Recording vinyl, or how I'm going to explain to SWMBO I need to spend another couple of grand...


#1

I’m very close to making a purchase of the NuWave Phono Converter. My two main purposes are (1) to funnel my VPI Player’s output to the DS DAC via I2S, and (2) to be able to record some of the vinyl I’ve been acquiring lately, plus other gems in my collection not released in a digital format. I don’t necessarily want to buy a dedicated PCM recorder (e.g., the TASCAM DA-3000) if I can manage to record my records directly to my Mac.

Any advice, suggestions, and instructions would be appreciated…


#2

Been there! I have the NPC and I think it’s a great piece of kit. The phono stage is excellent in it’s own right and the ADC is fantastic. I connect it to a Mac Mini and rip vinyl using Vinyl Studio, which I also highly, highly recommend for price, ease or use, and excellent recording quality. I use the LANRover as an intermediary which helps the USB signal not only between the NPC connecting to my Mac Mini, but also running from the Mac Mini to my DS Sr. I just switch the USB input from DAC to NPC when ripping and then back when I’m done. I have ripped over 100 LPs with this config, usually in DSD 128, which gives a very faithful reproduction of vinyl, IMO. I’m hard pressed to tell the difference, honestly. I record in PCM when I have to digitally de-click and de-hiss the vinyl in Vinyl Studio. I’m happy to answer any questions with problems you might have. I’ve probably experienced them all in doing this. Good luck!

Adam


#3

Here is how I have my devices set up: Ethernet from my router to both the DS DAC and DMP via 8-meter AudioQuest cables. (Although I still don’t understand the full purpose of the Ethernet port on the DMP.) I use an active 25-foot USB cable from my Mac to my DS DAC. Where would the LanRover come in to play?


#4

The LANRover is in the USB chain. You connect a short USB cable from the PC to the sending LR component and then ethernet cable to the receiver LR. Then another short USB cable from the receiving LR unit to the DS. I have pretty good AQ USB cables running but can’t remember which ones right now. I used a Blue Jeans Cat6 ethernet cable which was pretty affordable and seems to sound very good. Keep in mind the LANRover doesn’t work for everyone, particularly those with Windows 10, I believe. If it works, though, it’s great. Since you have a Mac Mini like I do, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. I think this would be a significant step up from a 25 ft USB cable! Ethernet packets do not significantly degrade over such a short distance, but USB signal can and will, I believe. Plus you get galvanic isolation with the LR. Like I said, it works forward and back.


#5

DMP Ethernet is mostly for retrieving cover art.

Adam - “ADC is fantastic” based on comparison with…? And my Mini, tweaked by Paul’s guy, did not work with Roon and LR.

Less expensive USB to ethernet options available. Use the Google thingy.


#6
badbeef said

DMP Ethernet is mostly for retrieving cover art.

Adam - “ADC is fantastic” based on comparison with…? And my Mini, tweaked by Paul’s guy, did not work with Roon and LR.

Less expensive USB to ethernet options available. Use the Google thingy.


The ADC is excellent based on the fact that I can rip quality vinyl and play it back and it sounds virtually the same as the original vinyl. It’s based on the numerous people who have heard my digitized needle drops via the NPC and remark and how fantastic and vinyl-like they sound. You are of the opinion, for some reason, that the ADC in the NPC is sub-par. You are the only one I am aware of who shares this opinion. I’m sure there are better ones out there, but this one suits my needs perfectly and for a great price. Oh, and I used a quality HDMI cable (Nordost Heimdall) from NPC to DS DAC and it sounds great. (a generic HDMI cable doesn’t, BTW) That one IS indistinguishable from analog to my ears. So TT>NPC(ADC)>DAC>pre>amp. Maybe other have better ears than I do and can tell a difference easily, but I can’t reliably.

That is strange that the LR didn’t work in your system. One thing I found is that I need to output Roon through HQPlayer in order to work the PS Audio driver. Roon alone doesn’t play to the DS DAC without it, maybe because of LR. I dunno. Maybe give HQPlayer a try with Roon and LR? I think you sent yours back, though, if I remember correctly.

And, yes, there are less expensive options. I love how mine sounds, though. From multiple comparisons I’ve seen the LR more than holds its own and usually betters Regen, Intona, Jitterbug (which I found worthless), etc.


#7

I looked up Vinyl Studio and it looks pretty good for a $30 piece of software. I may give it a whirl. I’m not unhappy with the sound I get from my active USB cable (Mac -> DS-DAC) so I may try Vinyl Studio with that before investing another six bills on the LANrovers.

According to VPI, I have to have my dealer disable the internal phono preamp that comes with the turntable and then connect it to the NPC with phono cables. So if I get this straight, these are the connections I’d need:

For vinyl playback: Turntable (Phono Interconnect) -> NPC | NPC -> DS-DAC (I2S/HDMI) or NPC -> Preamp (Analog IC)

For recording to Mac with existing cable: Mac (USB) -> NPC (USB)

For recording to Mac with LANrovers: Mac (USB) -> LANrover 1 (RJ45) -> LANrover 2 (RJ45) -> NPC (USB)

Is that about right?


#8

“You are of the opinion, for some reason, that the ADC in the NPC is sub-par.” I don’t recall saying that. And I agree with everything else you said, pretty much. I was asking if you had compared it with other ADCs.


#9
badbeef said

“You are of the opinion, for some reason, that the ADC in the NPC is sub-par.” I don’t recall saying that. And I agree with everything else you said, pretty much. I was asking if you had compared it with other ADCs.


Sorry if I got the wrong impression. You referred to the ADC in the NPC in another thread as “relatively inexpensive” which I interpreted as a back-handed compliment to the quality of the ADC. The only other ADCs I am familiar with are Apogee Mic 96 and Jam 96 which are ADC USB interfaces for microphones and guitars, respectively, for home studio recordings. IMO, the NPC is better, but they are apples and oranges, given their functions. The Apogee products are very good for their purpose and price point.

#10
George Moneo said

I looked up Vinyl Studio and it looks pretty good for a $30 piece of software. I may give it a whirl. I’m not unhappy with the sound I get from my active USB cable (Mac -> DS-DAC) so I may try Vinyl Studio with that before investing another six bills on the LANrovers.

According to VPI, I have to have my dealer disable the internal phono preamp that comes with the turntable and then connect it to the NPC with phono cables. So if I get this straight, these are the connections I’d need:

For vinyl playback: Turntable (Phono Interconnect) -> NPC | NPC -> DS-DAC (I2S/HDMI)

For recording to Mac with existing cable: Mac (USB) -> NPC (USB)

For recording to Mac with LANrovers: Mac (USB) -> LANrover 1 (RJ45) -> LANrover 2 (RJ45) -> NPC (USB)

Is that about right?

Vinyl Studio is excellent. Best audiophile $$ I've spent. If you don't like it, you're only out $30!

You could actually keep the built in phono stage active on the VPI and input to the generic analog input on the NPC in order to utilize its ADC. I haven’t used it, but I assume it would work. That would bypass the phono stage on the NPC.

Using the I2S from NPC to DAC is by no means necessary. I’d go with the analog out when not ripping and skip having to spend the $$ necessary on a good quality HDMI cable to approximate the analog output, through which good sound can be achieved with cheaper RCA cables, IMO. It is a good option if you want to bypass the preamp, though, and go with a digital chain through the DS DAC.

That about sums it up. One reason I didn’t mention for the LR is that it allows me to keep the Mac Mini out of the equipment rack and minimize my components to subsequent EMI/RFI from the computer. You could actually put it in another room, altogether, if you like.


#11
amgradmd said

You could actually keep the built in phono stage active on the VPI and input to the generic analog input on the NPC in order to utilize its ADC. I haven’t used it, but I assume it would work. That would bypass the phono stage on the NPC.


Actually, VPI warns against doing that. They insist that the phono pre installed in the Player be disconnected before plugging it into another phono preamp. I’ll follow their instructions…

Has anyone listened to vinyl coming from from the NPC to the DS DAC? I’m curious as to any benefit (or detriment) in doing it this way.


#12
George Moneo said

Has anyone listened to vinyl coming from from the NPC to the DS DAC? I’m curious as to any benefit (or detriment) in doing it this way.

I think you probably could, honestly. By plugging into the analog input, it is effectively not a phono preamp at that point and is basically an ADC and not applying the RIAA curve. You could use the phono pre on the VPI (if you prefer it to the NPC phono stage) and use the NPC as ADC for ripping via USB. That's a lot of acronyms!

Vinyl sounds great from the NPC to the DS DAC, assuming you use a very good HDMI cable. My first preference is analog because the gain on the NPC is a little higher and it keeps the volume across multiple inputs consistent. You could definitely do it though. It’s a great way to bypass the preamp, for sure, with vinyl.


#13
George Moneo said Actually, VPI warns against doing that. They insist that the phono pre installed in the Player be disconnected before plugging it into another phono preamp. I'll follow their instructions...

Has anyone listened to vinyl coming from from the NPC to the DS DAC? I’m curious as to any benefit (or detriment) in doing it this way.

Yes - should not be an issue to plug the line out of the Player into the line in of the NPC. It is unlike most phono pres (which only go from low level phono to high level line) in that it has line inputs as well as an ADC.

Lots of us have compared - there is at least one thread on it, which is the source of some of the confusion regarding my opinion of the NPC. Most folks do not hear a difference between the line out (which is before the ADC) of the NPC and the signal subsequently run through the ADC and then through the DS, especially via HDMI.

Paul has suggested 24/96 PCM is more than adequate for the task, and it very well may be for most folks. This opens up the possibility of using the coax, for example. If you are a DSD adherent, you’ll likely want to rip in DSF and use an HDMI. As a Junior owner, it’s a pain, as there is only one HDMI input on it (unlike the Sr.) so I either have to choose - or swap - between the NPC and DMP.

If you’re using a preamp in your system and just listening to vinyl, there’s little reason not to simply run the line out of the NPC directly to your preamp, as you would with any other phono pre. Where I think we got at cross purposes in the above mentioned thread was the initial question had to do with running the NPC to the DS DAC in a system without a line level preamp.


#14

Plugging the VPI into the analog inputs on the NPC is no different than plugging it into a preamp or a standalone ADC. What VPI is wsrning against is plugging into another phono preamp. You would be overloading the second phono preamp and applying the RIAA equalization a second time…:

I would be very surprised if the phono preamp in the NPC wasn’t better than the built in one. I think the NPC originally sold for more than your whole tt setup. And I don’t think you can change the loading for different cartridges. It is probably designed for a moving magnet cartridge. And if you wanted to go to a moving coil, it would not have enough gain and it would not have much flexibility for cartridge loading, and certainly no room for step up transformers.

And you can add me to list of people who use Vinyl Studio.


#15

Indeed, the NPC is a bargain now. My Player was around $1,200. It’s a damn fine little turntable. I’m spinning high-res discs (Crystal Clear, Sheffield, etc.) and enjoying the hell out of it. The same old caveat apply to LPs as they always have: bad disc, bad sound.

jeffstarr saidWhat VPI is wsrning against is plugging into another phono preamp. You would be overloading the second phono preamp and applying the RIAA equalization a second time.
That is what I wrote above. Since I'd be using the NPC as a phono pre, I'd have to defeat the internal phono pre in the Player. No point spending one box of ziti on the NPC and then not using it as intended. Here's VPI's text:

"WARNING: The Player’s phonostage is defeat-able but must be disengaged before being plugged into another phonostage. Doing so could result in serious damage to your speakers. See your local dealer or check online for directions to disengage your internal phonostage."

I would definitely compare the NPC through my passive preamp and through the DS DAC.

(That said, CDs and SACDs spinning on the DMP and going to the DS DAC are heavenly. I listened to the Earl Wild Gershwin discs (on RCA) and almost swooned when I heard how much more “there” the orchestra sounded than I remembered. Every single CD I spin with this combo is a revelation.)


#16

I think the point was that you wouldn’t have to defeat the pre in the Player - you could use the line in on the NPC and digitize with it. From the point of view of the cost of most decent phono pres or ADCs, you’re getting a free one (or the other) in the NPC.

As far as listening to the vinyl through the pre (all analog), vs. a digital rip through the ADC, etc., - to me listening to the record is three dimensional, and the rip is flatter, more 2D, comparatively. Independent of the recording format/medium.


#17

Well…

I pulled the trigger last night. I purchased the NPC. I’m looking forward to hearing (and recording) my vinyl through the NPC. I’m very curious as to the difference in sound via analog and through the DS DAC.

All I can say is that I’m very glad my wife has an expensive hobby too.

(Being a triathlete and buying bikes and gear cost lots of dough.)