Need specific help on choosing audio interface

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Victoria-nola
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Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 28 Dec 2019 08:53

Hello and thank you for your time. New here. My partner and I need to record 300ish albums and a bunch of 45s. I'm trying to make a decision about what audio interface to purchase. I've already learned a lot from the archives here. But, I really need some specific help with our system because I just get confused after a certain point reading the archives. I have worked with computers since the mainframe days as a typesetter and then in publishing editorial, so I'm somewhat knowledgeable, but not a programmer or anyone with high-level tech capability.

We have an Akai AP-Q50 turntable and a Sherwood AD-2220 CP amplifier (original owners). Yes, he brought the TT and I brought the amp into our relationship-- it's been a match made in heaven :) We did replace the stylus and it has had very little wear since.

I need to be as careful as possible about money. So the Behringer UCA222 is very appealing if it can be made to work. Then there is the UCA202 and UFO202 and I'm just confused at that point. Also, if it's really not up to the job, I could consider spending more money. The intention is to do all the recording and just leave them in the long files until some later point when we have the leisure to break them up into tracks. Also, this would be the one and only time we'll be using this device, and we'll sell it or pass it along when we're done.

Does the computer involved need to have any particular attributes or minimum capacities to make this work? The one we would use is a Windows 10, it was my mother's and was inexpensive and not high level. I can get specifics from it if needed. I am assuming we will use Audacity unless there is another free program that would be better.

Another question is about formats. We both love the sound of vinyl, obvs, and are aware that it is possible to have better sound than the current CD formats are producing, so input into that would be helpful as well, but also advice about playback and choices around format. Also, storage formats-- what is considered safe for long-term storage? CDs, DVDs, external hard drive, ???.

As an aside, we also have a whole bunch of cassette tapes from our bands that I'd like to record, but no longer have a cassette player. What would the specs need to be on a purchase for this use (assuming any of the tapes are still playable)?

Thank you very much for your help.

--Victoria

JoeE SP9
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by JoeE SP9 » 28 Dec 2019 23:31

I currently use a Behringer UCA222 via USB into an HP Laptop running Win10 for ripping vinyl. The analog in/out is connected to a tape monitor loop on my two channel preamp. This allows me to "rip" vinyl and cassettes. I use a USB DVD burner for ripping CD's.

The UCA222 and UCA202 seem to be identical. My 222 which is red has UCA202 molded into the case. I had some minor difficulty getting drivers that Win10 recognizes. See below.

Here's a link to the correct driver
https://semantic.gs/behringer_uca222_driver_v2_download

The actual download is at the bottom of the page. The download of the Driver Installation Manager worked for me.
Last edited by JoeE SP9 on 28 Dec 2019 23:58, edited 1 time in total.

Victoria-nola
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 28 Dec 2019 23:35

Thank you for this information! I had seen something about Win10 and problems with the 222, which was part of my confusion.

Tonybro
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Tonybro » 29 Dec 2019 19:38

Just to let you know Audacity can be a bit daunting for newcomers. I have used Wave Corrector for nearly 20 years, the program is now freeware and looks dated but works fine under Windows 10 and in Linux (using WINE).

See here...

It does click detection/correction, normalisation, channel balance, track splitting and you can input meta data easily too.

Saves to many formats, sampling rates up to 24bit/96kHz, recommended!

Victoria-nola
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 29 Dec 2019 21:12

Thank you, Tonybro, I'm looking at that program now.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by JoeE SP9 » 30 Dec 2019 22:01

IMO/E audacity is not hard to use. It's what I use. Like any other truly effective application there is a learning curve. It's IMO not steep or difficult.

I've tried several other recording applications. I always come back to Audacity. Plus, it's current and is supported.

Victoria-nola
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 30 Dec 2019 23:37

Thank you, JoeE, this is good input. Supported programs are definitely an advantage.

Would you have any advice about type of file to save the initial files in? It appears there is a choice and I don't know what the choices mean.

blekenbleu
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by blekenbleu » 31 Dec 2019 14:55

Victoria-nola wrote:
30 Dec 2019 23:37
Would you have any advice about type of file to save the initial files in?
Initially WAV, e.g. if planning to remove pops and clicks.
Software is available to compare WAV files before and after,
to assess the extent to which processing made unintentional changes.

I like FLAC for storage and playback
* lossless compression means less space than WAVE with no compromise
* metadata
* not proprietary, and software available to play it on Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and Linux

Victoria-nola
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 31 Dec 2019 15:17

Thank you, blekenbleu, that's helpful.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by JoeE SP9 » 31 Dec 2019 19:59

Audacity saves files in an internal cache. It then gives you the option of de-clicking etc. It also allows for adding whatever tags you want. Then it asks you what file format you want to export to storage.

I use FLAC exclusively for storage. My portable player and music server PC use FLAC.

Victoria-nola
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 01 Jan 2020 03:53

Thank you! I'm looking forward to hearing all this music again.

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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Bonzo_Dog » 15 Jan 2020 23:39

I don't know the Behringer ADCs (I'm using a more expensive HRT Linestreamer+). Other people could help there.
I'll try to help on some of the other things.

Record player: You connect the record player to the phono input on your amplifier. Then the amplifiers RIAA is taking care of the signal. Finally connect the ADC to the tape out on your amplifier. If your amplifier doesn't have a phono input, you need an external RIAA. Most older amplifiers have tape out and phono input with a RIAA built-in. If your amplifier doesn't have a tape out, you can connect external RIAA output to the ADC.

Computer/Software: Any Windows 10 computer with USB 2.0 or better will do, but the ADC should be connected via WASAPI to avoid the Windows mixer to interfere. Audacity is fine for recording and you can select WASAPI as Audio Host in the top left corner i Audacity. Download the latest version of Audacity first. Listen carefully through the first needledrop to verify if it sounds OK. If you get small drop-outs the disk could be busy with other things than your needledrop. Try Windows in flight mode in that case.

Format: You record in 24-bit WAV if possible and the (highest, 48 kHz or 96 kHz are fine) sample rate that your ADC supports. It's easier to record the whole LP as one file, including turning the record from side A to B. Save the file via menu: File > Export > Export as WAV, remember 24-bit here if you record in 24-bit. I prefer to keep the space between tracks as it is on the LP. I'm not editing in Audacity myself, but I think when you later are breaking the file into tracks you can make selections in Audacity and label them for each track. You can also remove loud clicks. Later when all the tracks are labeled as selections/regions you can "export multiple" to individual tracks. I will recommend that the final format is CD quality (16/44,1) FLAC files. FLAC files supports metadata well (WAV don't) and can be added (possibly automatically) by the free mp3tag.

Storage: I think burning CDs are not very common these days. It's better to keep the music as FLAC files. One folder for each artist containing a folder for each album. If you add the year before the album name it will sort correctly on the hard drive. When playing FLAC files the metadata is what is used to display the albums and tracks. Use Album Artist = "Various Artists" and Artist = "artist name" for compilations. The metadata for year together with album name must be entered to sort the album correctly in the player software. The folder structure on the hard drive is just for easier file handling. Remember backup. A 1TB external harddrive is cheap and convenient.

Playing: (1) You can keep the FLAC files on your Windows PC and play it with Foobar2000 (free program) with a USB DAC connected (via WASAPI on the computer) to your stereo amplifier. (2) You can get a streamer and connect that one to your stereo amplifier via standard RCA cables. Your FLAC files is on a USB drive that you plug in to the streamer. Music is played with your smartphone or tablet connected to the streamer via Wi-Fi. A second hand Bluesound Node (the first one) is easy to use. (3) A NAS connected to your Wi-Fi with the music files.

Cassettes: Buy secondhand or borrow a cassette player that works. Any Hi-Fi Sony/Pioneer/Denon/Technics/Aiwa +++ from the 1980s or 1990s that still works will outperform any of those cheap gadgets that are available new. Just clean the rollers and the tape head first. The rest of the process is the same as for records. You can also connect the ADC directly to tape out on the cassette player.

Victoria-nola
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Re: Need specific help on choosing audio interface

Post by Victoria-nola » 16 Jan 2020 12:04

Thank you for this detailed information, Bonzo_Dog. I really appreciate it. I did buy the ADC, so will be trying this out soon. If questions arise at that point from your instrux, I'll get back in touch. THANK YOU! :D

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