IMPORTANT INFORMATION!
The creator and maintainer of this web site Tony Sanderson died in June 2006. This web site is being maintained in his memory by others.
As a result information on this web site IS NOT CURRENT OR ACCURATE and should not be relied upon at all.
Bluehaze LP to CD Transfer
CONTENTS

Introduction
Pricing
Calculator
De-clicking ... To be, or not to be?
Tape transfers
Disc Labels
Bluehaze equipment details
Sample comparisons
Copyright Notice

Delays (as of November 2005)
Due to other urgent demands being made on my time at the moment, the normal 1-2 week turnaround on vinyl transfers is currently more like 6-7 weeks - especially if you need more than one disc done. So just be aware that things are currently a lot slower than usual.

Introduction

Are you missing out on the wonderful world of classic vinyl because you've pensioned off your delicate vinyl-record-playing equipment? Or maybe you've grown up in the CD world and never had to bother with this kind of delicate replay equipment.

One thing is certain - you'd be very much in the minority if you're still maintaining a good quality analogue turntable. But you may nevertheless have a good collection of LPs and (gasp) 45s stored away. Perhaps you've picked up some classic vinyl, or you may just be noticing those collections of interesting stuff that are being advertised all the time.

Whatever the scenario, most people would now prefer to listen to such vinyl via the rugged convenience and predictable high quality of CDs.

There's a simple answer to this dilemma. Bluehaze Solutions offers an economical, high quality vinyl to CD-R copying (transfer) service using a Technics SL-D2 direct drive transcription turntable fitted with an Ortofon MC15 Super MkII moving-coil pickup cartridge. This system directly handles all "microgroove" formats (16 2/3, 33 1/3 and 45 RPM discs).

The CDs are normally produced to Phillips "Redbook" standard, and are thus usable with any normal domestic (or car) audio CD player. Separate tracks on your vinyl are transferred as separate CD tracks, including any "track through" transitions, so you'll be able to access any track instantly and accurately. Finally, all track starts are accurately set (to avoid dead-time lead-in), thus making it straightforward to cue precisely for on-air or recording work.


Pricing

The minimum charge is $15.00. The exact price for a given LP is not fixed - it depends on:

(a) the total running time of the LPs (or 45s) and

(b) whether any options have been requested (see Tables 1a and 1b below).

The average 35 minute LP in good condition costs $31.25 (see Table 1 below), but discs vary considerably, and we prefer to get back to you with an exact quote once your discs have been checked and timed.

Table 1 below describes the various options and costs. There is also a calculator further below - mainly useful for people who want several LPs copied.

Table 1a - Options and charges for an average 35 minute LP

Category Description Rate Typical/actual cost
LP to CD - Express transfer
Express transfer (no noise reduction or declick) Lowest cost and quickest turnaround option, and normally the only transfer method available for larger batches of LPs (10 or more) . No de-hiss or click removal applied. CD upper surface printed with disc title, matrix number, total running time and number of tracks.

Normally supplied in polythene jacket (but see "Packaging Options" below)

$0.75/min + $5 per CD copy $31.25 for a 35 minute LP. Actual price depends on the exact running time and may be slightly higher or lower ($15 minimum).
Packaging options
1. Polythene sleeves The default unless you specify one or more of options 2-6 below. No charge $0 (default)
2. Slimline case Slimline jewel-box case (nice and compact, but can't include option 5, edge-titles) Add $2 +$2 each
3. Standard case Standard CD jewel-box case - click for example (also includes option 5). Add $3 +$3 each
4. Dual-CD case Dual-CD jewel-box case - click for example. Add $4 +$4 each
5. Edge titles Printed edge-liner with disc title (or download this Word doc file and print your own) Add $4 +$4 each
6. Copy artwork Colour reduction of F/R (front and rear) of LP artwork Add $5 +$5 per colour F/R reduction copy

Note: If you don't specify any packaging options (from 1-6 above), option 1 (poly sleeve) is assumed. This is usually fine, because you can buy empty CD cases just about anywhere and save money by boxing the CD(s) yourself if you wish. In fact, here's an edge-liner-template file you can download (by clicking here) if you need it.

If you'd prefer your CD(s) packaged by Bluehaze (options 2-6), here's a typical example (standard case, edge-titled, but with no LP artwork reduction requested).

As you can see from the above table, supplying a CD in a standard jewel-case, edge titled, and with colour cover reduction inserts costs an extra $12.

Table 1b - Additional processing options (note the batch size limits)

Category Description Rate Typical/actual cost
Type 1 (semi-automated) Click and Noise Reduction
Type 1 click and noise reduction

For light crackles and/or hiss

Only recommended for small batches of discs (1-9) or the turnaround time can be become gross.
Type 1 noise and click reduction is a two stage semi-automated process that gives you the maximum benefit for the minimum extra cost. It reduces hiss and "rumble" in the quieter sections, most notably the start and end of each track, by 15-20 db (a factor of 10) using a process of digital sampling and auto-correlation noise cancellation. It also includes the removal of all light clicks via a second, separate process.
You can request Type 1 processing, or Bluehaze may offer it as an option after checking your disc(s) and estimating the amount of time involved.
$10.00 per extra hour.

Typically one hour of extra work (+ $10) if just cleaning up fade-in and fade-out areas around track starts and endings. If you'd also like it applied to material with a wide dynamic range that contains long quiet sections, this may extend to two hours of extra work (+ $20).

Type 2 (manual) click reduction
Type 2 click and Noise Reduction

For loud clicks

Only recommended for very small batches of discs (1-3) or the turnaround time can be become even more gross.
The Type 1 semi-automated click and hiss removal processing above is only moderately effective on noisy discs which have loud, heavy clicks as produced by deep lateral scratches or other damage, or which have bad surface noise. Only manual processing on each individual click can cleanly reduce or remove that type of damage without causing audible distortion elsewhere, and that can become time consuming.
$10.00 per extra hour. +$??? Meaning ... who knows? A quote can only be given after checking the disc(s).
As a guide, it takes about 1 hour to fully clean up 20 or 30 bad clicks as caused by deep lateral scratches.
Compilations
Custom compilations You supply a list of which tracks are to be included from a group of LP(s) and/or singles, including (if you wish) which tracks should be grouped onto which CD. Add $0.50/track +$(0.5_x_Tracks)
Extra copies
Additional copies Additional copies of CDs $5 each -> +$5 per CD in vinyl sleeves. Also see
"Packaging options" in Table 1a above.

Examples:

(a) Transfer 35 minute LP to CD at base rate = $26.25 + $5 = $31.25 (poly sleeve only)

(b) Transfer a single 40 minute LP to CD. Two hours of Type 1 noise and click reduction, plus one hour of Type 2 (heavy) click reduction was needed to clean up the disc generally and also to remove about 35 loud clicks from a deep scratch in tracks 3 and 4 of the disc. A copy of the LP cover artwork and an edge-titled CD box was also ordered.
Total = $30 + $5 (basic) + $30 (T-1 and T-2 cleanup) + $3 + $4 + $5 (case + inserts) = $77

Outside Australia, you can convert the calculated price to your own currency using the Personal Currency Assistant. This comes up in a separate window - it may take a few seconds to 'activate'.


Calculator (*)

The Javascript Quick calculator below will provide you with an approximate idea of the cost for any number of discs. The initial assumption made is that of one LP per CD, and (for trying to guess the number of CDs) an "average" running time of 40 minutes per LP (but you can over-type that box). The hours of Type 1 or 2 processing box has been included to give you a rough idea of what de-clicking can do to the final cost if the disc needs it and if you decide that you want to have this done (see De-clicking below).

Feel free to play around with this calculator - it only runs on your own computer. Nothing is sent to Bluehaze.


Quick calculator
No. of minutes to be copied
No. of CDs required - See Note 1
No. of hours of Type 1 or 2 processing - See Note 2
No. of jacket reduction copies
Case type
Case edge title insert
$
$ per CD
Note 1: The calculator will take a stab at the Number of CDs required using the "Total number of minutes" if you haven't filled the box in. Just type it in yourself if you already have some idea as to how many CDs you'll need (and the calculator will desist from trying to read your mind).

Note 2: Leave hours of Type 1 or 2 processing in the calculator at the left set to zero unless you think you'll actually want some extra de-clicking applied. Some clean-up processing is now included with the basic transfer anyway. If the disc justifies extra processing, we'll give you a quote that includes that as an option anyway.

(*) As already mentioned, Bluehaze will contact you with an exact quote once the discs have been checked and timed. So just ignore all the numeric complexity of this page if you wish. It's mainly provided for those who have a good idea of the running time and condition of their discs.


De-clicking ... To be, or not to be?

Many people either haven't listened to their vinyl for many years, or else they've just purchased it and have not yet been able to listen to it. Either way, it can be difficult to know in advance whether any degree of noise and click reduction is worthwhile.

If your discs are in good to excellent condition, it's likely that you won't need any de-hiss or de-clicking. In the context of the calculator above, this means zero hours for the third row.

Around half the discs we process do end up getting an hour or so of Type 1 processing or some Type 2 processing. Discs in this category have typically been reasonably well looked after over the years but (eg) may not have always been cleaned before playing. And some have had the odd minor accident with the pickup being dropped and/or lightly scraped across a track. In other words - you'll probably still have trouble seeing the scratches by eye, but a few crackles are clearly audible here and there. So even an extra hour of time invested with Type 1 processing to kill off most of the light clicks can make an obvious improvement with such "average to good" LPs.

Discs that have been played with by your kids or left lying around out of their covers can start looking a lot more expensive if you want clicks removed. These are typically the ones that look dirty, where you can quite clearly see scratch marks in various spots, and where we may even have trouble playing some tracks due to skips and backtracks. Discs in that category are likely to get very expensive to restore, and in most cases they'd be quite uneconomical. They can still be copied over to CD "scratches and all", of course - that's entirely up to you.

So in summary: we prefer to process your discs straight through on the minimal rate - it's quicker and cheaper, and for larger batches it's the most practical method at present.

But where there are annoying clicks on any disc(s), we'll let you know by providing you with separate quotes for fixing those things up as an option for you to consider. It's then entirely up to you whether we do such extra work or not.

Reducing distortion

The result from vinyl which has been damaged by being played with a worn or insufficiently compliant stylus can also be improved to some extent in many cases, and Bluehaze can also quote on this if you require it. The method used is to identify the resonant frequency(s) of such damage to the vinyl via fourier analysis of the digitised waveform and to then reduce their amplitude in the most audibly distorted sections using very sharp, custom comb filters. (Incidentally, if you're doing your own vinyl, I can recommend Cooledit Pro 2.0 for this sort of thing!)


Tape transfers

Audio

Audio tapes can also be transferred to CD or DVD at the rate of $0.50/minute. Tape to tape transfers are $0.30/minute. Tape formats supported are 1/4 track or full track track reel-to-reel (1 7/8 IPS - 15 IPS), or compact audio cassettes. The audio from VHS standard and FM ("HiFi") or Sony 8mm (any format) video tapes can also be transferred to CD if you require it. Allow $5.00 per CD supplied, and return shipping charges (typically around $12.00 within Oz for registered post). The discs are supplied in vinyl sleeves - see "Packaging options" in Table 1a above for case and liner alternatives if required.

Video

Video tapes can also be copied in full (ie: video + audio) as follows:

Video tape to video tape: $0.30/minute (eg: $36 per 2 hours, $54 per 3 hours) plus $5.00 per required tape.

Video tape to DVD (or VCD): $0.50/minute (eg: $60 per 2 hours) plus $5.00 per required DVD. The discs are supplied in vinyl sleeves - see "Packaging options" in Table 1a above for case and liner alternatives if required.

If posting material to Bluehaze, also allow for return shipping charges (typically around $12.00 within Oz for registered post), although we'll include this in the quote where appropriate after receiving your tape(s) anyway.

For DVDs, hidden chapter points (not visible on the entry menu) are normally set at 3 or 5 minute intervals to assist you in quickly getting to any desired part of the disc. We also provide up to 2 menu items for no extra charge. Menu items typically correspond to different tapes which you have supplied, but you can also specify a particular point in a tape as the 2nd menu item if you wish.

Transferring tape to DVD costs more than to tape. Is it worth it?

First of all, why does it cost more? Because for quality, flexibility and long-term scalability, video material is encoded via a computer with a highly configurable set of software packages. This allows frame cropping, noise reduction, de-interlacing, and a number of other things but being software driven as such does mean that the processing time is extended, with transfers typically occupying the system for around 9 or 10 hours per 2 hour DVD. So it's mainly a time thing.

On the subject of quality, note that copying analogue video tape to DVD will not improve the replay quality to the point where your video magically looks as sharp and clear as a commercial film DVD! The recording standard used on normal analogue VHS and 8mm camera tapes was always very much a compromise. The resolution is typically only around 200 lines, the colour content is "squashed" down, and the image usually has visible "jitter". The latter problem can often be corrected to some extent, but the smear and colour bleed will be as bad as ever.

The main advantages of DVD technology over tape are mechanical, ie: reduced storage space in your cupboard, no more risk of tape tangling, and faster access to different parts of your film.

Being able to make further copies of your DVDs in future without loss of quality is another major advantage, of course.

It is not necessarily true that DVDs will last longer than tapes, as some people love to suggest. However, the availability of low-cost playing equipment for any such media is likely to be a major determining factor in the future, and reasonably priced players that can handle current DVDs are obviously far more likely to be around in 25 years then than any form of tape player.

So to answer the question posed in the above heading - yes, even though copying to DVD costs more than copying to tape, it is a much better bet for future-proofing your personal videos.

That's enough on video - this is supposed to be a vinyl-copying page. But people keep asking me to copy video as well, so I thought I'd better include some pricing.


Photos or Slides to a movie DVD

Make a DVD movie out of your favourite photographs or slides

Send your favourite prints, negatives or slides and Bluehaze will scan them in and make you a great movie DVD that you can sit back and watch on any TV or video projector. Add some nice music if you like (for no extra charge) - in fact, doing that is highly recommended. Cost is $1.80 per print or slide, plus $6 per DVD copy.

You specify the "on" time for each shot (default is 8 seconds, with a one second cross-dissolve between each, but it can be anything you like). So 100 of your favourite shots becomes 13 minutes of great TV viewing. A great surprise item for that 21st party or special anniversary.


Disc Labels

To guarantee the maximum life for your CDs and DVDs, stick-on labels are not used. The long-term archiving stability of such self-adhesive "add-ons" is still very much of an unknown quantity. The actual CD discs themselves are normally printed with their title, ID, number of tracks, and running time (click here for typical example). Or if you prefer, the original LP or 45 label (either side) can be used instead to provide some additional degree of novelty.


Bluehaze (Vinyl LP) equipment details

As described earlier, the front end of the system used here at Bluehaze consists of a Technics SL-D2 direct-drive transcription turntable fitted with an Ortofon (*) MC15 Super MkII moving coil cartridge with a 0.2 x 1.6 mil (minor/major) radius elliptical stylus (5 x 40 uM if you prefer metric). This then feeds into a 2 x 7-stage discrete transistor pre-amp (a J Linsley Hood design) via a shielded Ortofon impedance matching (step-up) transformer, and from there into the "Line in" terminals of the PC's sound card - an SB Live (Creative Labs). Click here if you'd like more technical detail.

(*) Actually, the Ortofon web site disappeared from time to time during 2001 and 2002, so if you can't reach the real Ortofon site, try clicking here for a local copy I've made (and last updated in Nov 2004).

If the technical side leaves you feeling a bit cold, you could always just check out some of our user feedback.


Sample comparisons (*)

The following "before and after" example may give you some idea what can currently be achieved by throwing everything at a problematic disc (as in de-clicking, de-noising and general repair). The LP was quite old (Capitol, monaural, circa 1963), and most tracks were badly scratched and worn. And just to make things really difficult, the disc also showed evidence of having been played with a heavy low-compliance cartridge with a badly worn stylus.

Stage 1 - original vinyl.
Stage 2 - de-clicked and de-noised. The most distorted parts have also been cleaned up (#) where possible using digital comb or notch filters (or both).

# Note that this latter treatment (as in cleaning up distortion) is now non-standard. If you do need it, a separate quote will be given after I've checked the submitted material and determined the feasibility (as in how much improvement is realistically possible, and how much time will be involved).

This one is somewhat more normal - a (stereo) track off one of my own vinyl discs around here as purchased sometime back in late 1970s. This one's in reasonable condition, only ever having been played on my own equipment (and infrequently at that). I picked this track (from "Sound of Music") because it has reasonable dynamic range. Minimal de-clicking has been applied, and you can still hear faint clicks if you listen on decent professional headphones such as Sennheisers or AKGs.

* If you only have plastic PC speakers, trying to compare these samples is a bit of a waste of time. Go and get yourself some good quality headphones first. Something like the Sennheiser HD 580 (at around $230) are superb if you really enjoy your music and can afford it. And the far less expensive HD 457s (at about $60) are still significantly more accurate than the best Hi-Fi speakers available. Or check out AKG's K141 Studio headphones - also around $230 in Australia. If you haven't listened to your music on really good quality headphones before, you're in for a surprise.

Another good approach is to grab an old Hi-Fi amplifier with compact bookshelf speakers and connect that up to your PC. However, one obviously needs the desk space or a handy shelf nearby for such luxury!


And the obligatory Copyright reminder ...

Various copyright laws exist to protect the intellectual property of composers, record manufacturers, and performing artists. Copying such material without the permission of these copyright owners constitutes a breach of copyright.

That having been said, there is the law, and then there is the interpretation of the law - or to be more accurate - the reality of the law.

For many years, individuals have made copies of their own recordings for a variety of purposes - the most common being to put selected tracks (or entire records) onto audio cassettes or CDs for playing in the car. This has always seemed instinctively reasonable - after all, the discs have already been purchased, and users just want to be able to listen to them while they're on the road.

The recording companies and copyright owners lose negligible income from this sort of thing, and with millions of people doing it on a "one off" basis for their own convenience, the companies have never bothered taking legal action.

Copying vinyl to CD is in most cases obviously similar. People having already purchased discs (in this case, vinyl) often want to listen to it via a different medium - whether tape, CD, minidisc or whatever. And as with the aforementioned case of copying your own discs to tape for car listening, record companies and music copyright owners regard this, in reality, as "fair usage" of their product.

When the copying involves something other than your own recordings, this technically becomes a breach of copyright. Clearly, though, it's not practical for Bluehaze to verify the ownership of recordings. So to avoid breach of copyright, it is your responsibility to ensure that all material submitted for copying onto CD belongs to you.

So there.


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Last update: Sun 13-Nov-2005