Recording Your Vinyl Records to CD and MP3
Many families have collected vinyl records over the years, even passing them on from one generation to the next. But the last three decades or so have seen a boom of CDs, MP3s, and the like, making vinyl records seem much more tedious to play just to listen to some music. Not only that, but the sound quality is far superior on CDs and MP3s compared to records. For this reason, more and more people are considering converting their old records onto digital audio formats.
While the idea of transferring music from records into CDs or MP3 players may sound simple enough, it may be a little more complex than you might think.
Here are some tips to save some time during your conversion process:
Deciding on the Turntable to Use
You’ll have to connect your equipment to your computer in order to convert vinyl records to CD. A traditional turntable should have some stereo RCA outputs and a ground wire. Make sure that you have a phono preamp that’s either built in to the turntable, or is in a separate receiver if you plan on using a turntable such as this. Without a phono preamp, the sound quality will be poor.
It’s important to note that you might require a mini stereo-to-stereo RCA adapter to connect the turntable to the sound card on your computer.
If you plan on purchasing a new turntable, choose one that has traditional stereo outputs to one that features a USB interface. This will ensure a better quality connection.
The Importance of Software
You don’t just plug in the turntable and automatically transfer your music from vinyl to digital. It’s a little more involved than that. You’re going to need software as well to make it happen. There are number of options available, and which one you choose will depend on how you’d like to listen to your music after you’ve recorded them, such as your iPod or on a CD. Each type of software has its benefits.
If you buy a new turntable, it most likely will come with some type of software for archiving. However, you may find it worthwhile to buy new software anyway.
Features to look for in your recording software
Saving your recording in the audio format you want – Before you get your software, make sure it’s able to save your music in the format you prefer. While MP3 is common, there may be other formats you might want, like WAV. The software should also be compatible with your OS, such as Mac or PC.
Pausing your recordings – If you don’t want to record an album from beginning to end in one continuous track, then make sure that your software comes with a pausing features so you can divide the songs up at the end of the recording session.
Noise filters - There is often quite a bit of white noise and hissing in the background with records. If you want the option to remove this noise, your software will need a noise filter feature.
Downloading information from songs - Certain types of software will automatically search out artists, songs and album information online for every track recorded. This is highly convenient and time-saving when archiving records and downloading CDs into iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Getting more focused edits – Different software will have different levels of editing. Some allow more fine-tune editing compared to others. For instance, eliminating skips or pops can be done with some software insteadof just featuring a general filter. If precise control over your audio files is something that’s important to you, then you should look into these types of features when on the hunt for your recording software. Audacity and MixPad in particular are quite good for fine-tuning like this.
Simplifying the process with easy-to-use features – Some software is developed specifically for iPod users, such as EZ Vinyl Converter, which automatically exports tracks to iTunes so you can listen to them immediately.
The EZ Vinyl Converter is among the best software for saving time, considering the automatic downloading of track info. It’s also user-friendly and simple to operate. However, the more innovative editing features of MixPad and Audacity are also awesome for converting your tracks.
Converted Tracks – Not Just For Your Own Listening
Once you’ve converted your vinyl album into a digital format, you can do a lot more than just listen to the tracks yourself. You’re also free to share the music with others by simply transferring the files that you created and burn them to CDs using your computer’s software. You might also want to make backup copies on other CDs just in case your hard drive crashes on you.
Keep these tips in mind to help you save time during the conversion process:
▪ Decide what you prefer, such as how you plan on listening to your music, and whether you need focused editing tools.
▪ Listen to each album before recording them to see if you have any undesirable defects that need attention.
▪ Make sure you slot in enough time for yourself to be able to sit in front of your computer during the entire process. You can’t just click a button and leave – it’s a hands-on process.
▪ If sound quality is vital to you, make sure you’re using a high bitrate to get all the album’s details. If the album is in rough shape, even the best editing tools won’t help.
The Bottom Line
The conversion process isn’t exactly an easy one, but it’s worth the time and effort when you can listen to old recordings with greater ease and convenience.