Advice in changing vinyl to flac needed

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I’ve just about exhausted entering my shelves of cd’s & art to MB. I want to start submitting my 200+ lbs of vinyls & shellacs with info and art. While I’m at it, I would like to convert them to digital [either wav or flac] too. I last did this over 2 decades ago and I’m sure things have changed.

Would one or more of you be kind enough to suggest what (free) programs I should use
with a windows 10 machine and maybe the order you find best to accomplish this? I do have Audacity & EAC loaded. My turntable is a Garrard Lab 80 and I can direct wire [no bluetooth] to my computer. Hmm, seems like I vaguely remember a pre-amp? I will be washing & carbon brushing to make it a clean start. :grin: As always, your advice will be of great service to me. TTFN


I don’t have personal experience with vinyl ripping, but this website might have some useful information.

You may also find more information on the Hydrogenaudio forum.

I wonder if ripping shellac has its unique challenges compared to vinyl?


I’m thinking that last time you ripped to mp3 or another lossy format?
If you ripped to a lossless format in 2000 then comparing the equipment you used then and plan to use now would be worthwhile.
If the sound-card/DAC, turntable, cartridge, stylus, media prep, cables etc are substantially the similar, then 2000 era lossless rips are likely digitally and audibly indistinguishable from what you’ll make in 2020. AIUI.

What may have changed is the soundcard/DAC. I think old 1990 soundcards did 16 bit at 48kHz. Whereas modern ones do 24 bit at 96kHz or 192kHz.
( I think some 24 bit 96kHz DACs were available prior to 2000.)


@mfmeulenbelt Both of your links are helpful, thank you. @mmirG You are right about my converting to mp3 back then. I remember always choosing the highest bit rate (fortunately). I do have a new Soundblaster card in my W10 machine. I think my turntable has the original Pickering cartridge but I need to check to see if it has a ceramic stylus. From what I’ve read so far, ceramic is a no no. I also need to find out if washing will harm the shellac records I received from my Grandfather. I will Google.


vinyl => Decent record deck => decent cables => PC with Audacity => FLAC

That is how I ave preserved various items but not yet hit the bulk of my vinyl. Did a few cassettes last year that way.

It depends on your OCD levels. :smiley: But do export to the best quality your storage can handle. I know I ended up going through my 500 CDs THREE times due to initial bad choices of MP3 and then buying a new HiFi and realising how much time I had wasted. For me it is now FLAC all the way.

One trick I also do is start with less important albums first. By the time you have done the first dozen you will have changed and refined techniques.


Did you use a dedicated sound card in your PC? I haven’t considered having one for playback for over a decade, but according to that website I posted, they do matter for the recording quality.


@mfmeulenbelt I had always used whatever card came with my Windows machines. On my Windows 10 machine, I purchased this> Creative Sound Blaster Audigy FX PCIe 5.1 Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp. It was about $36.00 U.S. The change was dramatic through all tone ranges. There are several cards available to match whatever speaker/amp playback configuration you may have. It should also improve my input.

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Llama_lover, I remember your original post as asking for

I, and possibly many other people here, would like to make all sorts of suggestions over a far wider range of issues.
For example I googled your soundcard and see that it does “24-bit 192kHz digital-to-analog converter (playback), 106dB SNR”. This is very high-quality digital-to-analog, but I’d check on what it does for “analog-to-digital” as this is what you’d be doing when you rip your vinyl.
And consider also whether you want large, very HQ, FLAC files or whether you’re happy with smaller files and lower quality.

You briefly mentioned a pre-amp.
This would/should be a phono preamp/phono stage/phono preamplifier/RIAA preamp/turntable preamp - an electronic circuit that applies the correct equalization and amplification to the signal coming from your cartridge. However it is often unknown what equalization was actually applied to any specific recording.

Which gives you license to tweak EQ settings in Audacity to your taste.
It could also be that Audacity does a good job of applying the RIAA equalisation - if so then you’re free of needing a specifically phono pre-amp.