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  Record to Wave File dadiOH's dandies
Recording Vinyl or Tape to MP3

Clean the vinyl.
I just vacuum or brush them off and then wash them with water and a bit of detergent. I use a soft brush (like a shaving brush) to "scrub" them in the direction of the grooves. Not a good idea to to this with tape, btw. :)

Hook turntable to computer.
You need a cable with a stereo jack on one end and 2 - plugs on the other (RCA phono, usually). You can get it for $3-4 at Radio Shack. Make sure it is a stereo...it should have two black rings around it.

Plug the stereo jack into the "line in" on the back of the computer and the other ends into the "line out" of your stereo. Note that you cannot use an unamplified turntable alone...it has to be amplified either through your stereo or other amplifier.

Start the recording program
There are numerous programs that can be used for the recording including...
LP Recorder, about $20
CDRecorder, $50
Total Recorder, $12
CDex, free
I have listed them in the order that I like them. You could do it with Winamp V2.x too with the line in plug-in

I like LP Recorder the most for two reasons:

It has a "pause button" so that I can pause the recording after I record one side, turn the record over and continue recording side #2 to the same file.
It will automatically set the recording volume. Setting the volume is one of the most important things to get a good recording. You want it as high as possible without "clipping" the loudest sounds. That way, you minimize the relationship between noise (like tape hiss) and the sound that you want. With this program, you can set the volume all the way up, play the vinyl and...as the vinyl is playing...the program will adjust the volume downward as necessary. Once set, play AND record the vinyl. With the other programs, you have to manually adjust the volume, either from within the program or from Windows volume control. Any program you consider should have some sort of "meter" to indicate the volume...just keep it as high as possible without going into the red.

Record the vinyl
This is the easy part: make sure the wave parameters are set for a sample rate of 44,100 16 bit stereo (if you have options). That's what the parameters need to be for a file if you ever want to write it to an audio CD.

Next, just push "record" in the program, lower the needle and wait. Once the first side has finished, press "pause", flip the record, press "pause" again, lower the arm and wait. When the second side finishes playing, press "Stop" and the program will write the file to the folder you specified using the name you specified. The file will be 10.6 megabytes for each minute of music.
Problem LPs

If your LPs are old, they probably have an assortment of scratches that will sometimes interfere with playing - perhaps catching in a scratch and repeating. When I have that happen I elevate the outboard side of the turntable a bit so that gravity helps pull the needle arm. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I had one 45rpm that had a really deep gouge...the gouged part had been pushed up making ridges. Wouldn't play no way, no how...until I took a sharp wood chisel and cut off the ridges. Do that at your own risk! :)

If you do have an area that sticks, do the best you can...you can cut it out later with a wave editor. You may be able to find another area in the wave that repeats the bad portion. If so, you can cut the bad, copy the good, and paste the good where the bad was.
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It is handy to set up a series of folders so that your files can be moved along depending on the stage of work. For example,
is the way I've done it. The underscore on a couple is to sort them so that they will be displayed in the order I want

Additionally, give some thought to the way you are going to name the wave files. It is a temporary name but can still help you. If you are recording stuff and there are multiple albums by the same artist, it would be handy to name them "Album name - A_B.wave", the "A_B" being a reminder that the wave has both sides of the album on it and also indicating the sequence in which the sides were recorded.
Of course, if you are only going to record one album and then complete all steps on that file before recording another, the name isn't particularly important but I record several at one time (about 2 gigs worth) and then start the additional steps. Having the names as I suggested helps me keep the files straight.


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