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Burning Vinyl to CD

Discussion in 'Recordings [DB]' started by jazz bass guy, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. I am just converting my olde vinyl to AAC as I write this. I was inspired to check out a lot of my old records by this thread. Interesting. I am going to do the Arrival of Victor Feldman next. Scott LaFaro and Stan Levey. Fun. can't wait to get them on my iPod...

    ...this thread has gone far afield...
  2. I have a bunch of vinyl I'd like to put on CD. Any info/ experience to share?
  3. It is a tedious process, to be sure, because obviously you have to record in real time. The good thing is that you get to listen while you do it. The downside is that you can't practice (or play along) in the same room while you copy the record, because the needle is a bit microphonic.

    I am not sure whether there is a more elegant way to do it, but I just copy each side of the LP to my hard drive, using a program called CD SpinDoctor (came with Roxio Toast), and then I cut it up into separate tracks (if there are big enough spaces, it will do that part for you--didn't work for the Paul Desmond record). Then I either burn the tracks to CD, or convert them to AAC and slam them onto my iPod.

    I forgot how much I have missed some of this music.

    Incidentally, I think Don would be amused at the long post here under his name. He doesn't even own a computer. At least the last time I saw him he didn't. And he said that the only reason he could think of why he might consider getting one would be to run an iPod (he was very interested in mine).
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Our family got a Teac hi-fi burner for christmas. What a great gift! (And what thoughtful people we were to give it to ourselves, too.)

    As JBGuy notes, you hafta sit there and listen to the record, and push the button when the song changes. No problem!

    I'm no audiophile. The noise floor on my cheapo turntable is about -45 dB. The unit doesn't have compression built in, thankfully, but I have to try some hard to bring the levels up to -3 dB. The TEAC folks really don't want you up at 0 dB because you'll cut out the recording for a few seconds -- it's not like a cassette, where going into the plus range just distorts things. In short, the product has the approximate dynamic range of -- guest what! -- a vinyl record. And you'd be amazed how much snap & pop even your immaculately-preserved Deutsche Grammophone records have, now that you're accustomed to digital silence.

    But WHAT FUN! If your experience is like mine, you will rediscover some of the sounds that made you who you are.
  5. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    I have been experimenting with Cakewalk Pyro software. It allows the user to filter out pops and cracks and readjust EQ. Unfortunately I do not have a lot of experience yet. As the Jazz Bass Guy mentioned it is very time consuming.
  6. I've been digitizing a lot of cassette tapes over the last year. I put the whole side on a cdr through my stereo (I use an HK burner), then I rip it onto the hard drive. I use EAC (freeware) as a ripper, consensus seems to be that it is the most accurate. It has the option of normalizing the levels as it rips, so you don't have to worry so much about the levels at the time of the audio conversion. I then use a shareware program called CDWave to divide out the tracks manually (much easier than trying to do it on the fly with your remote on the audio burner). I then burn from the hard drive. For whatever editing I might need to do I use Cooledit. I'm not a big fan of noise reduction, but I might do a light declicking if the tracks originated from vinyl.

    It's a lot of fun, but very time consuming. Fortunately, the music on the tapes makes all this worthwhile - an older friend who is a long time collector has lent me a whole raft of jazz rarities! I suffer from a certain amount of insomnia, so I often spend early weekend mornings transfering another couple of tapes.

  7. I'm suffering from a hardware knowledge gap here too.
    How do you get from the turntable to the computer? Do you have to make a patch cord to go from the turntable's RCA's to the (hopefully stereo) "line in" on the sound card? Or do you go in through a USB port?
    What about signal levels? I bought a new Pioneer A/V receiver about a year ago, it has no turntable input. I found I needed an outboard preamp for the turntable to sufficiently drive an input. Do I need a different preamp to feed the computer?
    What file format do I use to save music on my hard drive?
    What software do I need and where do I get it?

    Sorry about the barrage of questions, but when I go into a local computer store and talk to the acne-faced employees about turntables and records, their eyes glaze over and they give me that "dude, what planet are you from?" look.
  8. I suppose the actual link from the stereo to the computer depends on your computer's input options. In my case, I have a Mac which has, conveniently, a stereo mini input (line level) which I just connected to using a readily-available RCA to mini cable. My old stereo (or should I say hi-fi?) still has an input for a turntable (just where I left it 15 years ago!). If you have all of the expensive gear, it might be better to go via USB or better yet, Firewire. Mine works fine, though. Especially considering the source.

    For software, I confess I am a bit ignorant about the options. I use CD Spindoctor, as I mentioned, because it came with my burning software. It has a few filters for pops and stuff, but is otherwise pretty basic. That's good for me, though I used Peak to edit the tracks (cutting them apart and fading in and out clapping and so on). I am using a Mac, which means that most people reading this are probably facing different, and likely more, software options.

    The file format used for CDs is AIF (or AIFF). If you have a suitable portable, you can go for mp3 or AAC (my preference) which is about one tenth the file size for comparable sound quality.

    I feel it is necessary to re-iterate that before you go spending a lot of money and time on this, that I wouldn't recommend it for any but the most precious recordings that you can't get readily otherwise. The quality sucks compared to CDs (I can't believe what kind of noise we used to put up with!) and it takes a lot of time. I can imagine it would be fun for some people, though.
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My gizmo is part of the stereo system. Essentially, it's like a cassette deck that records to CD instead of tape. Once I have it on disc, I can bring onto the computer using a CD/.wav ripper program, if I want to futz around with it. (Life's pretty short for that, for me).


    I think you need to figure out whether you want to have a hi-fi unit hooked up to your stereo (which, as you note, requires a stereo that will hear a phonograph) or a computer-centered unit.

    Hope this helps. If not, lemme know and I'll erase it.

    a) I don't really care much about sonic quality -- musical quality is the point of my 'listening experience'

    b) and I've got more time than money anyway. I'm not gonna go out and buy all those discs, but I'm very happy to spend Saturday night ripping Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus to CD.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I agree with PETE BEST.

    I think the best option is to find a friend with a standalone CD burner and simply dump your cassette and vinyl stuff directly onto a CD before putting it in the computer. A few years back I bought a cheap TEAC CD Burner/copier at Sam's Club for about $250. It has served me well, and continues to do so. Once you have a rough file (with no tracks) on CD, you can add track divides much more quickly on software (I use Sound Studio and iTunes on my iMac, but there are plenty of PC options as well).
  11. For anyone else doing homework on this, check out:

    Jack Danniel's ebook on converting vinyl or tape to CD is seven chapters and 22 pages chock full of info on hardware and software for a computer-based approach. I found the Pinnacle preamp and software he discussed at Future Shop locally for under $90 Cdn. Next prollum is, I haven't bought a new computer in a few years, so none of the 'puters in the house have a fast enough processer. Minimum requirement is PII 500, fastest we have is a Flintstone 450, and no hard drive bigger than 10 gig. (Yeah, yeah, I know...)

    The hi fi based approach may turn out to be the cheapest yet, numerous companies seem to offer home stereo compatible, stand alone burner/ players for $300 and up.

    Thanks to all for the help.

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