Most helpful positive review
94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
Considering its low price, it earns 5 stars for LP to MP3 conversion
on March 25, 2012
In March 2012, I purchased a new Titan Sound USB Turntable With Stereo Speakers for Recording Vinyl Albums onto PCs in MP3 Format! Seller shipped to me a VIBE Sound VS-2002-SPK which is practically identical, and I have no objection to the substitute, because from the two brands' photos, I think it's the exact same item with a different "brand" decal, and my speaker grilles are black. But the model number painted on the back panel is VS-2002-SPK. I use Windows 7 and I was able to run this turntable and convert LP's to MP3 with no glitches.
My sole purpose was to convert a dozen old LP records (which were never available on audio CD) to MP3. Except for those conversions, I do not intend to use the turntable for daily use. Yesterday I played each LP to Audacity, created MP3's and then stored my precious rare LP's (and this turntable) safely away. The entire task was about 8 hours to play and convert all 12 LP's.
Converting an LP to MP3 with this turntable is fairly simple, plug-and-play. The turntable is USB powered, via the same cable that inputs the sound into your computer. As another reviewer said, you could use a USB-to-AC-power adapter if you want to use the turntable for listening only.
The turntable spins at 33 and 45 RPM (but not 78 RPM). The stylus (needle cartridge) arm does not have an automatic lift-up device or an easy-float-down capability. The turntable starts spinning when you lift the needle and hand-position it over the record, and it stops spinning when the record ends and the needle tracks toward the record's center hole. You'll hear a loud hum when you touch the metal arm of the stylus arm.
Included parts: USB cable, a 45 record adapter, a 14-page paper Vibe VS-2002-SPK User Guide, and a CD mini-disk with Audacity version 1.2.6 on it. The CD mini-disk of Audacity launched effortlessly in my 1-year old Toshiba laptop. There is no spare Stylus needle cartridge, but if one is ever REALLY needed, Needlefinder.net sells them (stock # 793/D7 ) for $18.00 plus $3.00 S&H.
Vibe's paper User Guide was very helpful to me. I used Audacity a couple of times before (at the most Basic level), and I looked but never did find a good "user guide for dummies" for it (although Audacity does have its own very thorough HELP guide), so when I used Audacity before, I guessed my way through, using just a few of its basic features, but I did not know about (or how to use) several of Audacity's more advanced features. I learned a few new Audacity tricks from Vibe's simplified paper User Guide, such as:
Tip: Audacity defaults to one-channel (mono) recording. So use Edit > Preferences > Audio I/O (set it to Channels: 2 (stereo)) before you start transferring your LP record to your computer.
Tip: "Clipping" means the audio input is too loud and will sound distorted. The turntable volume knob on the front of the platform controls its own speakers' output level, but it does NOT affect the volume output level to the USB cable. I think the turntable pushes too much volume through the USB output cable (I wish I could have turned it down a little bit). The problem is exacerbated because Audacity defaults (every time you launch it) to 100% INPUT volume, which caused noticeable (too much) overloading and clipping in my first test run.
Tip: Play a song from your LP first into Audacity (in "RECORD" mode) and set the "INPUT VOLUME" (GAIN CONTROL) (look up "METER TOOLBAR" in Audacity's HELP tab > CONTENTS) so Audacity's waveform display is not peaking (Tip: search "waveform" in Audacity's HELP tab > SEARCH). Then when you found and set (in Audacity's input volume control bar) the best audio input level for your LP record, record your entire song track or LP side.
I lowered Audacity's "INPUT VOLUME" (GAIN CONTROL) to 50% and it reduced the clipping a little bit, but the overload of sound still caused some minor clipping and distortion in the MP3 recording when some sections of a song got loud. I could not completely eliminate the overload clipping, but I did reduce most of it. I imagine a higher price turntable would have such an output level control to better control the sound overload.
Tip: To close a track in Audacity, click the X in the upper LEFT of the Waveform window, then click "File > New" to start a new track.
A very small amount of electronic background hum makes it through into your MP3 recording. It's audible but not enough to bother me. Supposedly you can use Audacity to edit it out, but I tried and it removed other musical audio signal which I wanted to retain. But I admit that I am not an expert Audacity user.
The turntable seemed to be a reasonably consistent speed, but on a very few sections of the music, I could hear a very little bit of RPM speed wavering, but not enough to bother me. Audiophiles and purists will want to spend more than this turntable costs, to attain perfection.
BOTTOM LINE: I was able to quickly convert a dozen LP records to MP3 with an acceptable (to me) level of quality. I spent about 25 bucks for this turntable (brand new, including shipping) and I consider it a great value. Unless you are an audiophile fanatic, this equipment should convert your LP records to MP3 for you at acceptable quality for casual listening, but not audiophile quality. But I believe I got my money's worth. Considering its LOW PRICE, it earned its 5 stars for my LP to MP3 conversion needs.