External audio input device to digitize vinyl at 16/24 bit

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Joined: 02/12/2005

I plan to digitize several vinyl albums and cassettes. I have a Mac Mini with 500GB external HD, and I am using Toast 6 with Jam, which supposedly has the capability of creating up to 24-bit DVD music discs (differs from DVD Audio). I want to record the albums/singles at 16-bit / 44.1 KHz, so that I can quickly transfer them to CDs using the included Spin Doctor 2 software. I also want to archive the cassettes (recordings of my old high school bands, etc) at 24-bit / 96 KHz, exploiting Jam’s capability of recording DVD music discs.

I hooked up an M-Audio Firewire Audiophile input device, but the CD Spin Doctor software, which recognized the device, failed to find a “compatible format” for bit/sampling rates. I opened OS X’s “Audio MIDI Setup” to check the configuration (please keep in mind that I am pretty much a novice at all of this), and in the Input/Format section, I could change the sampling rate via a drop down box, but the bit format offered only “4ch-24bit,” which I assume CD Spin Doctor cannot read (perhaps the “4ch” configuration is the problem…).

Questions:
Am I doing something wrong?
If the Audiophile was the wrong choice, what relatively inexpensive (as I am a hobbyist) USB/Firewire audio input device will allow 16 to 24 bit / 44.1Khz to 96 Khz recording?
Does using RCA jacks or a 1/8” jack make a difference in quality?
If I record all of my albums/tapes at 20 or 24-bit, what inexpensive software effectively dithers material to 16-bit for CD recording?

I have done some research on this, but since I am moving overseas next month, I am feeling rushed to get this done (don’t want to drag turntable, preamp, cassette to Southeast Asia). Thus, I apologize if many of these questions have been answered already…just found this site this morning….

Thank you,
Steve

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Joined: 02/12/2009

You're on the right track, the FireWire Audiophile should be able to do what you ask.

Most of your questions would be best answered by M-Audio support:
http://m-audio.com/index.php?do=support.contact

There's no technical difference between the audio quality of (2) RCA jacks vrs (1) stereo 1/8” jack. (More important is the # of bits of the A/D converter after the jack.) But stereo 1/8" jacks are more prone to loose conections, and they usually lack a separate shield for each channel. If you have the choice, use RCA or better yet, 1/4 TRS balanced or XLR.

It seems to me that the lower fidelity of your source cassettes may not warrant 24 bit. Your other source media, though, LP and 45, might warrant 24 bit, though.

Also, make sure that your turntable is going through a phono preamp first, and not directly into the FireWire Audiophile, because it does not have a phono preamp.

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Joined: 02/12/2009

A good overview of vinyl digitizing software for Mac (the best recommendation is Amadeus):
http://playlistmag.com/features/2005/08/amicablesplit/index.php

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Joined: 02/12/2009

Hey, I just found out about the Ion Audio iTTUSB, a turntable with a USB output to connect directly to your computer:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BUEMOO/silentway-20

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