Data Doctor: Moving vinyl to CD is no easy journey - East Valley Tribune: Business

Data Doctor: Moving vinyl to CD is no easy journey

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Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2008 12:09 am | Updated: 8:51 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Q. Are there any recommend-ations as to equipment to use to convert my LPs to CDs?

A. If you’ve been alive for more than 25 years, you likely have some of your music in vinyl form. The older you are, the larger your library probably is.

Getting that library transferred to digital format would allow you to preserve the music and make it usable on today’s music devices.

The thought of getting this music transferred is one thing; actually doing it is another. Unless you have lots of time, space to work and energy, you may want to consider some alternatives first.

If your real intent is to get your classic songs into your iPod, spending the 99 cents per song may seem like a bargain compared with the manual process. If your vinyl library is relatively small, the amount of money you will spend to get the proper equipment to do it yourself (usually a couple hundred dollars if you already own a turntable) may be better spent buying the actual songs that you really want.

Even if you do have the ability to do the transfer, it will never sound as good as a professionally generated song. So, if sound quality is important, keep that in mind.

If you have music that is typically not found on mainstream music systems, try checking with Collector’s Choice Music (www.ccmusic.com) for those hard-to-find albums, especially if the sound quality matters.

If buying the music isn’t appealing, then here is what you will need to do it yourself:

• A turntable with RCA plugs (the round red and white connectors)

• A Phono Preamp (to boost the signal high enough for your computer)

• A 1/8-inch stereo male to dual RCA male Y cable (Radio Shack)

• Recording software

• Optional sound-enhancing processing software (to remove the hiss, pops and clicks)

If you got rid of your turntable years ago, there are companies that make special USB turntables that will plug right into your computer.

If you’re an audiophile, the sound quality will likely disappoint you, but if you want it to be as easy as possible, look for USB turntables from companies like Ion (www.ion-audio.com), Stanton (www.stantondj.com) and Audio Technica (www.audio-technica.com). These all-in-one solutions include the turntable, software, cables and hardware that you need to get the job done. If you have a high-quality turntable with a good cartridge, then you can buy the rest of the items you need from sites such as www.blazeaudio.com and www.dak.com.

For those who have all the hardware and cables and just need recording software, check out Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net) or Goldwave (www.goldwave.com – free to try, $45 to buy).

Once you have plugged your turntable into the preamp and plugged it into your computer, you can start experimenting with sound levels. Spend ample time experimenting with the various sound settings so you get the best possible quality sound.

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