Friday, February 27, 2009

Successful vinyl rippage has commenced

Or should I say, recommenced, since I've done it before with the old turntable. The new one is the Audio-Technica AT-LP2D Stereo USB Turntable, to quote the full name. It cost around $80 plus about $23 shipping.

This is not a snooty audiophile turntable. But it makes music just fine and I think it's going to serve my purposes quite well.

I did a lot of comment reading on Amazon (which is where I ordered it from) on various turntables in my affordability range, so I'll try and remember the reasons I chose this one.

It has both USB and conventional RCA outputs. It also has a built-in switchable pre-amp for the RCA outputs, so you can connect it to a stereo with a PHONO input or to a jambox or something with either AUX or LINE inputs.

It outputs on the USB and RCA outputs simultaneously. This is great for me, because now I can actually listen to the record while I record it.

Another good point: it has a dust cover. This may sound stupid, and it is, but a lot of these new model USB turntables do not come with a dust cover. So when you're playing a record on them, your precious vinyl is exposed to the open air and everything that floats in it. This is a fate almost too horrible for me to contemplate.

One bad point: it can't play 78's. I do have a few of those stashed somewhere, but I don't foresee ever wanting to rip them. If I do, there's still the old old stereo in the living room, if I can get it to work.

This is an automatic turntable. You put the record in, then press the "start" button and it does all the rest. Same goes for the "stop" button. There's also a lift/lower button for the stylus. So far the up/down operation is very smooth, and when auto-starting the needle drops right where it's supposed to--not just grazing the outer edge of the record like my old turntable always did.

I've ripped only one record so far, but the turntable didn't arrive until late and I've been busy with other things. I ordered a record cleaning kit from another place which hasn't arrived yet, and I had some qualms about playing this record without dusting it first--something that I've been compulsive about since I bought my first turntable and cleaning kit (now gone) from Radio Shack way back in the early 80s. But this record (Ultravox Vienna) has been played only once before, when I taped it, and this is the first time it has come out of its sleeve since then. I'll probably devote a post to the album itself later.

It also came with some software, but I was already planning on using my existing software so I just stashed it with my other installation discs. Let's see...Audacity and Cakewalk's Pyro. I downloaded and played around with Audacity once, but I prefer Goldwave.

Cables included are a USB cable, of course, plus some 1/8-inch stereo plug to dual-RCA plugs as an adaptor in case your audio device's stereo input is a 1/8-inch jack instead of the usual RCA jacks. One thing: the RCA cables that are hard-wired into the turntable are quite short, so you have to put the turntable right next to or on top of the stereo. For me, it just meant that I had to move my printer to another part of the desk so I could put the turntable where the printer used to be. Now I have a turntable on my left, and a stack of records on the floor to my right. On the other hand, the USB cable looks like a 4-footer.

Unfortunately I have to work tomorrow, and then do some other stuff after that, so I won't be able to dive into a full day of records as soon as I'd like to. But this is definitely going to be fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment