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Troubleshooting the USB Turntable

Saturday Mar 14, 2009
DJ spinning records

DJ spinning records Courtesy -

Using a USB turntable to convert your vinyl records to digital files is a breeze. All you need to do is to connect the turntable to the USB port of your computer and you are on your way. Sometimes, however, a few bugs appear here and there.  Here are the most common, and how to swat those pesky bugs  :

•  Failure of computer to recognize the system. The first item to check is whether the USB turntable is plugged to an electrical outlet. If it is, check if power is turned on. You can also verify if the connecting jacks are properly inserted into the jacks. If they are, try replacing the USB cable with a new one.

If this does not help, try this sequence :

1. Exit the Audacity software.

2. Unplug all attached USB devices other than the USB turntable. Use the “Safely Remove Hardware” before removing them.

3. Turn off and unplug the USB turntable from the computer.

4. Plug the turntable back and into the computer and turn it on.

5. Wait for a few minutes then restart computer.

6. After rebooting, open Audacity and check Recording Device list.

7. If the USB device is now included, you can start recording.

• Recording freeze or dropouts. Verify that the Project Rate is set to either 44 000 or 48 000 Hz. A rate that is higher could result to a USB bandwidth overload. This causes transmission problems.

If the setting is fine, check the following:

1. See if the USB cables are properly inserted into their jacks. You can also try using another USB cable.

2. If you are using a USB hub, try connecting directly to the ports.

3. Limit the use of USB bandwidth.

•  Erratic turntable speed. Sometimes the turntable platter turns faster than the desired speed, either 33 1/3, 45, or 78 revolutions per minute. If it rotates too fast the pitch increases. This variation in speed is usually due to an improperly installed belt. There is a groove in the spindle within which the belt should be strapped. If the belt slips out of this groove, the turntable platter will spin faster than normal. To correct this, follow these steps:

1. Remove slip mat of turntable platter.

2. Rotate platter until you see the brass motor spindle through a hole in the platter.

3. Reposition belt within the groove in the spindle.

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Audacity : The Soul of USB Turntables

Saturday Mar 14, 2009
USB Truntable

USB Truntable

USB turntables convert vinyl records into CD or MP3. Once the turntable is connected to a computer through its USB port, conversion can be done in a matter of minutes. The connection through a USB port is especially useful if the computer lacks a line-in port through which a conventional turntable may be attached.

Manufacturers of USB turntables normally bundle the recording application Audacity with their product. This software acts as the interface between the computer and the USB turntable, thus rendering any special driver unnecessary. Audacity works well with both PCs and Macs, as well as with any brand or model of USB turntable.

For Audacity to perform its function well, users are advised to keep the following in mind:

• Ensure that the Audacity software is up-to-date. It is possible that your USB turntable was manufactured and packaged before the issuance of a newer Audacity version.
• User’s manuals provided by the USB turntable manufacturers may be inaccurate. The manufacturers prepare and print these manuals and it is possible that they may not be very familiar with the software. They could also be outdated. Several manufacturers, however, offer free downloads of updated manuals.

• Follow the manual’s prescribed operating procedures.

1. Setting Up and Recording with Audacity

a)  After connecting the computer to the USB turntable with a USB cable, go to Preferences, and click the Audio I/O tab.

b) Select USB Audio CODEC and select your playback device.

c) If you want to listen to the computer’s audio while recording from the turntable, enable Software Playthrough Set 2 (stereo) if you prefer stereo recording, if not, set to 1 (mono).

d) Go to Mixer Toolbar and move the left-hand volume slider to the right. If you are using a Mac, go to the Mac hard disk, then Applications, Utilities, Audio-Midi Setup. In the Default Input and Properties for, select USB Audio CODEC.

e) Set the Project Rate to 44 100 Hz.

f) Select Stereo Mix, and press the Record button to start recording.

2. Playing Records Without Recording

a) Open the software Audacity

b) In the recording VU meter at the right, look for the arrow that is pointing downward and click it.

c) Click Monitor Input, or, in Audacity 1.3.3, Start Monitoring.

d) If you cannot see the VU meters go to Preferences, click Interface tab, end check Enable meter Toolbar.  In the Audacity 1.3.3 version, select View, Toolbars, Show Meter Toolbar.

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