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  Encode to MP3 dadiOH's dandies
Recording Vinyl or Tape to MP3

Again, many programs for this. One of the best is CDex. Others here.

More important than the program itself is the codec it uses. "Codec" is an acronym for CODerDECoder.  There are numerous, including...
  • LAME
  • Fraunhofer (FhG)
  • Xing
  • Blade
  • Gogo no coda
People far more knowledgeable than I feel that LAME gives the best reproduction, followed by Fraunhofer. At bit rates of 128kbps or less, many feel Fraunhofer is best. Xing is the fastest but also felt to be the worst. Blade and Gogo are old.

One reason that I suggested CDex is that a LAME.dll is included with don't have to go find one or a LAME.exe as you would with some others.

All you need do is choose the bit rate you want, decide whether you want to use CBR (Constant Bit Rate) or VBR (Variable Bit Rate), select a directory for output and do it. I would suggest a bit rate of not less than 128 kbps and not more than 192 kbps. I usually use VBR set up so I wind up with an average bit rate in the 150-170 range. You can glean much information about encoding in general and LAME (the encoder used in CDex) in particular by regular reading of

Get more information and definitions
of "CBR", "VBR" and other terms here (about half way down the page).

Two years ago, when I first wrote this, that range of bit rates was pretty much the norm. Now, many people are encoding at a minimum of 192 kbps, many at even higher rates. Should you? Only you can answer that. I find that for my 69 year old ears 160 kbps is more than ample. I would suggest you encode the same file at different bitrates to determine which level of quality suits your ears. If you would like to know exactly what frequencies you can hear, this program will tell you. Keep in mind that file size grows with higher bit rates.

After you are all finished, you will probably want to delete the wave files as they are quite large. As an alternative, you could burn the waves to an audio CD.

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