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Is it possible to hook up a turntable to my computer?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by dryheatbob, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. My dad gave me a bunch of his old albums and I want to record them to cd. Is there a way to connect a turntable to my pc so I can burn the records to CD?

    I couldn't believe all the great old albums he's got- Big band, Jazz, and especially the Motown stuff. Kinda cool pulling a 40+ year old record off a shelf it's been sitting on for 30+ years and listening to it.

    Vinyl rocks.

    Anyway, any suggestions out there?

  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Yes sir, just find some form of output jack (Speaker/headphones) and run that to the computer.

    My setup

    headphone jack>instrument cable>1/8 inch converter>computer's line in>cool edit pro

    And once in cool edit pro, I run a noise remover.
  3. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    matt would have gotten more points if he'd typed yessir
  4. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Awww, do I get pity points, I've slept 4 hours in the past 4 days. MMmmm an hour a day keeps the strange voices away.
  5. Thank for the tips! What is cool edit pro? I was figuring on just burning straight to a cd, without running it through any software programs(except for the CD burner software).

  6. tappel


    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    I did the same thing a coupla years ago, converted a bunch of LP's to CD. It was time consuming (vinyl is realtime!) but kinda fun.

    You may, or may not, need a phono preamp. Depends on your turntable. If you can't get a decent input level, you'll need a preamp.

    Cool Edit is great but, unless you want to go nuts, use a freeware program like Audacity. It'll capture the line-in audio and do a nice job cleaning it up, if you want to do that.

  7. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Exactly. If the turntable you're using has no volume when you plug it in to your input jack on the computer you will need a phono preamp. You can get a good one at Radio Shack for about $30 or there's one at Parts Express on line at here for about $60. Some turntables have a preamp built in. If you have a stereo receiver with a phono input you can use that, and then go from the "tape out" to your sound card. This works great.

    I recommend Cakewalk Pyro for recording the WAV files and making CDs. You will make one big WAV file for each side of the record, then when you burn the CD you can create the track markes where the songs begin. It's very handy, and very inexpensive, too!
  8. Hmmmm...definitely going to need a preamp of some sort.

    On the front of my practice amp are what look like input/output jacks for stereo equipment. I've never messed with it, and it's at home so I'm not positive what it actually is for.

    If it's possible to run stereo equipment through my amp, shouldn't I be able to use it as a preamp going to the computer?

    On another thought, if I need to buy new cables, a preamp and possibly a turntable(in case mine doesn't work) wouldn't I be better off buying a CD player/burner for my stereo?

    Just seems like this would be an easier scenario to work with.

  9. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Not many turntables have preamps buit in.
    No. A phono preamp is a specific piece of gear with a built in EQ and other factors that mean you need a specifically designed phono preamp in order to hear your records.
    If your stereo is anywhere near your computer, hook the "tape out" from your stereo to the computer line in. If the stereo has a PHONO input that means it's got the preamp built in. This is (more or less) how I've been transferring records to CD for years.
  10. My stereo and computer are on opposite sides of the house.

    A CD player/burner is starting to look likre the simplest solution to my little problem...

  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    A CD burner like you suggest, hooked into the tape loop of your stereo is a much better solution that using your computer. It will surely contain a much better Analog-to-digital converter and analog signal circuits than anything but a pro level sound card. The recordings from the stereo hi-fi component CD burner will sound much much better than recordings using your computer's line-in.

    Remember, it will cost you a minimum $200 plus you'll still need the cables unless you already have some.

    Actually I use a similar method, I have a high end minidisc recorder in my stereo hooked through optical digital connection into a sound card on my computer. I put the MD machine on record monitor and it sends a pure clean digital signal to my computer using the MD player's high quality hi-fi analog to digital conversion.

    What you've proposed is the best solution, but it's kind of expensive. BTW these component burners take special "music" blank CDs that are more expensive than the regular computer blank CDs.

    Here's what I recommend: Get yourself a CD burner and a couple CD-RW "music" discs. Buy yourself Cakewalk Pyro (it's only $30). Record from the LP to the CD-RW with one track per album side, then rip it to your computer. Once you have your WAV files, delete blank spaces at the beginning and end (needle drop and lift), clean up pops and ticks using the software, then burn a CD using Pyro or your favorite other tool that allows you to insert track marks in the middle of a WAV file.

    Your CDs will sound excellent using this method.
  12. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    Always respect the RIAA curve.

    (God, I feel old)
  13. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    Phil, thanks for the heads up on Pyro! I myself have been wanting to transfer some of my albums to CD. I have a HK CD burner and wondered how to easily transfer the album to CD without starting and stopping after each track. I'm going to go get Pyro and use the CDRW trick now. I've got some decent out of print stuff that I'd love to get on CD!

  14. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Which cd burner do ya recommend to go with my computer?
    I also have my stereo on the opposite side of the room from
    computer. I ' m using a Modulus (not the guitar co.) tube pre-amp with many outs- tape, phono, line, etc.

    And thought of burning many of my BN & obscure jazz lps on cd for friends or for the band. Cassettes seem to outdated and there always someones' deck is either sharp or flat. So
    someone always learning new tunes in a different key. :(

    Or: I have to duplicate tunes on cassette for the sub, which
    takes up much time- I think I could put them in file on my hard
    drive or cd. then burn them for the sub.
    Been playing many weekends gigs and finally got a computer this year! :) So I' m new at the computer world.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I can't recommend any particular models of CD burner since I'm a MD guy. I think they all have pretty good analog sections. Personally I'm partial to Pioneer gear in general. I'd look for low prices and refurbished stuff if I was in the market. Phillips makes nice CD burners too.
  16. Dennis Kong

    Dennis Kong Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    San Mateo CA
    Thanks. Phil
  17. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    PB, I have posted or posed a similar question 3 or 4 times times in the past 2 years and never gotten this good an answer.

    This was the solution I have been looking for to transfer my old reel to reel and out of print records to cd's.

    Hopefully I will be smart enough to save this link.


  18. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    I've got a new turntable, and the only output is A/V... err except no V. So what's that called? You know, the red and white chords.

    I was wondering is there any way to convert the AV setup to a USB input of some kind. I know they make USB sound cards... do they have AV ins?

    I was thinking I could run it through the stereo, and headphone out to computer line in... but line ins aren't stereo... plus they are a little noisey.

    Are the USB sound cards the answer? If so, what's the best? Remeber I don't have too much $$
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA

    The Line in on your computer is definitely stereo. Yes, it is a little noisy compared to a component stereo system, but remember the noise floor on vinyl is extremely high (like a constant 30 dB runble) so that should not be a concern to you for this purpose. If you were doing home recording with Cakewalk or something it might be a concern, but for phono records don'w worry about it.

    If your turntable has a preamp built in all you need is a cable with a 1/8" stereo mini jack on one side and L/R stereo audio plugs on the other. If your turntable doesn't have a built in preamp you will need a phono preamp, there are many available, and another set of L/R audio cables.

    A USB audio device may or may not sound better, would be a complete waste of money IMO. Using the headphone out from your stereo to the line in on your computer is a terrible idea. If it even works at all it will be so noisy it will be virtually useless. If your stereo has a tape loop and a PHONO input, that means it has a usable PHONO preamp. You can plug the turntable into PHONO and go from the L/R "tape out" to the 1/8" mini-plug input on your sound card.

    Read my first response above for the original version of this answer.
  20. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Phil: I never told anyone this before but...

    ... I don't know how to read. :crying:

    I'll see what I can do.