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Old 14th April 2010, 03:49 PM   #1
Nehesi is offline Nehesi  United States
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Lightbulb Vinyl Scanner?

I'm a DJ. I've been collecting vinyl for over 20 years and I'm ready to convert since the vast majority of my events nowadays don't require vinyl (or my hard-earned ability to scratch and cut).

Here's my dilemma: after a six month project of narrowing my collection and ridding myself of all but the records I either love to listen to or would actually use at an event, I'm still left with roughly 3500 records. No matter what hardware/software devices I've found, they all suffer from one fatal flaw: they convert in real time. That means for *every* record I want to convert, I'd spend between 10 minutes (assuming time spent labelling and editing the .mp3) and 2 hours depending on the length of the record.

I'm trying to find out if there is a vinyl scanner out there. I've seen Vertical record cleaners and Laser turntables. I've also found an article where a guy used a scanner (because of the size of the bed vs the size of the record, he had to scan in 4 parts and stitch the images together) and was able to use it to scan records.

What I haven't found is someone combining these two ideas: the vertical form factor of the record cleaner with a scanner (and perhaps a small motor to rotate the record?) Does that already exist or should I find a programmer and run to the patent office?
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Old 15th April 2010, 07:35 AM   #2
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Default ideal vs reality

Scanning the LP, even in the ideal way you describe, would still take time, just as it does for pages of text and photos. I imagine an application would be needed to convert the scan into an audio file. Then there would be the task of editing the files to break them up into individual tunes, to set the overall audio level, and to deal with defects such as ticks and pops and scratches.

I regularly copy LPs to CDs. I'm not an expert but I try to produce a clean recording. Procedure involves cleaning LP on cleaning machine, recording into computer, editing saved files, burning CD, scanning cover and making up cover art and play list for the CD and printing the cover. All this takes me three or four hours per LP, varying greatly with the amount of time devoted to fixing defects.

Minimum time for cleaning LP, scanning LP with your ideal scanner and editing sound file I think would still be an hour per LP even if you had software which automated such things as separating tunes according to breaks between cuts. Estimating an hour a day to scan or to listen to an LP you have at least ten years of scanning ahead of you no matter what. Myself I transfer LPs to CDs for other people but prefer listening to the LPs.
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Old 15th April 2010, 10:26 AM   #3
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You can't successfully scan an LP with any existing optical scanner. Some of the fine detail in the grooves has an amplitude less than the wavelengths of visible light. The ELPJ laser turntable does it by measuring the phase of the reflected beam from the groove wall relative to the transmitted beam, allowing sub-wavelength resolution.

In theory, because it doesn't physically touch the groove, the ELPJ turntable could run at several times "real speed", just like a CDROM drive reading an audio CD.

Or you could develop a scanner that scans a line from centre to edge of the record, as the record rotates slowly under the beam. I'll leave it to you to work out the wavelength of light (extreme ultraviolet?) and the resolution of the sensor required.
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Old 15th April 2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barmycodger View Post
Estimating an hour a day to scan or to listen to an LP you have at least ten years of scanning ahead of you no matter what.
He's also going to go through up to 10 styli for his cartridge in the process of playing 3500 LPs...
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Old 15th April 2010, 11:13 AM   #5
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The US Library of Congress has a system for recovering audio from hi-res 'photographs' of valuable archive discs and cylinders. But it's a one-off specialist setup, probably cost a few million, and not up for sale.
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Old 15th April 2010, 06:32 PM   #6
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If one must record in real time there's the possibility of playing the record at higher speed. An LP could be recorded at 45 or 78 rpm to save time and the speed returned to normal by the software. I never have done this but just now I opened a wav file of a three minute song in Audacity and tried to change the speed from 33 to 78. The window said the processing time would take about 7 or 8 minutes, so I didn't bother to let it finish. My computer is new but not a high powered one so perhaps the processing time could be reduced. Still, there seemed little advantage in recording at higher speed.

Re-reading Nehesi's post I see that his goals may not require high quality or recording a whole LP, but the time required seems daunting all the same.

Quicker than a scan would be snapshots with a high resolution digital camera or maybe a video done of one revolution of an LP.
-Terry C
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Old 15th April 2010, 09:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barmycodger View Post
If one must record in real time there's the possibility of playing the record at higher speed. An LP could be recorded at 45 or 78 rpm to save time and the speed returned to normal by the software.
In principle this works, but has practial problems arising: When youu transpose a recording made at 78rpm back to 33rpm, you also transpose the frequency spectrum by the same scaling factor. Suppose your phono cartridge (or A/D card) has a frequency response up to 20kHz... after speed correction of the high-speed recording, you will end up with a maximum frequency response of 20kHz * 33/78 = 8.46khz.

Additionally, playing a disc at 78rpm will wear the stylus considerably faster than at 33rpm.
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Old 15th April 2010, 09:58 PM   #8
trd1587 is offline trd1587  Canada
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What I Can suggest you is Continue tu use your Records, but when you use one in your work you send the signal from that turntable to a recording software on the PC. You play The Song Completely and save it in FLAC Format.

Each time you need to use an old record....Do the same.
While one is playing you can remove clics and pop and archive the final product at the same time! (on Pre-recorder Vinyl Song)

Regards

Marc
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Old 15th April 2010, 10:09 PM   #9
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you could look to see what albums of yours are on CD and buy em, saving you the trouble of converting. Some of your records will not be available on CD or any other format.

Just start at one end.

a journey of converting 3500 albumd starts with one track
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Old 15th April 2010, 10:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
In principle this works, but has practial problems arising: When youu transpose a recording made at 78rpm back to 33rpm, you also transpose the frequency spectrum by the same scaling factor. Suppose your phono cartridge (or A/D card) has a frequency response up to 20kHz... after speed correction of the high-speed recording, you will end up with a maximum frequency response of 20kHz * 33/78 = 8.46khz.

Additionally, playing a disc at 78rpm will wear the stylus considerably faster than at 33rpm.
Also the factor of the EQ curve being totally wrong when played at the wrong speed.
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