SergeAuckland

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I'm currently doing this myself.

I have a 78 stylus in an Ortofon OM series cartridge, and recording through the RIAA phono stage onto my laptop using an old but still excellent ADC. 

I use Audacity software which is free, and works very well.

I digitise using 32 bit float at 44.1 sampling frequency, as there's going to be a lot of restoration to follow.

Firstly, I reverse the RIAA equalisation, for which Audacity has a preset for, then I created new EQ for each label and time period and apply that. I then do any noise reduction required, apply any filters needed to clean up the HF, and do any click removal. Finally, I export to 16bit 44.1 sampling. 

The initial recording takes a few minutes, but getting the best final result takes a lot longer.

A purist would have a different stylus profile for each label and date, several were used, but if yours are all from the later period of 78s, then a generic '78' stylus will probably be OK. Some of mine go back to pre WW1, and those are probably not even accurately recorded at 78.

The biggest problem I am finding is that old 78s are badly worn, and distort badly, and no amount of digital manipulation will remove the horrible distortion. I think the main culprit is the needles, which should be changed for every side, as they wear out that quickly, but hardly anybody ever did, especially at parties. Needles were sometimes made of thorn, which wore very quickly, but did little damage, whilst steel needles lasted a bit longer but did a lot of damage when worn. Steel needles came in different 'loudness' and using a 'loud' and worn needle, would damage a disc quite easily.

Worn 78s have a grey appearance, unworn much blacker.

Finally never ever clean a 78 shellac disc using any sort of alcohol, as it'll dissolve the shellac. Use warm water and washing up liquid only. I use my Moth RCM, but make sure no IPA goes anywhere near a 78.

S

 
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bencat

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Serge has covered all the essentials and is more experienced that I am at this operation but I would very much advise that you try and find a good quality Analogue to Digital  Converter to use as this will enable you to use the best quality for your digital file which you can then store in untouched files.

You can then make copies and use the copies to try the various software treatments for de clicking reducing surface noise etc with having any worries that your original files are touched .

 
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SergeAuckland

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Serge has covered all the essentials and is more experienced that I am at this operation but I would very much advise that you try and find a good quality Analogue to Digital  Converter to use as this will enable you to use the best quality for your digital file which you can then store in untouched files.

You can then make copies and use the copies to try the various software treatments for de clicking reducing surface noise etc with having any worries that your original files are touched .
Exactly this. 

One that I can recommend is the Behringer UMC204HD. It costs around £75.

Here's a thread on this ADC/DAC which shows some excellent measurements.

https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/budget-dac-review-behringer-umc204hd.1658/page-13#post-69295

The very cheap UCA202 used to be a fairly decent DAC, but poorer ADC, so wouldn't go that cheap. (I understand that the earlier UCA202s used a Burr Brown/Ti chip which was a pretty good DAC, but current ones use a clone chip which is nothing like as good.)

If you want to make this a low cost exercise, then by all means use your CD recorder and rip the CD to your laptop before doing any manipulations, as to preserve the maximum quality, it's best to do those at 32 bit Floating Point, then return to 16 bit for output. How much of a quality loss you get by doing a 16 bit recording on 78s is moot, but theoretically, you keep the quality highest by recording using a 24 bit ADC and storing as 32 bit FP.

S. 

 

Chumpy

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All of the hardware best, and maybe use free Audacity software/free Switch Sound software for higher dig./free CDEX for lower-res mp3.