Digital has a role, here.
We believe that Analog vs. Digital is a false dichotomy. With the right analog-to-digital conversion chip, a properly designed input buffer and responsibly engineered PCB layout, one can capture the purity, essence, image and dimension of analog–free from artifacts when played back through equally competant digital-to-analog converters.
We believe digital plays a critically important role in the preservation of analog media and that there are mixes, masters and pressings hiding on shelves that deserve to be heard.
DropStation was specifically designed to take the pain out of capturing vinyl. Automate track splitting, file generation, and meta generation; fully integrated with Discogs and Burntable. Leave your PC in your office where it belongs. Our mastering-grade, self-contained analog capture workstation will change the way you capture vinyl all while helping you share the best of what's on your shelves.
Batch #3 Pre-sale
Batch #3 is a limited number of units currently available for pre-sale with expected delivery in early December 2022. Due to an ongoing chip shortage we don't expect stocking DropStation until mid-2023. Our limited batches are currently the only way to purchase a DropStation before then.
Record at any time. DropStation lives permanently between your phono stage (preamp) and your power amp. When not in use you can switch the device out with a single click using our gold-plated relay.
Import track data from our Discogs Community-powered track database of over 160 million tracks, easily set track start points and assign meta info in a minute or less. What was once tedious is now enjoyable.
Completely optional Burntable integration allows you to sync any needle drop to the cloud in your own personal streaming service (of your own vinyl) or even contribute it to Burntable.fm for others to hear.
Dropstation is a self-contained capturing workstation capable of high resolution analog to digital conversion rivaling performance of interfaces found in the best mastering studios in the world.
Automatically integrated with Burntable so you can take your vinyl (or other analog media) on the go. As long as your files are shared with Burntable radio, it's completely free to store and stream.
Dropstation offers a handful of workflows for both capture and playback including an internal network attached 240G SSD in addition to bi-directional DLNA; compatible with Volumio and Roon.
Analog Conversion Specifications
DropStation isn't just about convenience. Our goal was to create a device that belonged just as well in your living room as it did in any of the world's top mastering studios.
THD+N -113dB @1kHz, -1dBFS, 20kHz filter
Dynamic Range 120 dB, A-weighted, -60dBFS signal method
Frequency Response ± 0.01 dB, 20 – 20kHz
Crosstalk -138 dB maximum @ 1kHz, -1dBFS signal
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the crowdfunding campaign?
Update: The DropStation Kickstarter was completed in March and successfully funded in less than 48 hours. We are now producing DropStation in pre-order batches.
How do I connect DropStation?
DropStation lives between your phono stage (preamp) and amplifier (power amp). When powered down or switched out the device is bypassed via an internal gold plated relay.
What is the cost?
DropStation is expected to be in pre-stock delivery (at your local dealer) by Q1/Q2 of 2023 at USD $595. Our next pre-order batch will be available for purchase in mid-August of 2022 for delivery in mid December 2022 as we're still recovering from a global chip shortage.
Is a Burntable subscription required?
No. The DropStation can store files both to its local drive which is automatically accessible on your network as Network Attached Storage as well as syncing to Burntable (optional). A free Burntable account will include access to our release finder allowing you to easily import and tag track data. Attaching your Discogs account also makes your "Haves" immediately accessible to assign to your captures. A paid Burntable account includes the ability to store your files for access anywhere (like your own personal Qubuz/Tidal/Apple Music). Some of you already have a preferred method of doing this–you'll still find that DropStation can help you in any area of your current workflow.
Do I have to make my records available to Burntable.fm / Burntable Radio?
Absolutely not. However, contributing your vinyl captures to Burntable radio makes them free to personally store and stream via the Burntable app. While others can enjoy your captures under our non-interactive streaming license (via SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) you are free to stream your captures interactively (because you own the physical media).
Do I need to connect DropStation to my phone?
DropStation is unique in that it's a self-contained analog capture workstation. The DropStation app (coming soon, and freely available in App Store and Google Play) is merely a remote to control and manage your files. Remotes have been used in studios for decades–just like a 24 Track remote sitting on your Neve console 40 years ago, the DropStation app too manages the analog capture transport on the device. Update: We will be releasing a Windows/Mac app in addition to the Android/iOS app.
My library/government/school needs to preserve 100s/1000s of LPs. Do you offer discounts?
Yes. In staying true to our mission, we are providing DropStation devices on loan when possible with a refundable deposit. Please let us know by contacting us. In addition, multiple DropStations can be run on the same network without conflict; even from a single controlling mobile device.
Does DropStation require a wi-fi network?
DropStation is now equipped with both an Ethernet port as well as wi-fi. Wi-fi can also be completely disabled. Note: Controlling your DropStation via your mobile device would require that device to be connected to the same network as DropStation. With that, the DropStation app will eventually be available as a Windows and MacOs app. The control UI for DropStation is also hosted on the device itself and can be controlled through any (reasonably) modern web browser.
Do I need to disconnect DropStation to play my records normally?
No. We wanted DropStation to sit comfortably between your phono stage and amplifier and to play nicely in your life; both mechanically and sonically. We've gone through great lengths to make sure that the device can be "switched out" utilizing an all gold plated true bypass. When DropStation is OFF or BYPASSED, a gold-plated relay will bypass the entire device adding about 2cm of gold and copper between your phono stage and amp. Please do not let this dissuade you from using high-end interconnects.
Which ADC/DAC/etc do you use?
The current iteration of DropStation utilizes the Cirrus Logic CS5381 ADC and Burr Brown PCM5102A DAC. This device is in our initial batch of 50. The September/October and later units will utilize the ES9822 PRO. Our (fully differential) input buffer is built around the Texas Instruments OPA1632 (and/or the LME49724 based on availability). The output buffer / headphone amplifier is built around the OPA1656 and BUF634A. Our ADC VQ/Vocm is independently (L/R) buffered by two separate TI LMP7731.
What sample rates are supported?
DropStation can capture and playback at 48khz, 96khz and 192khz and uses 100% standard file formats. The path to high accuracy analog to digital conversion is not more samples but higher "class" ADC chips. In addition, our device does not support the 44.1khz family of sample rates. While DropStation is exposed as a DLNA/uPNP renderer, any rates other than 48/96/192 will be transcoded in real-time. If you wish to use DropStation as your primary DAC, please keep this in mind. With that, because your files are available via NAS, DropStation will play very nicely with Roon and Volumio.
Can I really stream other peoples' vinyl?
The center tab of the DropStation app is Burntable. This will allow you to stream vinyl captured from other DropStations if those users have chosen to contribute their captured vinyl. Kickstarter supporters will receive Burntable streaming free for 1 year. After that, Burntable has plans starting at $2.99/mo. With our DAC, your power amp and speakers won't know the difference. Not only are you able to hear other peoples' pressings, you can hear their cartridges, turntables and phono stages. There are currently over 10,000 tracks in hi-res available on Burntable.
Can I capture Cassettes or Reel to Reel?
Yes! Burntable is an analog media preservation platform. While it was originally motivated by Vinyl, magnetic tape very quickly found its way into our ecosystem. We are currently working on improving our radio service to be more tape friendly.