Need a quality, but reasonably-priced, Analogue to Digital converter

I have a 4-track tape and I need to convert the analogue stuff to digital. The problem with the cheap USB capture devices is that they also capture digital noise or noise from the soundcard – I can deal with tape hiss, but as the analogue recording volume was pretty low any added noise will be audible. I’d be grateful for any advice on reasonably-priced converters that do the job without any deterioration in audio quality.
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  1. claychilde said:
    I have a 4-track tape and I need to convert the analogue stuff to digital. The problem with the cheap USB capture devices is that they also capture digital noise or noise from the soundcard – I can deal with tape hiss, but as the analogue recording volume was pretty low any added noise will be audible. I’d be grateful for any advice on reasonably-priced converters that do the job without any deterioration in audio quality.


    Your soundcard should not be noisy. That said you have 2 inputs and using the line will be better than microphone. Also making sure you have a 1K ohm to 10K ohm source feed (from the 4 track) to the line input will help ensure the best signal to noice and avoid 'card noise' .

    For 4 tracks you may have sync problems and I can't say how to fix that
    if it requires 2 'takes' to get 4 channels. You'll have to take a chance and
    just do it.. later you can sync them.


    The simplest way is to buy a standalone recoder, if there's a line output use a patch cord to the input of the recorder and press record. You said
    4 channel but if you have to record 2 sessions into a stereo unit at least
    they're recoverable because they'll be easy to resync later.

    ZOOM H2 is for live recording but has a line input and similar units sell for
    $100 or less used.. and their price seems to keep going up even for used.
    I bought mine last year for $80 and the cheapest for the same now is $110 used on Ebay. They record 4 channel from microphones on the unit but I don't know the details about their line in abilities.


    I don't know if you have 2 tracks of stereo or a real 4 trak tape which you
    need to preserve. If it's stereo then you could get a good quality dub by
    recording on to the HIFI stereo track of a VCR tape.

    This page gives you some background why that thought came to me.
    http://richardhess.com/notes/formats/magnetic-media/magnetic-tapes/digital-audio-vcr/

    As I recall many VCR's added a digital audio track in additon to the old, normal, audio recording to be available with video. That signal to noice was over 80 dB and was digital. Every listen I did sounded very good

    In 2000 I bought tapes and a VCR to back up audio that I had. It's
    still a useful and viable choice.

    Tape with HIFI audio worked the same no matter the tape speed.

    e.g
    You have a $10 vcr and some clean non-damaged tapes. A bulk eraser is required.

    A tape cleaner to physically clean the surface of tapes that may be dusty is all I invested in for $20. VCR may sound 'old' but it still packs the punch for the audio ability.

    Wtih regard to sync:

    Because their speed control is, I think, crystal controlled you
    could get excellent sync even if you put 2 trks on to 2 separate tapes.

    Later sync'ing them onto digital when you have the ability might be just a matte setting the time offset.

    As far as I know there was no digital output of VCR HIFI recordings until you
    bought the higher end PCM type records (which did not do video)
    The page explains a lot.


    It's worth knowing aobut no matter what you choose if audio is your way of
    life.
    Be well.

    They're

    Off the subject.. if it's old magnetic tape you know you get 1 chance to
    copy it if you 'bake it' first. That's according to a friend who's owned a recording studio for 30 years.
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