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I understand that this is a fairly subjective question, so let me provide a little bit of background.

I am trying to set up a easy to use panel with a couple of buttons to make digitizing old vinyl albums easier. I have a small linux computer that is connected by USB to my turntable. The goal is that the buttons are used to start, stop, and save audio recordings, so that a full laptop/desktop does not need to be connected to the turntable at all times. Afterwords, the audio file will be imported into audacity (or a simmilar program), where it can be broken apart into tracks, noise can be removed, etc.

My question (after that longer than planned background), is what would be the best format for the recording system to store audio in, prior to importing into audio editing software. The main goal is to minimize loss of quality.

  • lossless compression format 48Khz 24 bits. – JSmith Jul 4 '17 at 17:18
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Well, if all we're looking for is "best format" then anything lossless, WAV, AIF, FLAC [though some apps can't process flac directly & would have to first convert to wav or aif.

After that, more frequency, more bits - so why stop at 48KHz 24 bit when you can go to 192KHz, 32 bit.

Though, tbh, at that kind of detail you'd really need some good gear to make it worth the extra effort. a $£€ 300 record deck with a 5-year-old stylus & anything other than perfect vinyl just isn't going to cut it.

Honestly, I've heard far far worse trans-codings from people at home thinking they're going to do a great job with a lappy & consumer turntable than most commercial mp3s straight off the iTunes Store - so unless you really have some good gear, including a great turntable, RIAA preamp & DACs, save your time & effort, & just buy the hi-res AACs or MP3s instead.

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When I studied signal processing in university my prof told us about exactly this: It doesn't matter at all because even 320kb/s mp3 has more data capacity than vinyl can even deliver. The reason being that the molecular structure of vinyl is rather rough-structured and therefore music that is played on vinyl is "analoge digital", the rough molecules make kind of an analoge digitization (imagine the needle makes very small jumps from molecule to molecule).

With that being said by one of the greatest communication engineers and my own ears as witnesses I can say:

It doesn't matter. Pic quality of 320kb/s mp3 or better and you'll be good.

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