Convert Vinyl to MP3’s with the Stanton T.90 USB Turntables

stanton t90 main Convert Vinyl to MP3’s with the Stanton T.90 USB Turntables

One of the questions I get a lot is, “How do I convert my record collection to MP3s?”. In the past this was not an easy task since many turntables only offered phono out as opposed to a standard line out. This required you to use a phono pre amp or mixer. When standard line out came to turntables, this improved the situation, but you still had to deal with analog cables that introduced noise into your vinyl recordings.

The next ideal step is digital out as well as the convenience of USB on newer versions of turntables. In this mini-review, we will take a look at the Stanton T.90s.

Included

The T.90s comes with everything you need to convert your collection. Power cables, USB cable, RCA cables, dust cover, and even a cartridge to get you started. The needle that comes with works fine, but upgrading will definitely improve the fidelity. Though these can get expensive and cost more than the turn table itself.

The Hardware

I’m no stranger to turntables. As a raver in the 90s I did have a nice set of Technics 1200’s for bedroom DJing, though I did start out with a beginner set of Gemini’s. These Statons fall somewhere in between a starter set and the club standard 1200’s. Build quality is cheap like beginner DJ sets but has much more torque in the motor. These won’t satisfy the purest DJ, but might be a great start for a beginner. However, if you are reading this you are likely not about to take up DJing and are more interested in just converting your collection- these will more than suffice.

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Ins & Outs

On the back of the T.90s you will find a nice array of connections- USB, coax digital, and RCA’s switchable between phono and line output.

The USB cable plugs right into your computer and does not require any drivers since it uses a standard generic audio driver. This shows up as a regular sound card. What I found to be unusual about this is that once you plug in the USB cable the RCA outputs now become your generic sound card outputs, overriding the sound card on your computer. This may work fine for some people, but I find it to be more of a problem and less of a feature since now you have to rout those RCA’s back into your computer or hook them up to speakers. A simple digital out through the USB would have been more ideal.

But if you do want simple digital out, you still can run the coax digital out directly into your sound card and get the same results. It is just a slightly more complicated setup.

The Software

Included is Cakewalk Pyro 5. This will allow you to record, edit, clean up the vinyl recordings as well as convert them to MP3s or burn them to a disk. It works, but I am far from impressed. Its very rough around the edges and was even cumbersome also had some difficulties registering the software as well as trying to get the exact format of the serial number just to get it installed. Its not terribly easy to use, but it does have tools to easily records and save multiple tracks at once.

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Conclusion

If you need to convert some vinyl to digital, the Stanton T.90 MP3’s will do the trick. I have few complaints about the hardware itself. The included CakeWalk software on the other hand is a pain to work with- be prepared to spend some time with it. In one package, it does everything you need it to do and it is way easier than using a conventional turn table with photo outs. And after than learning curve, I have been nothing but excited about converting my two crates of hard trance and electronic hardcore vinyl.

Purchase

I have yet to see these in major retailers, but you can pick them up from Amazon.

12 Comments

Wings on November 24, 2008 9:42 PM

Nice. I ned to get one.

Will on November 25, 2008 12:33 AM

The sony usb turntable is nice too you should do a comparison of the two.

Andreas on November 25, 2008 1:19 AM

Numark also has 3 different USB turntables; TTXUSB, TTUSB and PT-01USB. My dad uses the TTUSB and is very happy.

Johan Krüger-Haglert on November 25, 2008 7:53 AM

Very limited usage.If you really believe vinyl sounds better, why would you want to sample and lossy-compress it?If you’re not convinced about vinyls superiority why would you need this?Useful only for people with old vinyls which they can’t get in digital form.

Grahm on November 25, 2008 1:14 PM

@johan, because vinyl isnt portable. I personally have a lot of things on vinyl that have never been released in any other format.From a technical standpoint, vinyl is not superior to current loss less digital formats. No body can argue with that- there is much more information in a CD compared to vinyl.For those that prefer vinyl they prefer the sound of it. Better is only a personal preference, not a fact.

Lawrence on November 25, 2008 2:55 PM

@Grahm: You’ve clearly never heard vinyl, reel-to-reel tape, let alone studio grade analogue equipment!Lossless digital sound is still only 16bit/44.1kHz, far below the resolution of a continuous analogue sound wave.Just as a 1080p digital picture is still far below the resolution of analogue 35mm film.

r.pancake on November 25, 2008 5:12 PM

There is much more info in a vinyl record then CD, the level of detail that one is able to achieve on vinyl is far better then most remastered Compact Discs. The problem is how to extract the sound from vinyl without changing what’s recorded on the disc. Retrieving the sound via needle has the main way to enjoy vinyl for ages, but needles slowly deteriorate the grooves and bumps in vinyl. If you have a extra $10-15K you could always invest in a ELP Laser Turntable.Video is pretty the same, it’s all about what hardware you use and how you use it. 1080p almost always looks better then 35mm because whoever is running the projector is normally a snot-nosed kid who doesn’t give a crap whether or not your movie is in focus, or they are using a old, worn-down projector.

Martin Sägmüller on November 25, 2008 8:05 PM

Nonsense, there is less information on vinyl than on a Redbook CD. Vinyl is something between 12 and 14 bits, roughly translated. Link: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=35530

Grahm on November 25, 2008 9:08 PM

Film? you cant compare the two completely different medium that operate on two different senses, of course 35mm has a higher resolution than 1920×1080, but 1080p has a higher frame rate… so whats better?.. idk… but I wont go down that path because i dont see how that is relevant to audio and vinyl.Aside from Martin being correct, you still didnt account for the fact that vinyl is well, vinyl- it distorts and wears.I very familiar with analogue recordings. *At times* i do think its “better” in a sense that its a bit warmer and the artifacts give it character but all at the sacrifice of detail or a lower bitrate. Have a read on that link Martin posted. Its very hard to argue against physics and math.

Phil Urich on November 25, 2008 10:56 PM

I’m more interested in the simple question of, is this a standards-compliant USB device? Or am I forced to fork out for a copy of Windows if I want to buy and use one?

Lawrence on November 27, 2008 2:49 AM

@MartinSo you base your opinion on one guys forum post, which is not backed up with any empirical evidence? I’m sure I can find many forum posts that say the opposite…@Grahm: 1080p has a higher frame rate…What??? Both are 24 frames per second!!! Not to mention the human eye can’t detect much higher than this…Bitrate, frequency response, Signal-to-noise ratio, etc are not measurements of quality or how close a sound is to the original performance.Yes digital brought resilience and convenience, and the quality is good enough for 99.9% of people. But if CD is so wonderful, why do we have SACD and DVD-Audio???I’m not a vinyl bore and only have a cheap deck and small record collection… But back to back, vinyl blows the doors off my 5-star reviewed Yamaha CD player.

Joe on December 4, 2008 10:28 PM

You guys seem to forget how annoying it is to get dirt on a record. Hearing all the hiss and clicks and pops is realllyyy hi-fi.And don’t forget, every time you play a record or tape, the quality degrades. I would use a record player to at least capture the sound before the record degrades too far.Btw, are there any 4 channel ones out there for recording?Reel to reel sounds very rich and warm, but again, it isn’t very portable.

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