27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2008
After reading the reviews about my top choices for an afforable USB turntable, I came to the conclusion that unless it had some major flaw that made it unusable or introduced some intollerable noise, one turntable at this price was just about the same as any other. I chose the Sony because it came with software that you couldn't just download for free. Sound Forge Audio Studio is quite easy to use and the the fact that it supports .wma so I can edit clips recorded from other sources.
I did download Audacity and like it too. In fact, I switch back and forth, depending on the project. What suprised me was that the sofware wouldn't detect the breaks between songs very well while using the USB interface. I think the gain is just too high and can't be adjusted down that I can tell. Luckily, this unit has it's own preamp and allows me to hook it up at line level to the computer's sound card input. Now the software will detect the individual songs and treat them accordingly.
I don't know if this is a flaw with this particular unit or all USB input. The other benefit of using line level over USB is that you can hear what is being recorded. With the USB input, you can't (unless I'm missing something).
All in all, I'm pleased with my purchase and even more pleased that my decision to go with the Sony model got me two choices of recording software.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2009
I've been using this player for a couple of months now and have had no major issues. The player works great. I installed the software (Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0) and immediately went to the website and updated to 9.0d just as a precaution. It's easy to record using the software, but it does a terrible job of trying to find track start/end, so I end up having to do this manually. Unfortunately, if you have to manually set the tracks, then you have to skip the last step of the Vinyl Recording and Restoration tool (wizard), "Save tracks as audio files on your hard drive." If it would select tracks correctly, then it automatically would create separate wav/mp3 tracks for each song. However, if you need to adjust the tracks (check box "Leave underlying data window open), including adding "Regions", then you will have to create the individual tracks yourself by copying and pasting into a new data window. If you do not copy and paste into a new data window, then you're left with one long track consisting of multiple songs.
Just FYI, I recorded several of my grandfather's old 78 RPM gospel records (not vinyl) using the 45 RPM setting. In Sound Forge, you can change the "rate" easily by sliding to the right on the data window. I changed the rate to anywhere between 1.71 and 1.85 and the 78 RPM albums sound correct. However, you cannot save the track at that rate just by sliding the Rate bar; instead, you have to go to Effects -> Pitch Bend and adjust the "semitones". I honestly have no idea how to use it correctly, but I was able to move everything around until the tone sounded OK, and then saved to wav/mp3.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2008
As a tool for getting your vinyl to CD (or iTunes or whatever), this is a great product. Sure, the whole thing costs less than the B&O crowd will spend just on cartridge, but if you're like me and have a bunch of LPs sitting in the garage feeling neglected, this is just what you need to get the tunes back in your living room & vehicle.
As others have said, the software takes a little getting used to. It would have been useful if the software's default startup behavior would have been optimized for use with LPs. As it is you have to hunt around a bit to get the recordings to work. Don't be surprised if on your first attempt:
* The sound on all your programs stops working
* Your first LP recording sounds even scratchier than the oldest LP you've ever played.
After a little poking around, you'll get most of it working. Like the others I haven't been able to get the sound to play through my computer while recording, but since I've got the unit hooked up to my receiver, that doesn't really matter.
Just remember recording LPs isn't like ripping CDs. :) You actually have to play the album in real time in order to record it, just like the old days.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2011
After I received this turntable as a gift, I went online to read up on it before I hooked it up. When I found reviews saying that it was incompatible with Windows 7 and that you couldn't listen to the tracks through your computer speakers as you recorded them, I nearly packed it back up. Fortunately, I was stubborn enough to try it out for myself, and found that it *is* compatible with Windows 7 AND that I can listen to my records through my computer speakers as I record them
to digital files!
The following steps might be helpful in getting the records to play through your computer speakers:
Start menu> Control Panel> Hardware & Sound> Sound> Recording> Set Microphone (CODEC) as default, then right-click on it. Go to Properties, then Listen tab. Check box "listen to this device."
While you're in the Properties menu you may also want to lower your levels (Levels tab); I had to drop mine to 3 or 4 to avoid massive amounts of reverb/feedback/general garbledness on my recordings, but YMMV. Similarly, when you record your albums (using Record/Restore Vinyl tab in the Sound Forge program), I found that checking "monitor levels" led to lots of noise, so I left the box unchecked and have had no problems getting good sound.
The software it comes bundled with isn't great for the layperson (it has scads of editing tools, none of which I'm really interested in playing with), and it doesn't seem to recognize track breaks--but maybe with time I'll figure it out. I've also read that other people have found different programs (Audigy, for instance) that work better, so there's always that option.
Overall, a good product, though it'd be improved by being packaged with simpler software.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2010
I have had this turntable for a couple of months now and have had success using it. I would like to point out that this turntable DOES work with a Mac - it states in the technical specs here that it doesn't. After doing a little research, I was able to get it working well. The trick is to set your sound input correctly in the system preferences - after plugging it into the USB, make sure to select "USB audio codec" in the system preferences. Download the Audacity software [...] and any other extension that you might want. There are also a couple of options in Audacity to set up in the preferences. Play with these settings and you will be in business. One other note to make here is that you will not be able to hear it until you are actually recording it in Audacity software. Just start the recording before the needle is down - edit out the extra time on the front end after it finishes.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2008
I have had the turntable for a couple weeks, as of 12/26/08. It was easy to physically install via the USB cable to my PC. The software installed easily enough. I would recommend following the instructions carefully and then do a reboot before attempting to record. I have recorded about 12 albums so far. My biggest issue is that the software defaults to saving as a "wav" file, which is huge. Every time I use the software I have to remember to change to saving as an "mp3", which is a pain. You can record the whole side of an album and then the S/W detects the tracks. This works about 80% of the time. On live albums there is no quiet period between the tracks so it can't autodetect them, so you get one giant track. You can then manually cut it into tracks using the S/W, but it is a pain. I now just save as one track, import into iTunes, and use the Get Info to list the track names in the comments. Overall I'd give this an A+ for value.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2009
Sony generally manufactures quality electronic products & this one won't disappoint. This is a brand I generally veer towards when considering electronics. The dual use is fantastic & I purchased it for both uses. You can easily connect it to your home stereo system with the attached RCA cables. The one disappointment was how short these connector cables were & they are already permanently attached to the turntable. Other than that, you connect & go - sound is fantastic. The arm automatically returns to the holder & the turntable stops when the album side is finished playing. The other use, of course, is the ability to record & download your vinyl into your computer and then burn it onto CD's or into your MP3 player. The enclosed software has lots of bells & whistles which I haven't quite figured out yet. For a novice like myself, you can choose to have the software automatically remove the hisses & pops found on vinyl & even out the audio before burning onto a CD. For the more experienced, there are literally hundreds of effects that you can incorporate into the recording - i.e., reverb, fading, phlange, etc. You have the option of saving the recording as a wave or MP3 file. Considering the price & ease of use, this product is a winner on both counts. The sleek design and look of the turntable is also nice - compared to some of the other turntables I looked at before deciding on this model. The others looked like big silver flying saucers. I strongly recommend this turntable overall.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2009
Like many other reviewers, I had boxes of old LP's in the basement but haven't had a turntable able to play them for years. Despite that, I never did get round to throwing them out and boy, am I glad I didn't. I wasn't even aware of this Sony turntable until I was in the Sony shop looking at cameras a few weeks ago but when I saw it and read the blurb and realized I could connect it to my Laptop and load up all those old tracks, my heart went pitter-patter and my ears went all pointy and perky! My other half noticed and very kindly permitted me to buy my new toy. Which is very reasonably priced I might add (probably why she let me buy it....).
Anyhow, despite the unrememberable name, the thing that hooked me well and truely was the USB port so it can be hooked up to your Windows computer (alas, Macs are not supported, not that I have a Mac, but if that's what you do you, take note....). And then, with the aid of the supplied Sound Forge Audio Studio software, you can fire up all your old 33s and 45s and have them recorded into modern digital MP3 files. These can be burned onto a CD for more convenient playback and, of course, loaded onto an iPod or other digital music player. So of I went. The boxes came out of storage, the dust flew.... Well, they'd been sitting there for well over 15 years so there was a lot of dust. Not being a fanatic, I didn't go to the lengths some reviewers seem to have - I chucked them in the sink with some water and detergent and washed 'em down with a sponge. Seemed to work, got rid of the dust, doesn't seem to have damaged any of them and they're all shiny and clean now and it cost me about 25 cents and some elbow grease.
So, onto the next step. The biggest hurdle is the cumbersome software that is intended for advanced audio editing and production. The interface is cluttered and overwhelming for the average user (like me, who has never used this stuff before), and Sony's rudimentary instructions didn't help - I couldn't even hear the LP playing through the PC's speakers. Seems that for some reason Sony makes you do things the hard way, because lurking under the software's Tools menu is a "vinyl recording and restoration" feature. This isn't mentioned anywhere in the flimsy manual but it's exactly what you need: a simple step-by-step guide designed specifically to turn an LP into a CD or MP3 with only a few clicks and to listen to the album while it's being recorded. This includes being able to run filters to clean up pop, crackle and hiss, as well as "normalise" audio peaks. The only shortcoming is that each side of an album is recorded as a single audio file rather than divided into tracks. This won't matter if you don't want to skip between CD tracks or add individual songs to an MP3 playlist. But, if you're willing to roll up your sleeves, you can use the Sound Forge software to edit the recording into individual tracks. I managed it at last and I'm rather happy with the results.
I now have gazillions of old tracks I never thought I'd hear again. And many more to load up and play. Well worth both the money and the time and effort to figure out the software. Rated 4 stars only because I thought the manual was pretty poor. Aside from that, this is a great little toy!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2009
My experience with this unit is disappointing thus far. I had confidence in the SONY name from prior experience however when I saw Made in China on the box I had reservations about trying it. My issues thus far are:
After recording about 10 albums, the arm does not reset onto the post. Upon its travel down into the rest position, it abruptly moves toward the record and rests midway between the record and the post creating X number of minutes of static if you walk away while recording. However, the software makes it easy to clean off the static but I shouldn't have to do that.
I've taken very good care of my albums over the years, wiping with a Diskwasher D4 system prior to each play, and never touching the groved surface with bare fingers, etc. My old Technics turntable plays them without incident. Upon playback of songs from the SONY unit, I find random skips on some tracks that never had them before, perhaps due to the lack of a counter weight on the arm?
One of my first recorded albums had what sounded like electronic skipping throughout a few tracks however this may because of incorrect software settings.
Admittedly, I'm not an audiophile and need to read up on the nuiances of recording analog to digital and on the capabilities of the software that was supplied. My expectations of plug-n-play may have been too much for the price point.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2009
This is way too cool!
It's super easy to set up. Software was a breeze to install. A piece of cake to record my old vinyls to my PC and burn onto a CD. It literally walks you right through the steps. Playback of the disc was fantastic.
First I recorded one of my favorite old albums and the sound was far superior than the store bought music CD's. We couldn't believe how great the sound is! So next I grabbed one of my most scratched vinyls just to put it to the test and see what it can do. I couldn't believe how well it cleaned up the clicks and pops(we can hardly hear them between tracks on this one.)
I'm finally recording all of my old albums and can quit wasting money on CD's to replace them. I highly rate this unit. Now I'm on the search for used albums. Far better sound quality from the old vinyls than the new CD's.
(I don't see what the problem is for some of you. I'm glad I ignored the bad reviews)