How to convert your vinyl albums to MP3

Sometimes you want to get your old grooves into the new world, so here’s a simple method you can do at home…

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What you need:

1) A PC (we recommend Mac of course, but most PCs can do this too)

2) A turntable with pre-amp/receiver

3) Double ended ‘headphone jack’ cable

4) Plenty of hard disk space

5) Recording software ; Spin Doctor that comes with Toast delux is very good

First, hook up your stereo components correctly. Take a double ended headphone jack and plug one end into the ‘Phones’ jack of the receiver/pre-amp. Then plug the other end into the Mac’s ‘Sound In’ plug (mic). Go to your Sounds control panel and change the setting to ‘Sound In’ and check the box to have the sound play through.

Test if the record plays through yourcomputer’s speakers. Use a utility like Spin Doctor or Sound Jam Pro (go to Tools> Record From Sound Input). Play the record and make note of the status window. Look at the sound meters carefully, make sure that they never elevate into the red.

If the sound is too loud, it will overload the sound input and cause distortion and clipping. When you listen to a song or two and if it never enters the ‘red zone’, you are ready to record. Make sure you clean your records well.?Now hit the record/start recording button and play your record. Do one side as one file. When you’re done and you have two AIFF files of around 225-275 megs each.

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Open them up and cut them into individual tracks. If you want to keep things simple, you can use Quicktime Pro to cut and paste into individual tracks. You can adjust the volume if its too soft by going to Movie>Get Info>SoundTrack >Volume. I up my sound levels to around +170. Edit the bass/treble a notch if you choose.

Trim the beginning and ends off (where you placed the stylus down). Cut and paste the tracks and export them as new AIFFs. Then encode with your favorite encoding utility. Sound Jam is good for this. If you want to have greater control over the post recording process, I recommend using Arboretum’s HyperEngine.

Thats what I use and its great. It has a Plug-in for HyperEngine called Ray Gun that works wonders on decreasing noise and pops for vinyl recordings. It will probably take you some time to get the hang of the whole process (probably 3 or 4 albums to get a firm grip on all the subtleties) but once you do, it’s a really rewarding process and it will enable you to get some great results…