Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?

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JDUBS

Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« on: 8 May 2010, 02:31 am »
Guys

Anyone using this Mac program in place of their phono preamp? 

http://www.channld.com/pure-vinyl.html

I read the review of the software on enjoythemusic.com:

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0310/pure_vinyl.htm

And it seem pretty cool.  I'm using a DEQX and its digital input to actively triamp my speakers, eliminating the passive crossover componentry.  I really like this setup but don't love the idea of "digitizing" vinyl via the DEQX analog input but Pure Vinyl seems like an interesting alternative.

It seems like it could be as simple as feeding the output of a cart to a pair of step up transformer and from there on to the input of a 24bit / 96khz sound card (the input sampling rate and bit depth need to be the same as the output and the DEQX will take a 24bit / 96khz signal) which would feed a computer (not sure how much computing muscle is needed).  The computer does its thing, processing the RIAA curve, and then outputs the signal back through the soundcard which provides a digital output signal for me to feed into my DEQX.

No phono preamp needed...just some step-up transformers.  Of course you need a computer and compatible soundcard plus the program itself.

Anyone have any experience using it? 

Thanks,
Jim 

TONEPUB

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #1 on: 8 May 2010, 03:26 am »
Just curious, why bother to go to all the trouble to get a vinyl setup correct if you are just going to digitize it?

planet10

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Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #2 on: 8 May 2010, 03:51 am »
I don't think a step-up transformer will do it.

I'm playing with this ATM. I'm using a 1st generation iMac G5. For now i'm using an RIAA pre-amp driving an Edirol FA66.

The AES paper on digital RIAA by ChannlD is interesting.

dave
« Last Edit: 20 Dec 2010, 07:53 pm by planet10 »

bunnyma357

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #3 on: 8 May 2010, 05:04 am »
I am running Pure Vinyl as my phono pre-amp. For me the main motivation was cost and the desire to digitize my vinyl for listening in the car & iPod.

The set-up I have is a Music Hall MMF-5, with a Ortofon HMC30 low output MC cartridge, it feeds the microphone preamps of a Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 i/o. Pure Vinyl handles the RIAA equalization and then the the Focusrite also acts as a DAC and it feeds my analog preamp.

I'm very happy with the detail and lack of midrange congestion compared to a Goldring MM cart feeding a Belari Tube Phono Pre.

For me the Pure Vinyl/Mac/Focusrite setup provides a lot of advantages:
- The ability to run different equalization curves for older vinyl
- The ability to digitize vinyl at high quality, so I won't feel compelled to have to redo it in the future.
- A low cost MC phono preamp
- The ability to do bass management of both digital and analog signals to output to a sub.
- The ability to run plug-ins like room correction software, or a compressor to act as a variable "loudness" control for late night low volume listening
- The ability to improve the quality of iTunes playback for a fraction of the cost of Amarra.


Jim C

TONEPUB

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #4 on: 8 May 2010, 05:14 am »
How do you like the EQ curves on other/older vinyl?

bunnyma357

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #5 on: 8 May 2010, 05:19 am »
How do you like the EQ curves on other/older vinyl?

They seem pretty different from the RIAA, I don't have much that would need it, but I do have some of my father's old jazz & big band LP's and some old classical 78's (need another TT to play those). So it's not something I'm using day to day, but probably will need in a few instances in the future.

Jim C

Lyndon

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #6 on: 8 May 2010, 01:55 pm »
bunnyma357,
Jim,
I read this post last night, but was disheartened that Pure Vinyl is only offered through Mac.  That could get expensive for me, to buy a Mini, and the software, just for this purpose, since I just assembled the parts for a
HTPC.
What is the lowest level Mini that I should look for used? Does the processor have to be the Intel Core faster ones? Do I need the Superspeed drive models to get the better soundcards? Also the RAM level increased to
handle the Pure Vinyl software?
What about using an Apple TV for this purpose instead?
Is there a PC program that comes close to matching Pure Vinyl in both ease of use, quality of transfer and price?
Thanks,
Lyndon

JDUBS

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #7 on: 8 May 2010, 01:58 pm »
Just curious, why bother to go to all the trouble to get a vinyl setup correct if you are just going to digitize it?

Jeff, I completely understand your point and its been my main struggle in incorporating vinyl with my latest (and great imo) speaker setup.  I REALLY likely my DEQX and eliminating all passive crossover parts.

I would love to keep the analog signal completely analog, but its not possible if I want to keep my DEQX....and I can't see going back to a "regular" crossover setup.  Seems like this one of the better ways of digitizing.

-Jim

JDUBS

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #8 on: 8 May 2010, 02:02 pm »
I don't think a step-up transformer will do it.

Dave, I'm suspicious of this too, but the enjoythemusic.com article specifically references just a pair of step-up transformers, directly into a Mac.

-Jim

JDUBS

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #9 on: 9 May 2010, 02:33 am »
Did a little more research on the website.  It drives me nuts that this is Mac only...but it doesn't seem to require all that much horsepower, so a low(ish) Mac Mini (1.5ghz or better) suffices.  They mention dual core as being better but I'm not sure what the better cpu spec gets you in terms of better Pure Vinyl performance.

This shows you the low cpu utilization on a 2ghz Mac Mini:

http://www.channld.com/pv3pr3CPU.html

Also, there are a number of devices identified that have either USB or firewire interfaces that also provide microphone amplification so that you can run an MC cart into such device and then on to the computer.  The RME FireFace 400, in particular, seems to be an attractive option.

http://www.channld.com/pure-vinyl_support_ttc.html

-Jim

 

Lyndon

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #10 on: 9 May 2010, 04:12 am »
JDubs,
Jim,
Do you think the Pure Vinyl software would work in a 'Hackintosh' model?
After putting out the cash for a laptop last year, and two desktops, I really don't want to go out and buy
another laptop or Mini.
Lyndon

bunnyma357

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #11 on: 9 May 2010, 02:59 pm »
JDubs,
Jim,
Do you think the Pure Vinyl software would work in a 'Hackintosh' model?
After putting out the cash for a laptop last year, and two desktops, I really don't want to go out and buy
another laptop or Mini.
Lyndon

I don't see any reason it wouldn't work on a Hackintosh - the PV software is available as a free demo download, so you can try it out and experiment.

I'm totally Mac based, so I haven't looked for any PC programs with similar features - my system is a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 Gigs of RAM. The PV software doesn't require a lot of horsepower or memory - but can use it if you decide to use certain features. For example if you are using Hi-Rez files and want to use the memory play function where the music is buffered to RAM, you would want a fair amount of RAM. Or if you choose to run Plug-Ins like the ARC room correction software I'm trying out, then that will have a much bigger draw on the CPU, especially at higher sampling rates.

As far as the ADC/DAC interface, they run the full range from cheap to expensive, and if you're using it as a phono pre, the quality of the mic preamps is probably more important than getting a higher sample rate. My price point was right around $300 and the Focusrite seemed to be the best sonically, but a little buggy, with so-so software. Another thing to be aware of is that for a lot of the interfaces, when you use higher sampling rates you lose features/flexibility, depending on what you are trying to accomplish it may or may not impact you.

Just using the PV software as a straight phono pre-amp, it sounds very good to me, very detailed without sounding harsh. It doesn't sound "digital", even though to achieve what it is doing there is an extra ADC/DAC in the signal path. Others with more resolving systems may prefer to just stay analog all the way.

Jim C


Jim C

planet10

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Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #12 on: 9 May 2010, 11:07 pm »
It drives me nuts that this is Mac only...

It comes down to support... windows is harder to program (to a large extent because the UI can be built without writing a line of code), and it is way easier to support the end user, largely because the Mac is much more consistant. AFAIK channeld is just 1 guy.

dave
« Last Edit: 20 Dec 2010, 07:55 pm by planet10 »

Syrah

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Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #13 on: 10 May 2010, 01:02 am »
I've really wondered the same thing JDUBS, whether the "damage" done in the RIAA circuitry in a preamp is worse than the "damage" done in ADC-DAC conversion with RIAA done in the digital domain.  I wonder if the day will arrive when the answer is yes.  I wonder if that day has arrived?  It definitely makes sense for digitizing vinyl for recording purposes, but I wonder if it is/will be better than going through a good phono pre.

JDUBS

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #14 on: 10 May 2010, 03:17 am »
It comes down to support... windows is harder to program (to a large extent because the UI can be built without running a line of code), and it is way easier to support the end user, largely because the Mac is much more consistant. AFAIK channld is just 1 guy.

dave

Dave, I hear you on the support issue.  I have to imagine that time required for support would need to AT LEAST double if a Windows version would be released - not easy if it is just one guy.

-Jim

JDUBS

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #15 on: 10 May 2010, 03:22 am »
I've really wondered the same thing JDUBS, whether the "damage" done in the RIAA circuitry in a preamp is worse than the "damage" done in ADC-DAC conversion with RIAA done in the digital domain.  I wonder if the day will arrive when the answer is yes.  I wonder if that day has arrived?  It definitely makes sense for digitizing vinyl for recording purposes, but I wonder if it is/will be better than going through a good phono pre.

Exactly my questions, too, Syrah.  Would be really cool if this is a solution that's at least as good as a decent phono pre (or better still, as good as a high quality phono pre).  Still not sure how I would get comfortable with the whole idea of digitizing vinyl...just seems weird   :?

-Jim

JDUBS

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #16 on: 10 May 2010, 03:24 am »
I don't see any reason it wouldn't work on a Hackintosh - the PV software is available as a free demo download, so you can try it out and experiment.

I'm totally Mac based, so I haven't looked for any PC programs with similar features - my system is a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 Gigs of RAM. The PV software doesn't require a lot of horsepower or memory - but can use it if you decide to use certain features. For example if you are using Hi-Rez files and want to use the memory play function where the music is buffered to RAM, you would want a fair amount of RAM. Or if you choose to run Plug-Ins like the ARC room correction software I'm trying out, then that will have a much bigger draw on the CPU, especially at higher sampling rates.

As far as the ADC/DAC interface, they run the full range from cheap to expensive, and if you're using it as a phono pre, the quality of the mic preamps is probably more important than getting a higher sample rate. My price point was right around $300 and the Focusrite seemed to be the best sonically, but a little buggy, with so-so software. Another thing to be aware of is that for a lot of the interfaces, when you use higher sampling rates you lose features/flexibility, depending on what you are trying to accomplish it may or may not impact you.

Just using the PV software as a straight phono pre-amp, it sounds very good to me, very detailed without sounding harsh. It doesn't sound "digital", even though to achieve what it is doing there is an extra ADC/DAC in the signal path. Others with more resolving systems may prefer to just stay analog all the way.

Jim C


Jim C

I agree with Jim C - its worth a shot, given that you can demo the product for free.  Can you tell us more about your hackintosh setup, Lyndon, and if you try it with Pure Vinyl, your success?

Thanks
Jim

Lyndon

Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #17 on: 10 May 2010, 03:36 am »
Jim,
I don't have one, but was considering it.
However, a friend who switched completely over to Mac gear for the express purpose of his music, doesn't feel
it would be worth it.  Remember, unless you have the complete OS of Snow Leopard, you would be paying
for that as well.
The second video on this page was fascinating to watch his conversion of a Dell Mini though...
http://www.hackintosh.com/

planet10

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Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #18 on: 10 May 2010, 07:11 am »
Dave, I hear you on the support issue.  I have to imagine that time required for support would need to AT LEAST double if a Windows version would be released - not easy if it is just one guy.

I think real world figures are 5-10x.

dave

jsaliga

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Re: Pure Vinyl - computer software as a phono preamp?
« Reply #19 on: 10 May 2010, 03:17 pm »
It comes down to support... windows is harder to program (to a large extent because the UI can be built without running a line of code), and it is way easier to support the end user, largely because the Mac is much more consistant.

Are you a software developer?  I don't mean someone who dabbles in it from time to time, but a professional who does it for a living day in and day out.

--Jerome