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