Author Topic: not sure if usb microphone is transferring 24 bit stream from preamp to ap  (Read 8967 times)

erniemit

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I upgraded my Vinyl Studio LT that was provided with my NAD pp3i phono preamp with USB output.   Now, I have FLAC file support and am recording albums to my hard drive as 24 bit x 96 kHz FLAC using vinyl studio.  24b x 96k is the available output from the NAD, but I don't understand how the NAD "negotiates" with the PC on which speed to use.   Now, I have installed a new sound card capable of 24 bit x 96 k in my Dell 660.  It is a Creative PCIe X-Fi Extreme Audio sound card.   I have set up a USB microphone in control panel to be the digital input, but it's default settings go no farther than 16 b x 96 k.*   Below those choices there are two check boxes and I checked these to indicate "let application take charge."  But, I am not so sure that I really have a 24 bit transfer going on, as the application may not be able to go outside of the default choices, as far as I know.    I wish there was a way to fix the NAD at 24 x 96, or there was a microphone driver that had more choices so I could set that default also to 24 x 96.   I have been to the creative site and downloaded a driver and it is already what I had.  At the NAD site i can't find anything of benefit...redirected me here. 

*  At the same time, I have no problem setting the output driver [in control panel] at 24 b x 96 k, and the sound out travels on optical cable and I can see that transfer rate happening at 96k because an LED on the front panel of my DAC Magic changes as I modify the speed.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Hi,

The maximum speed of the NAD PP-3 is actually 48 kHz, 16 bit, when connected via USB.  If you want to go beyond this, run a cable from line-out on the NAD to line-in on your X-Fi extreme.  Then select the sample rate and bit depth you want to use in VinylStudio's Recording Options dialog and you should get the values you ask for.  You can also set these values in the control panel to be on the safe side.  You will also need to select the new input device in the Check Level dialog of course.

The cable you need is like the one pictured here:

http://www.alpinesoft.co.uk/VinylStudio/connecting_up.aspx

They're not hard to come by.  Maplin in the UK or Radio Shack in the US stock them.

erniemit

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Oh my, you are right.   The NAD is a 16b x 48 output on the USB.   I'm not too keen on jumping to (relying on) an ADC in a $44 sound card.  Perhaps the one in the NAD is best overall.   I wanted a Juli@ PCIe sound I/O card, but they are on back order until after Christmas.     On some blogs I was called delusional for wanting to rip vinyl to FLAC at 24 b x 96K, and they said I would be "growing a field of zeros" or recording what I can't hear.   Do you agree with that?  Before you answer, please take into account that I'm using a pair of amps that are Class A and Class A/B (Quad and NAD) driving two pairs of Magnepan 3-way speakers.  One might say it qualifies as a reference system.   I would tell anyone else I know with decent systems to not worry about higher than 16 b x 48 k, but I do have a better system, will be digitizing (one time in my life) over 400 well kept albums, and I have 4 TB of hard drive available to store those.   

FLAC seems to do a good job of file sizes...even with my (now laughable and ignorant) approach:  Bit stream 16b x 48 on USB to vinyl studio, and store that as a 24b x 96 k FLAC, and then play it back over optical to the 24 x 192 capable Cambridge DAC Magic.    Is there any point in continuing this approach, given that the DAC may allegedly do a better job of upscaling if i am bringing in a field of zeros for it to "play with?"  An album side ends up taking about 400M of disc space, so I really don't weigh that in as a big negative to be afraid of, but I do not want to be pointless (or delusional).   (I am still under the trial period where I could return the NAD for full credit, and have no qualms about doing that if there is a better path for optimum fidelity.)   

Thanks so much for your candor.  (I do not intend to drag this out with a barrage of further questions and appreciate your studied astute reply.)

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Hi,

My own opinion is that 44/16 is more than adequate for digitising vinyl but there are a lot of people who would disagree with me.  What I suggest is that you digitise an album, play it back through your system and see if you can tell the difference between that and the original recording (don't do any audio cleanup, obviously).  If you can, arrange this as a blind test so that you switch between the two without knowing which is which (rope someone in to help, I guess).  If you can't tell the difference (and I'm betting you can't), then you have your answer.

erniemit

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Re: not sure if usb microphone is transferring 24 bit stream from preamp to ap
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 08:28:29 pm »
I have now made comparrisons and others concurr.   Even though my USB microphone driver is limited to 16 bit 48kHz, the files I have made using the vinyl studio FLAC set at 24 b 96k sound richer than the ones recorded at 16b 48k and are closer to the album, actually better after removing the clicks.  I do not do more editing than that in fear of changing music.     So, I guess the theory to upconvert during record and upscale in the DAC magic during playback has merit afterall...(and so many think that notion is trash.) 

Now, I would like to upgrade the USB microphone driver to 24 bit, because I tried the sound cards ADC by plugging in the turntable directly to the back of the PC, and found that ADC to be quite poor.  The played back recordings sounded as if a paper bag had been placed over the speakers with that cheap ADC.   So, is there such a thing as a 24 bit USB microphone driver?   Alternately, do you know of a 24b ADC with phono plugs in and optical out?

Any further recommendations would be helpful

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: not sure if usb microphone is transferring 24 bit stream from preamp to ap
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2012, 10:43:48 am »
There's no 24 bit driver for the NAD PP-3, if that's what you're after, although VinylStudio will upscale in software.  If you want to go 24 bit, you will have to buy new hardware, such as the Furutech GT40, although there are some problems with this device, see:

http://www.alpinesoft.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=251.0

JermaineLewis

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I upgraded my Vinyl Studio LT that was provided with my NAD pp3i phono preamp with USB output.   Now, I have FLAC file support and am recording albums to my hard drive as 24 bit x 96 kHz FLAC using vinyl studio.  24b x 96k is the available output from the NAD, but I don't understand how the NAD "negotiates" with the PC on which speed to use.   Now, I have installed a new sound card capable of 24 bit x 96 k in my Dell 660.  It is a Creative PCIe X-Fi Extreme Audio sound card.   I have set up a USB microphone in control panel to be the digital input, but it's default settings go no farther than 16 b x 96 k.*   Below those choices there are two check boxes and I checked these to indicate "let application take charge."  But, I am not so sure that I really have a 24 bit transfer going on, as the application may not be able to go outside of the default choices, as far as I know.    I wish there was a way to fix the NAD at 24 x 96, or there was a microphone driver that had more choices so I could set that default also to 24 x 96.   I have been to the creative site and downloaded a driver and it is already what I had.  At the NAD site i can't find anything of benefit...redirected me here. 

*  At the same time, I have no problem setting the output driver [in control panel] at 24 b x 96 k, and the sound out travels on optical cable and I can see that transfer rate happening at 96k because an led light on the front panel of my DAC Magic changes as I modify the speed.


I have the microphone with similar setup and it does transfer data 24 bit.. Never faced such problem
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 06:17:39 pm by JermaineLewis »

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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No it doesn't.  VinylStudio will let you record at 24 bit but the signal is upscaled from 16 bit, which, in the case of the PP-3, is the limit of the hardware.

zetasj55

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The played back recordings sounded as if a paper bag had been placed over the speakers with that cheap ADC.   So, is there such a thing as a 24 bit USB microphone driver?
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Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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It's a limitation of the hardware, not the driver.  In my experience, recordings made at 44/16 (or 48/16) sound fine.  Perhaps you have some other kind of problem.  If you like, you can send me a sound sample:

p DOT sanders AT alpinesoft DOT co DOT uk

To make a sound sample:
 
1.  Select about 30 seconds' worth of audio in the Cleanup Audio window (by clicking and dragging in the waveform display).
 
2.  Right-click in the waveform display and select 'Save Selection As'.
 
3.  Save the file in OGG format (to keep the filesize down).
 
4.  Email me the file.

Thanks.