Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ripping Your Old Vinyl to the Computer

If you are like me, you have a lot of old vinyl records in the basement from your stereo-days of the 60's and 70's.  It also turns out that vinyl records are actually better sound quality than MP3s (who knew?).

How to turn that treasured vinyl past into a digital form like FLAC (lossless encoding) or MP3 for use on your I-thingy?

It turns out that it is not too hard or expensive, but a little tedious.

Step 1

Buy a USB turntable or get out that old 70 vintage turntable like my old Pioneer PL-516.  If you buy a USB turntable, you can skip forward to step 3.  If you pull out the old turntable, you first need to get it up and running.  

If you need a needle, go to turntableneedles.com.

If you need a belt, go to ebay.com or turntableneedles.

Amazon.com also has parts.

Step 2

The output from your old turntable is unuseable as is, you a phono pre-amp.  Luckily, you can buy cheap good pre-amps on site like Amazon.com.  I used this pre-amp: PYLE-PRO PP444 Ultra Compact Phono Turntable Preamp.

Wire it up as shown in the following picture.

Step 3

Hook up your USB or old turntable up to your PC.  Download audacity software which is free from the following location: link.  Install the program, open it up, and try a record.  Hit the record button in audacity.  You should hear audio from your speakers and see equalizer movement.  

If not, check your turntable by plugging headphones into the pre-amp.  If this works, the pre-amp and turntable are fine.  The move to the PC.  Make sure that you have selected the MIC input, check the audio settings, check the microphone settings.

If you have a poor record, one that got scratched during that all night party when Fred got drunk and bumped the stereo, turn on the audacity noise reduction.

Step 4

You should now be able to record your vinyl, enjoy!  Some photos of my setup are shown below.
The old Pioneer turntable

Pyle pre-amp

audacity software

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