With vinyl it’s not a simple upload. You need to record from the turntable in realtime to a recording program. Audacity is free and is fine for this purpose. But it all depends on your computer and soundcard. Once you set it up it will be easy as long as you’re willing to put in the time. But it will probably take some tweaks.
[You might as well download Audacity now and take a look at it, maybe record something if you have a microphone. It’s a great program, especially for the price of $0.]
This is probably pretty similar to what you’d see in the instruction manual for a USB turntable–after they’ve touted how easy it is and you’ve bought one.
You need to connect and record, then edit and tag your recordings.
Desktops often have a both a mic-in jack, usually red, and a line-in jack, usually white, that is made to accept an amplified source like the output of a CD player or a stereo receiver. You could plug a cord into the headphone output of your Onkyo system and into a line-in jack if you had one.
Many laptops only have a mic-in jack. The mic-in jack goes to a little amplifier to boost speech, and that amplifier is usually el cheapo, very noisy. Many mic-in jacks are also mono, because they expect that you are going to use it only for speech. Recording your lovely stereo albums into a bad mono mic-in jack is pointless.
So first look at your computer. Next to the headphone jack, is there one plug (mic-in, red), or two (mic-in and a white line-in)?
This is the reason for the USB turntables–they can connect to a computer without a line-in jack.
Yet if you already have a good turntable and receiver, you can also get a gizmo that gives you a stereo line-in jack: the Griffin iMic. It’s not a microphone: it’s an external USB sound card with stereo mic-in and line-in inputs and outputs. I recently got the Griffin Imic v1, which is a goofy round thing that looks like a UFO, for $14 on ebay. You can find the more sensible rectangular Griffin Imic v2 for around $25. So if you already own a good turntable and receiver, the iMic is a much better investment than a USB turntable.
If you ever had a tape recorder, that’s how Audacity works: it shows the incoming level and has controls for volume. You’ve got to make sure you are connected–both via a cord and via software.
With any luck, the USB (whether Imic or turntable) will be immediately recognized by Audacity. If not, you’ll have to look at the Options and Settings in Audacity and in Sounds and Audio Devices to make sure your USB is the correct input for recording. You also need to get an mp3 encoder for Audacity–which is also free, but for some reason they can’t just include it. Google – Audacity LAME encoder – for easy instructions. Another funny thing about Audacity: It records to its own format, .aup, so instead of Save you have to Export to mp3 or Export to .wav. It’s all easy after the first recording or two.
Then you need to do a test recording and set levels in Audacity. You also need to switch some of Audacity’s default settings, from mono to stereo recording and for high-quality (.wav) recording. When you hit the big red Record button in Audacity and start the music, Audacity shows the waveform and you may need to play with levels. You want the waveform to nearly fill the screen but not be flattened on top, which means it’s distorted.
It sounds complicated, but once you’ve got the connections and levels, it’s not bad. Once you have recorded it, play it back and look at Audacity’s Effects if there are noises you want to suppress.
Oh, one more thing. You are going to be recording album sides. You’ll have to cut those into individual songs. There’s a good free program for that: CDwave. It looks at your long .wav file exported from Audacity, checks where silences are between tracks and cuts the file into songs. If you have an album with tracks all segued together, you’re going to have to cut it yourself.
And then you need to name each file, and use mp3tag to make ID3 tags for all your new tracks.
So it’s going to take time. Frankly, I only think it’s worth it for out-of-print LPs–and I’d look for some of those online too, already recorded by fans. Google–Artist Title .mp3–
But yes, it is possible to record your own albums if you want to put in the time.
Message Edited by Black-Rectangle on 11-07-2008 08:08 PM