comprehensive guide to connecting a turntable
is included in the documentation included with
the Pure Vinyl software download.
What follows below is
a list of suggested (and cost-no-object) components, for assembling your own vinyl
playback system, using Pure Vinyl's built-in precision vinyl correction
If our hardware suggestions
don't suit you, Pure Vinyl isn't tied to any particular Macintosh
computer model or ADC / DAC / audio interface, so you're free to assemble a
playback system that fits your preferences and budget.
Pure Vinyl includes a music server feature for the automated, "jukebox" style play of
tracks from your iTunes music library or custom playlists, including
high-resolution (up to 192 kHz) music downloads, iTunes Plus tracks or tracks
transferred from CDs, with optional, automatic,
real-time upsampling (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit), and high-resolution, low-latency
streaming of audio (with acoustic delay correction for echo elimination)
to a remotely connected Macintosh computer.
Macintosh Mini computer with FireWire port
The Mac Mini
provides a silent, unobtrusive platform for running Pure Vinyl,
using a FireWire or USB audio interface. After initial setup,
it even can be run / restarted without having a mouse, monitor
or keyboard connected, and controlled remotely from another Mac
computer via wireless (WiFi) or wired Ethernet (or even via touchscreen
iPod or iPhone).
Or, the Mini can be connected directly (via
DVI / HDMI) to a widescreen digital TV, doubling as a DVD player and
high-definition TV receiver (by adding an inexpensive
USB HDTV tuner). Add an Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse for an
elegant, easy to use and flexible remote control.
is perfect for this application, but any Mac with a 1.5 GHz or
faster G4 or later processor is fine (just about any Mac made
in the last 5 years). A dual processor or dual core CPU is preferred.
users contemplating trying the Mac platform: it's simple to install Windows
or Vista on any new Mac and
have a dual-boot machine that flexibly runs both Mac and Windows
operating systems. If you're new to the Apple Mac platform, this
is the perfect way to "get your feet wet."
don't already have a turntable / cartridge, please see the Pure
Vinyl User Guide (included with the Pure Vinyl software download)
for some suggestions.
of cartridge is a matter of personal preference. If you want to use Pure Vinyl's
software RIAA correction feature, and plan to use a microphone preamplifier
(or audio interface with built-in microphone preamplifier), we recommend
choosing a low-output moving-coil cartridge, for reasons given in the next section.
Try needledoctor.com or musicdirect.com for a wide selection
of turntables and cartridges. They also carry
Michael Fremer's turntable
setup DVD ("21st Century Vinyl"), which provides thorough, clear and detailed instructions on setting up a
turntable, with specific examples using several popular
models. Watching the DVD is an excellent way to get an
introduction to the subject of vinyl playback.
|3. Phono preamplifier
preamplifier depends on the type of cartridge used:
Output" cartridges, such as most moving-coil, and the special
low-inductance 0.5 mV Grado moving-iron cartridges, require a
Low Output Moving Coil type of preamplifier. Such cartridges usually have
an internal impedance of 50 ohms or less.
Output" cartridges, including high-output moving-coil, usually require a 47
k ohm load, and the same type of preamplifier as moving magnet
cartridges. Such cartridges usually have an internal impedance of 500 ohms or more.
The above represents general guidelines.
Consult the specifications from the
cartridge manufacturer for more information on the recommended load for your specific cartridge.
Preamplifier for Low Output
Moving Coil (MC) Cartridges:
D Seta Model L Direct Coupled Wide Bandwidth Phono Preamplifier
- or any Mac OS X
- Supported FireWire Audio Interface with a built-in two-channel Microphone
Preamplifier, such as those listed below
- or any professional-quality,
balanced input two-channel microphone preamplifier.
preamplifiers are capable of driving long (33 feet / 10 meter)
cable lengths with no loss in signal quality or noise pick-up,
so the audio interface (mentioned in the next section) doesn't necessarily have to be
located near the turntable.
Preamplifier for Moving
Magnet / Moving Iron / High Output MC Cartridges:
D Seta Model H Direct Coupled Wide Bandwidth Phono Preamplifier
- or any preamplifier or audio interface
with balanced, high impedance (47 k ohms or greater) inputs and 20 dB or more gain
on those inputs.*
*Preamplifiers meeting this requirement
are not as common as those with microphone inputs, which is the reason why we recommend using
a low output moving coil cartridge, which will work with a wider selection of computer audio gear.
If using a high output cartridge, having a
balanced input is the only way to insure there will be no audible noise, particularly "hum,"
at high listening levels during silent passages in the music. The RME FIreFace 400 and TC Impact Twin have high impedance inputs that work well with moving-magnet (high output) cartridges.
Unfortunately, users of many conventional phono
high-output (or low-output cartridges) do encounter audible levels of "hum" in their vinyl playback setups,
and unfortunately many such users have
resigned themselves to live with this. However, having to live with noise, which is definitely avoidable with the
proper equipment, isn't the path to the best quality vinyl playback, which is our goal.
|4. FireWire Audio
Interface supporting 192 kHz / 24 Bit
Except for the Lynx Aurora,
all other interfaces listed below have built-in microphone preamplifiers
suitable for a moving-coil cartridge.
If your turntable uses
shielded RCA type cables, we also can
include built-in load resistors) for connecting the turntable's
single-ended RCA connectors to the XLR type balanced preamplifier
inputs. You also may choose to construct your own; instructions
are provided in the Pure Vinyl software documentation.
The Lynx Aurora also
requires input and output connecting cable sets (ordered separately
from the Aurora interface) or customized balanced stereo interconnects
that can be ordered from Channel D.
A FireWire audio interface
can be located up to 15 feet away from the computer. Examples:
- Lynx Aurora 8 (with optional LT-FW card and Firmware version 15)
FireWire Interface (external preamplifier required, above)
- or RME
- or TC Electronic Impact Twin FireWire Interface
These interfaces can
be obtained from online retailers such as Audiomidi or zZounds. Channel D also is an authorized dealer for
|5. External Hard Drive
vinyl at high resolution, an external hard drive will be needed.
High resolution audio files are quite large! A typical LP saved
to uncompressed 192/24 format will occupy 2 to 3 GB. This will
quickly eat up space on your startup drive (and it's bad practice
to save large data files to your startup drive, anyway). Fortunately,
huge hard drives are cheap. The cost of RAID 1 protected (redundant)
storage is now much less than $1 per LP, and falling (probably
cheaper than the high quality shelving you might buy for storing
the vinyl itself).
of the requirements of high-resolution digital audio, the hard
drive must be connected to a different data "bus"
than your audio interface. For example, if you have a FireWire
audio interface, the hard drive should be USB 2.0 or an NAS (Network
Attached Storage) type. If you have a USB audio interface, the
hard drive should be FireWire or NAS.
below can be set up for RAID 1 redundancy (highly recommended),
which protects your recordings in the event of drive failure.
"Plug and Play:" USB / FireWire.
- USB 2.0
/ FireWire Terabyte Drive (Dual Internal Terabyte Drives, set up
for RAID 1 Data Redundancy) from Newegg
(Dual Internal Terabyte Drives, set up for RAID 1 Data Redundancy)
(this will be needed if using multiple NAS drives, or if connecting
the Mac Mini to a local network) from Newegg
up an NAS requires some technical know-how, and reading product
documentation to set it up properly is a must. The NAS may be
connected directly to the Mac Mini via standard, commonly available
Category (Cat) 6 cable (a "crossover" type cable isn't
required). If the Mini is wired to a local area network via Ethernet
(such as for remote control via another Mac), a Gigabit Switch
will also be needed. Unlike a USB or FireWire disk, the NAS does
not have to be located close to the Mac Mini (can be
located up to 330 feet away). Multiple NAS drives can be added
at any time, for essentially unlimited storage.
You also can buy a "bare"
NAS enclosure and add your own SATA hard drives (more complicated,
but more economical).
|6. Last, but
not least, Channel D Pure Vinyl software!