Review (December 2007)
By Kevin Nakano
Most of us old-timers still have a good collection of vinyl records that we find hard to part with. After all, I still have many albums that never made it into my CD collection. This is largely due to a change in my music taste over the years as well as the fact that I still like to listen to LPs on my old Thorens turntable. Therefore, there was no need to buy the same music again on a different format. Sure it is less convenient, but there is something about the old analog system that still sounds pleasing to my ears. As we all move into the era of portable media players and music servers there comes a time when converting the old vinyl music into a digital format makes a lot of sense. Several friends of mine have tried this with mixed results. Audio-Technica, a company well known for it's contribution to the audio industry has come up with an inexpensive and relatively easy way to convert those aging vinyl discs. The AT-LP2D-USB is a full blown turntable complete with a built-in USB interface that allows any computer with a USB port to accept digital audio. The turntable supports both 33-1/3 and 45 rpm vinyl and comes with an automatic (start and stop) tonearm with a simple push of a button.
The real power of the AT-LP2D-USB is the direct digital connection to a computer through its USB interface. This greatly simplifies the earlier systems that required an A/D card in the PC to convert the analog audio signal to a digital file. Audio-Technica still leaves this option with the analog cables attached, but we think most users will prefer to use the USB interface for simplicity. The AT-LP2D-USB includes Cakewalk Pyro 5, a state-of-the-art recording software package that makes capturing and editing audio tracks simple. Several recording options and capabilities are included with the Pyro 5 software to make creating music files easier.
Here is an example of audio being captured from one of our LPs. In this case we recorded one side of Genesis Seconds Out. As you can see, five distinctive tracks have been recorded with small breaks in between each of the tracks. The software allows the user to manually tag each of the recorded tracks on the screen. Zooming in/out or scrolling forward/backwards is as simple as a button push. Users can rip to MP3, .WMA, or WAV files with user defined audio quality. To prevent the "thump" encountered in the audio when the needle drops into the track or when the needle lifts from the track, the user can simply edit out that portion of the audio using the tool. Pyro 5 also has a tool to clean up "noisy or crackly" audio best known as "pop and click" filtering. The speed can be adjusted to change the pitch of the recordings. Users can design full-color CD-Labels and jewel case inserts for their collection.
Our test album was in pretty good shape, so we did not have to apply any audio filtering to the recording. One feature we found to be great was the level control to prevent clipping of the audio while maximizing the dynamic range of the recording. The music we played on the AT-LP2D-USB turntable sounded great and had good frequency response with impressive bass.
- Kevin Nakano
Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
|Review at a Glance|
Audio-Technica - AT-LP2D-USB Turntable with USB
Cakewalk PYRO Software:
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