Channel D Pure Vinyl 4.0 and Music Review. Pure Vinyl is the ultimate recording and editing platform for lovers of vinyl with discerning ears and Mac OS X. With superb sound quality, real time capturing capabilities, and a responsive repair toolbox the Pure Vinyl Engine is, debatably, the finest software of its kind.
It was only last year that we reviewed the Channel D’s latest release ‘Pure Vinyl 3.0’. Subsequently it was awarded with a very respectable four and a half stars. Now, just over a year on, Channel D have released their latest iteration ‘Pure Vinyl 4.0’ and we are back to check out the latest feature additions.
Unfortunately, Pure Vinyl is still a Mac OSX only program which requires a minimum of 2gb of RAM, a G4 Mac, G5 Mac, or an Intel based Mac. For optimum performance Channel D recommend that you use Pure Vinyl with 8gb of RAM and a multi core processor. Please note that the digital audio rendering engine is extremely demanding on the RAM and CPU so, to experience the program without significant latency, it is advisable to operate it on a more up-
With a simple download from the Channel D website all that is required after the download is to drag and drop the Pure Vinyl app into your applications folder, then run the installer. The interface as been striped and simplified since the last version, with options and redundancies removed for a clearer and cleaner interface. Along the top of the window is a horizontal RMS and Peak audio level meter. Below this is the main window where the functionality of the vinyl recording is located. An image of a vinyl lays across the main section of the screen, with instructions to click where the turntable spindle would be to begin recording.
The next step after the first boot of the program is to configure your I/O settings with your hardware. Under preferences in the main window you will find the I/O set up controls. If you are not using a phone stage with Pure Vinyl, you will need to engage the Channel D provided RIAA Curve. This option is found under Vinyl Correction in the preferences pain. As well as the excellently crafted Channel D Correction curve, Channel D includes an extensive list of alternate Vinyl correction curves from as far back 1939. These contain specialist VC Curves from various vinyl pressings and companies.
Channel D’s Pure Vinyl is made up of, a high quality Vinyl recording and editing functionality, an iTunes play back engine as well as a sample rate converter. With the iTunes play back functionality, Channel D has created code that makes your iTunes library work seamlessly with Pure Vinyl. With a single click of a button the audio meter section of the pure vinyl window snaps around the iTunes application window and immediately replaces the redundant iTunes audio engine with its own.
After configuring your I/O settings it is important to set your gain stages correctly, both on your hardware and in the Pure Vinyl software too. Pure Vinyls monitor section is very useful and gives you and accurate visualisation of your incoming signals. Looking to the right hand side of the Pure Vinyl window is your monitor section that will allow you adjust the output gain as well as Mute and Dim the audio. When your are ready to record you click the red on screen turntable spindle. This will then open a window where you can name and select the output folder for the recorded audio. In this option window you can also choose bit depth (16 & 24), as well as the format for the recorded audio, with uncompressed and lossy formats available. Now you either click hit record and away you go, or Channel D have a neat addition of a auto record feature that starts when you drop the tonearm on to your vinyl. This has a delay calibration that does take some fiddling and a fair amour of trial and error to set correctly, but is still a feature that just adds to why is plain to see the thought and detail that went into Pure Vinyl by its designers.
Once your side is recorded click the read spindle and then lift your tone arm on your turntable. Now a short render time will begin, this time will reflect the speed of your Macintosh! If you have to wait, its worth it as you are presented with a graphic representation of your vinyl which is both visually stunning as it is technically brilliant.
To edit the record vinyl Channel D have a tool similar to a vinyl cutter head that you can move across the vinyl graphic to ‘cut’ the vinyl into separate tracks. With the update to Pure Vinyl 3 to 4, Channel D has introduced a Snap function that looks for silence between tracks to position cue points for your vinyls audio content. Additionally the ‘Tidy Tails’ tool trims silence at the end of tracks. These tools work well, however I personally would prefer to make my own edits, but the feature warrants the merit it deserves.
Straight in, the Channel D Pure Vinyl sound is outstanding, like in the previous review the audio quality really superseded expectations from this product. Pure Vinyl allows you to record, if your hardware will allow it, up to a 196kHz sample rate. When recording at this quality the true power of Pure Vinyl really shines. Vinyl recorded at the highest fidelity and then played back in conjunction with Pure Vinyl’s outstanding audio engine, the sonic performance leaves little wanting.
When playing back vinyl in real time, as well as your uncompressed recordings, the detail is incredible. Pure Vinyl displays depth and body with specific sonic nuances that opens up the music I tested in a way I hadn’t heard before. The dynamics are portrayed accurately with the same range and accuracy that I experienced from a full analogue system. Also the sound is natural in a way that seems impossible because of the digital aspect of the signal chain. However there can be a slight lack of warmth in some tracks. This is most notable in sections of music when vocals are at the forefront of a track, they seem more sterile and occasionally this can be noticeable, but this doesn't distract from the otherwise sonic brilliance of this software.
With out focusing on details of the audio and just on a overall listening experience, the play back from Pure Vinyl can be summed up in one word, enjoyable. This is the defining factor of this program and this is what music is here for, enjoyment. Pure Vinyl facilitates the transfer and play back of a beloved and painstakingly collected vinyl collection with its sentimental value or its audiophile credentials. Either way Channel D Pure Vinyl will allow you to enjoy your music with an audio experience that is a pleasure to have.
Vinyl recording and play back isn't the only sonic feature that Pure Vinyl excels at. Channel D have included a digital audio engine for play back of your iTunes library as well. This addition seems simple but the thought and skill behind it won’t be apparent to the masses. The play back superseded expectations again as is did last time. Standard tracks sound fuller and the low and low mids take on a whole new characterises and become clearer and defined in the output.
Pure Music is another program developed by Channel D that focuses specifically on the iTunes Playback section of Pure Vinyl. Pure Music maintains the accuracy and fidelity found in Pure Vinyl while condensing down into a more simple and streamline application.
Pure Music is a stand alone application that when launched creates a top bar window that floats above your iTunes window and overrides the stock iTunes audio engine. Similar to Pure Vinyl, Pure Music’s window shows a accurate audio level meter and will allow you to experience a much superior audio experience from your iTunes library.
The window itself can either be locked or separated from the iTunes window, with the corresponding function buttons situated on the lower left and side of the application window. Having the application locked to the iTunes window allows for easy manipulation of your screen real estate, without having to constantly re aline the two applications windows together.
Pure Music’s audio credentials echo that of Pure Vinyl’s, with the sonic performance greatly enhancing your iTunes libraries content. Pure Vinyl’s application creates a simple and intuitive user interface that integrates superbly with iTunes, and will leave you always going to this as your media player of choice.
Vinyl is a very personal music medium for myself and Edd here at the Pro Audio Web Blog, and it means we are always adapting and tweaking our personal vinyl setups. The Channel D Pure Vinyl software adapts itself easily into many situations for both recording and listening purposes, and is a audio tool and a piece of software engineering genius at the same time. Its sonically outstanding and the program has been difficult to fault. How-