Vinyl needle drops

May 31, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

8 comments on “Vinyl needle drops”

  1. I recently got into needle drops after purchasing a PS NuWave Phono Converter. I’m using this mostly for records (including some 78’s!) that were never released in any digital format, so I can’t comment on that comparison. I’m using the Vinyl Studio program for the conversion as it’s super simple (if time consuming) to use, and the tic and pop eliminator works very well. The resultant 24/96 FLAC files sound just like the record, but better, with the elimination of record noise. I even find that the subtle differences between what ‘table and/or cartridge is used as the source comes through clearly. BTW, I’m also using a PS NuWave DAC. I wish I could archive my whole collection this way, but with 5K+ records, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. Cheers!

  2. Paul, perhaps you missed his question…
    Is the question:
    1: are needed drops safe?
    2: do you want them in your conversions to other media?

    I have a few vinyl recordings to convert, but I much rather just listen to them 😉

    Years back, I purchased a Parasound zPhono USB. And it does a fine job of capturing with a USB cable and running an application to save the bitstream. Then the work is separating tracks, removing any *needle drops* and saving in the preferred format.

    1. I can’t imagine how needle drops would be anything but safe. Maybe I am just being dense.

      What I love about them is how perfect they are captured and how the “sound” of vinyl is preserved even when we record it digitally. Which leads me to believe that if we can capture something digitally and not add a digital “sound” to it that what we are capturing is truly less complex than the system capturing it.

  3. I can understand if the original master recording was copied in analog and then played back on an analog playback system sounding better than if the original analog master recording was copied to DSD or CD not sounding as good playing it back on a digital playback system that has to deal will analog to digital conversion. But why a DSD burned to vinyl would sound better is puzzling to me. Could it be the DSD recording which was originally captured from an analog microphone feels better at home played back on analog vinyl? Could the turntable cartridge actually fill in the continuity that was missing on the digital recording making it more listenable?

  4. I make a lot of needle drops, primarily because sometimes I want to listen to a record in my collection but can’t sit down and attend to a record playing. I also make playlists of favorite recordings that I can play when in the mood. Playback of a vinyl record (and a needle drop) has many more degrees of freedom than most digital formats. I currently have 7 turntables (belt, direct drive and idler) in service in 3 different systems, with different arms, cartridges, phono preamps (yes, one is the Stellar phono), and each has their own sound. I very much enjoy the distinctive sound of all of them, and the variety. Like Paul, I find my needle drops to be very close in sound to the record from which they were made (I use a Lynx HiLo converter) and I almost invariably enjoy them more than any digital format.

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