Sunday, October 22, 2006

Putting in a call to the big 'Help Desk'

Babble on.

So my dad has a bunch of old vinyl albums that he wants to convert into CD's, and neither of us had any clue how to do it, but we tried anyhow this afternoon: the blind leading the blind, deaf, and terminally dopey. Needless to say, we had zero success, although not from lack of time invested completely wasted.

Which is why I'm appealing to you, Gentle Reader, for help. Unlike the 'Help?' dropdown on just about every Windows-friendly program out there, I can explain my situation, and I trust you'll 'get it' without dredging up a bunch of false positives in some database that have nothing to do with my real question.

How the aitch-ee-double-hockey-stick do we get what's on his 33's and put them into a digital format that we could burn onto a CD?

Bueller? Anyone?

Babble off.


At 8:46 p.m., Blogger Brian Mertens (Free Advice) said...

Have you tried trimming the edges of the LPs down with tin snips until they fit into your CD player?

Or, this might work:

At 9:32 p.m., Blogger hunter said...

Make sure he keeps those LP's, they are becoming a collectors item, depending on the artist. Old record players are increasing in demand as well!!

At 9:45 p.m., Blogger untutord said...

Damian, the kuro5hin article is pretty good as to the mechanical requirements. I'd recommend for recording software Audacity, free and open-source, available here:

It's far easier to use than any commercial software I've tried.

At 11:40 a.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Thanks for the tip on clipping the vinyl to size, Mertens. Next time you have a hang-nail, drop by and I'll pull out the handy-dandy tin-snips to pay you back. Heh.

My dad laughed when I told him I could probably get the answer on my blog within a day. Thanks for not disappointing, folks.

Now I just have to find time to read the article, and see if my dad has the right equipment to do the job...

At 4:16 p.m., Blogger oreobw said...

The above site is a very good description of how to do this but I am going to add my personal version. This is based on my neighbour’s actual experiences as I have not done this myself.

You need a working turntable, a pre-amp and a sound card with line-inputs. The pre-amp is needed as a turntable does not typically put out a signal strong enough for “line input” on a sound card. A substitute for a pre-amp is an old receiver.

For software, my neighbour uses an old copy of Easy CD Creator. It reads the stuff from the sound card and saves it in WAV format (uncompressed). He then usually uses Easy CD Creator to “edit” the track to reduce noise and perhaps lower or raise sound levels. He then converts it to CD format and burns a CD. I know this a very general description but if you need precise details I can find out. I eventually plan to convert a few old records using an old receiver instead of pre-amp.

Not all pre-amps are created equal, some are crap. My neighbour had to return at least one due to hum problems. By the way, he has converted many records and sometimes makes a hobby out of buying old records and selecting tracks that appeal to him.

Re quality, etc, this is a bit of a messy process and I would try to buy a new CD instead if possible. You will also have to become very familiar with the hardware and software as this is a somewhat “fiddley” process.

LPs in theory, according to some people, sound better than CDs. However, this means very good stereo equipment and very good ears. In practice, especially considering the condition of old records, worn needles, etc, converted LPs do not sound as good as a new CD. So, don’t expect wonderful results but it is worth doing especially if the records cannot be replaced. Also, if you are going to create MP3 you will be degrading quality below that of a CD anyway.

I have heard many of my neighbour’s converted records in CD format and they are quite listenable.

At 4:52 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Re quality, etc, this is a bit of a messy process and I would try to buy a new CD instead if possible.

Oh, I hear you - I'm lazy by nature and so I would have dropped the exercise about an hour in yesterday if it weren't for the fact that some of my dad's albums are out of production. You simply can't find them as CD's - believe me, I've tried.

At 5:44 p.m., Blogger Chris Taylor said...

I have done something similar with tapes rather than vinyl. Used a procedure not unlike those listed above but I didn't bother with the pre-amp, I just recorded via a couple of the receiver's component output (vs. line output) RCA plugs.

If you want to go the super-easy route you can always get professionals to do it for you (for about $35 bucks an hour). On the other hand if you know any university students with time on their hands, just about any place with a radio & television arts program will have appropriate gear to do the transfer and you can probably pay them off with less than 35 bucks an hour's worth of beer and pizza.

At 5:53 p.m., Blogger Chris Taylor said...

Actually now that I think about it there are a ton of places in Toronto that will do audio transfer (large but who knows how recent list here).

This guy that I just found on that list will do 33rpm LP-to-CD transfer for 15 bucks per LP.

You can, of course, do all of this yourself (and on a much smaller budget), it's just a matter of how many hours you want to invest and which is easier to recoup -- time or money?

At 9:51 a.m., Blogger Alan said...

You can buy turntables that plug directly into a USB port on your computer. Don't know about the quality.


At 3:27 a.m., Blogger Muttering In Manitoba said...

I also have some LPs I would like to copy to CDs. According to their website, DAK has solved the problems involved with connecting a turntable to a computer, namely:

- LPs need an RIAA Phono Preamp or the sound is distorted
- Sound cards require 1V at 1Kohm
- Magnetic Cartridges create massive amounts of hum

Here is the link:

Has anyone tried the DAK unit?


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