Author Topic: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3  (Read 13062 times)

forrestlaw

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Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« on: January 18, 2009, 04:59:55 am »
I recently bought a NAD PP3 so that I could make digital files of my vinyl. My turntable is a Technics SL-1200MK2 that came with a Shure M44G cartridge. After playing around with the PP3 and purchasing VinylStudio I have found that most of the tracks distort or clip when recording. The cartridge I have outputs at 6.2 mV RMS, which seems to be high compared to other MM cartridges. The Shure MX97xe and the AudioTechnica AT440 MLa output at only 4mV. Could the fact that I am using a high-output DJ cartridge be what is causing the clipping?

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2009, 10:12:06 am »
Hi,

Yes, I think that's the likely cause.  NAD inform me that the PP-3 is optimised for cartiridges with a 5mV output.  I assume you have the MM/MC switch set correctly.

What I suggest is that you run a cable from the line out sockets on the PP-3 to line in on the soundcard built into your PC.  You will need a cable like the one pictured here:

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

This will allow you to adjust the recording level and thus prevent clipping.  You can change the device you record from in VinylStudio's 'Check Level' dialog.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 10:36:24 am by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

forrestlaw

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2009, 04:27:57 pm »
I am using a Sony Vaio VGN-FZ290 notebook that only has a headphone and a microphone jack. It may have a shared mode that would allow it to act as a line in (I have been unable to figure it out). Would there be any harm in trying? At worst I will just end up with a crappy recording, right? If that does not work then I will probably upgrade to a Soundblaster XFi for notebooks. Thanks.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2009, 04:59:56 pm »
I agree, you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying.  You should visit VinylStudio's 'Check Level' dialog and select the correct input source (XP) or device (Vista).  If your laptop is anything like mine (which does have a dual-mode input jack), one of these (Mic) will be mono and the other (Line) will be stereo (both provide a signal).  VinylStudio's recording level indicators should reveal whether you are recording in mono or stereo.

I have no personal knowledge of the Soundblaster XFi but it does look the part.  If you learn anything interesting about it (or indeed your Sony) it would be nice if you could post it back here.

Thanks and good luck - Paul Sanders.

forrestlaw

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 11:10:13 pm »
Well, I bought a cable to hook up a 3.5mm jack to RCA stereo connectors on my NAD PP3. Apparently, my Vaio VGN-FZ290 does not have a line in jack. I had hoped that the mic would be a dual purpose shared jack, but it is not. When I plugged in the PP3 to the mic jack the level meters were pretty solid red, even when I turned the volume almost all the way down.

I guess my options are: 1) get a soundcard that would go into the ExpressCard slot on my laptop or 2) get a phono cartridge with only 5mV output.

You said that the PP3 is optimized for 5mv output. If I buy a cartridge with only 4mV output will that cause me problems? I don't see that it would since the output from the cartridge would not be so high as to cause clippingithe analog-digital conversion in the PP3. I

forrestlaw

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 02:12:26 am »
So I tried hooking the whole setup to the line in on my desktop computer and I ran into a new problem that I did not anticipate. While playing LPs everything sounds fine (played through line in on my computer speakers), but as soon as I begin recording or checking the levels in VinylStudio then there seems to be some kind of gain applied and the meters are pretty solid red even when I slide the bar down to zero. Anything above 10 or 15 and the bars are almost solid red. The PP3 does not digitize the signal unless the USB is connected, right? In other words, if I have the line out from the PP3 running to the line out on the back of my computer then all the PP3 is doing is passing along the signal from the turntable, correct? Do you think my problem the high output cartridge that I have (I am not particularly attached to the cartridge; it just happens to be what was on the turntable when I bought it)? It seems weird that everything sounds OK playing through the line in, but not recording.

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 10:36:10 am »
Hi,

Try unchecking 'Monitor Recording', you might have a feedback loop (some sound cards record from their own output).  And yes, you're right: if you use the phono outputs of the PP-3 the signal is digitised inside the PC (by the soundcard therein).

As for the cartridge, it should be fine with the phono outputs, but I think a 4mV unit would be a good choice if you want to record via USB.  NAD did some testing with such a cartridge recently and found it to perform well with the PP-3.

I'm sorry you're having all this hassle.  Wish I could do more.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 10:47:11 am by Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft) »

Paul Sanders (AlpineSoft)

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Re: Slight distortion/clipping when recording with NAD PP3
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2009, 06:54:38 pm »
Update, 16Jul09: Try updating to VinylStudio V6.20, forrest.  We discovered a problem in this area.  More details here:

http://www.alpinesoft.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=18.0