August 08, 2005

Curious, George: Digitizing my vinyl music I'm looking for tips, suggestions, and software for converting some of my music on vinyl to digital format.

I've been poking around the net for information, but was curious if any monkeys have done this themselves and can share wisdom and/or warnings. I'm comfy with either Linux or Windows, have the turntable, amp, and cables, and will *gasp* be first attempting this with my Intel motherboard's built-in sound. If this proves too noisy I may do another post asking for affordable quiet sound cards!

  • This perhaps? :P Honestly, I have had some great success just running the stereo out to the computer, realtime recording and cleaning up the sound with old school Cool Edit (or Audacity for the open source, not-gonna-spend-$200 crowd). I put a bunch of my grandma's old vinyl on cds for her and it took a few days of letting my machine record while I was watching TV but I managed to get some really good MP3s that I thought sounded better than the records. I'm not a audiophile by any means, so that's probably the slow, sloppy way...
  • I have done alot of this with Cool Edit. It is fun, and you can get excellent results, but it is very time consuming to clean up the pops/clicks/noise of vinyl. I got Cool Edit before Adobe bought the company and renamed it "Audition", but if they didn't make too many changes, you'll find it has awesome (and intimidatingly complex) noise reduction filters. Audacity, as far as I know, does not have pop/click filtering, and it's noise reduction isn't as fully featured as Cool Edit's. Be sure you use the Tape Out or Line Out of the phono amplifier to go to the sound card's Line In. Do not try to plug the turntable directly into the sound card because the levels and the EQ will be wrong. Any cheap old Radio Shack cables will work. Don't be fooled into wasting $ on gold plated connectors.
  • Depends what you want to do with the music. If it's to archive rare and valuable vinyl, then I guess using the best soundcard, cables and turntable you can get, recording at a high bitrate in Audacity or similar, then using a lossless encoding format. On the other hand, if you just want to get your vinyl onto your mp3 player, you could use Emule or Limewire P2P clients to download it. Save a lot of time and effort. That would be illegal though, so I don't endorse it.
  • If you have lots to convert, I suggest not worrying about "cleaning up" the recordings for now. Just get them moved over, played on the best quality phonograph you can get. If you really need to clean them up, I'd suggest trying to ebay some CD versions of the same... save yourself a lot of headache :) If you really want to tackle the clean up, there are lots of tools available. Another suggestion would be to skip the computer altogether and go directly from phonograph (thru preamp) to a CD recorder. Oh yeah... don't forget to clean the record and needle before you hit record :) Or you can google a how-to. Let us know how it comes out!
  • Thank you everyone for your suggestions so far! FYI, I'm primarily doing this so I'll have the music available on my computer since the stereo is in another room. Also, they'll be available for making MP3 mixes for CDs. I'm not terribly concerned about hiss/pop, as this doesn't really bother me on the vinyl. Then again, I've heard that for some strange reason the noise is more bothersome after it's digitized, so I guess we'll see. None of this music is terribly rare, but there is a lot of stuff I don't feel like paying for again.
  • Your search - "I've been poking around the net for information, but was curious if any monkeys have done this themselves" - did not match any documents.