I searched and was not able to find anything on this subject so I figured it might be good to share experiences. I recently had a breakthrough in LP capture using some of my own gear an that of my friend Nick's. Nick and I do hirez classical recordings in Atlanta and we are always experimenting with new audio gear.
Here's my current needledrop rig:
We are using a VPI Scoutmaster as the table. Signal path is Lyra Argo(i) into JMW 9 tonearm into Zu Mission phono cables to Modwright SWP9.0SE phono stage to Stereolab Reference interconnects to Benchmark ADC1 to Transparent Audio's flagship 75 ohm cable to Sound Devices 722 which is running on battery. All else was plugged into a Shunyata Hydra 2 box with Black Mamba and Venom3 power cables. We had done a drop into the Sound Devices with lesser cables and a very new Lyra (well before needed break-in where the highs settled down and the bass came up) but the results were not satisfying so this is our second go at it. We do minor level and spacing edits in SoundForge once we load the files off the CF card in the Sound Devices. We use my Grado RS-1i cans for monitoring since we are worried about the speaker playback impacting the tonearm.
We did there needledrops with the new Graceland reissue LP which is superb, a German Island Traffic Mr. Fantasy, and Count Basie's Chairman of the Board on Classic Records, all at 33 rpm.
I must say the results are pretty darn good. Today I am sending some samples to a top mastering engineer to get his opinion and see if he has any suggestions. The bass is nice and full but not overly so and the soundstaging is almost as good as original playback. Lots of detail preserved by the Lyra and Modwright I think and both of these units seem quite close to neutrality in my opinion. I would say there is a very slight bit of "presence" lacking compared to LP playback but that is expected given the extra path.
Areas to improve...as good as that Zu Mission cable is, I think we can do better there. And I will probably trade in the cart for hopefully, if I can afford it, a Lyra Kleos in a year or so which will be more balanced based on my listening.
Nevertheless I think I have found a needledrop rig worthy of creating some high quality hirez digital. I'm playing back the files now on a Mac Mini running Decible with a AQ Diamond USB cable into a Benchmark DAC1 Pre. Sounds amazing!
Also I am doing a three step cleaning process of every LP, new or not, on my VPI 16.5:
MFSL Enzyme>>MFSL Record Wash>>Final Rinse of Aquafina (using MFSL record brushes for each solution and following with Hunt EDA brush before playing, MFSL stylus cleaner for each side)
What needledrop rigs and processes are other members here using?
What best practices have you found?