Ripping vinyl music

I’m an oldster, but a goodster. My wife and I have a combined collection of maybe 300 vinyl LPs (including a Beatles White Album on white vinyl that my wife got from an old flame before I met her!). How can I get some of this onto CD? A lot of this stuff you can’t even buy on CD (for good reason). Any ideas? Cheap solutions are preferable.

Does your turntable have a headphone/line-out jack?

  • Alan

If you have some spare cables laying aroudn you should be able to hook up your stereo to your sound card, which is the first big leap.

Next is software to record. If nothing else, you should be able to record it as a wave file with the little Sound Recorder program that’s been around since Windows 3.1.

After that it’s just a matter of burning finding a program to burn it to a CD.

Ok, so I need a turntable – I figured that. Then some kind of cable connects my turntable to my PC? I can see that. Get the music going through that cable onto my PC and saving it as something. Then taking that something and converting it into something that can be burned to a CD. Yeah. I see it. I’m having an ephiphany. Thanks.

Heh, you don’t have a turntable anymore? Wow, I bet that’s the hardest part these days. Do they even sell turntables anymore?

Yeah, they sell them. Probably to the same dopes that buy Hi-Fi equipment with vacuum tubes in it.

As soon as we got a CD player, we stopped buying vinyl. I think one of the last vinyl purchases I made was that Springsteen Live set that came out before Born in the USA.

Anyway, at some point our turntable stopped working. We have all these records now and don’t know what to do with them. I’d like to cull some songs and then take the LPs to Vintage Vinyl and sell them.

Is that like Championship Vinyl? :D

Anyway, you should still be able to get ahold of decent turntables, although you’ll probably have to look around a bit. There’s still a market for them, even outside of DJ equipment. As far as being able to rip it goes, I don’t know about the best/cheapest way to approach that. As a matter of fact, I’ll be keeping my eye on this thread, as I have a few oddities myself on vinyl that I wouldn’t mind having on my computer. (those wacky rare 7" singles, or albums that mysteriously have alternate versions of songs on them, etc.)

I ripped a fair amount of vinyl to CD a year or two ago (although I’ve still got more to go…)

The theory expressed here is correct – you need to hook up a turntable to your computer’s line in card, then record the sound. I’ll see if I can look up what application I used for that a little later today.

BTW, I went turntable --> receiver --> computer, rather than straight turntable --> computer. I don’t know if that makes any kind of difference or not.


Actually, in the olden days, turntable outputs were at a different level than the outputs you’d find on CD, Cassette, DVD, etc. components. That’s why the the manuals for your amp always warn that turntables should be plugged only into the “turntable in” jacks. Don’t know if that’s still true with “modern turntables.” (Oxymoron there…)

I’d just buy a turntable on eBay from a reputable seller, rip the records, and then you can put it back on eBay and probably only end up spending a few bucks on the process.

Also, note that while you can indeed use sound recorder, many of the CD burning apps like Nero or Easy CD/DVD Creator include audio ripping applications with features like pop removing (vinyl popping, not like “eradicate Shawn Cassidy”) and the ability to auto-detect tracks from the breaks between them and split the files. If your ultimate destination is CDs, I’d use one of these to rip to WAV or another lossless format, rather than MP3.

Man, these youngsters are so helpless. Totally effeminated by technology! Why, in my days we’d know the difference between an MM and an MC cartridge without even looking it up.

Which brings me to my point, actually. Turntable output is generated by a crystal that tracks the reel and induces electricity by moving a magnet through a coil (moving magnet = MM) or by moving the coil around the magnet (moving coil = MC). Both systems produce output that’s way lower than standard audio jacks, and MC is lower than MM.

You very likely will need a special phono pre-amp to get usuable levels, and a special MC pre-amp to get good output from MC systems. If your current hi-fi system doesn’t have an amplifier/receiver with a phono pre-map then you’ll have to buy one.

Turntables are quite definitely being made today, just like vinyl records continue to be made and sold. Just not at Wal-Mart or wherever you uncivilized vinyl haters apparently go shopping. But outside of DJ equipment you have to go to high end manufacturers such as Linn.

Getting a turntable from eBay may be problematic because the cartridge does age, and this will noticeably degrade the sound quality eventually. Also, depending on how you treated your LPs you may have to clean them to get acceptable sound quality.

In other words, you might want to think twice if you really want to bother. Also consider the cost of cassettes for the recording – why not just wait for the upcoming price drop on CDs?

The levels issue should be easily bypassable by running the Phonograph through the reciever, and hooking the reciever up to the computer. If your soundcard has digital inputs, and your reciever has digital out, you can eliminate one level of analog loss and have the reciever convert to digital for you, so there’s no signal loss between the reciever and the computer.

Although I’m not sure if that’s preferable. Anyways, there are plenty of programs out there designed specifically for ripping from vinyl, just google “Vinyl MP3 conversion” or something along those lines.

As recently as a year ago, Best Buy was selling Technics Phonos, and by no means were they high end, they were pretty damned nice for the $100. With a 30-day return policy. ;)

Oh, if you can find a CDA or MP3 output plugin for Winamp, then you can use that as a bridge. Not exactly sure about the input end of things.

  • Alan

Why don’t you just download the music from a p2p network and sidestep the issue altogether? :P

The man’s got a point. If you own the vinyl, then you have the legimate right to have a backup copy, even if you didn’t do the copying. Get some KLite lovin’ and get out.

And then when the RIAA sues you, you can show them that you have the vinyl for every song you downloaded, thus making it a decision about whether you’re buying the rights to the songs or the physical media. Should make an interesting test case.

With any luck, they’ll break out some argument of Hofstadterian proportions.

I can see it now.

Your honor, the record itself is all he has license to. It is not the individual songs, in that sequence, no no. You see, everything that exists reflects sound waves, but their unique properties make those sound waves different, even if the two objects are copies of the same thing. If I hold this Liza Minelli record up to my ear, and listen to the record as a whole, it will sound wholly different than if I did the same with a CD copy.

Not only that, your honor, but MP3’s cannot be heard from inside the platter of the hard drive. Due to this, MP3’s do not constitute legitimate backups. In fact, it’s impossible to make a legitimate backup, since you can never make an atomically perfect copy of the specific record, tape, or CD that you bought.

Therefore, you cannot make a legitimate backup, and Mr. Asher is in violation of copyright infringement to the tune of several billion dollars.

I rest my case. Chewbacca.

Scary stuff!

Oops,dupe post…

I wouldn’t waste the money on the cheapo close 'n plays that pass for low end turntables these days,Mark.I’d look at garage sales or Ebay–I got a Harmon Kardon T60 on Ebay for a couple of hundred bucks a few years ago,and it’s a pretty nice turntable.I’ve still got several hundred LPs that have never been released on cd,so I definitely am glad I have one.Then again,if your plan is really to just burn the stuff you want,and then sell the whole kit and kaboodle,I suppose there’s not much reason to pick up more than a close 'n play.You can probably find one of those for pretty butt cheap on Ebay,too–maybe $40-50 bucks.