Some vinyl-transformation tips for PC users.
Last month in this magazine, you might have seen a helpful article about how to transfer vinyl records to CD via computer, using the Linux operating system. A couple of readers wrote in to ask, in effect, “Thanks for the advice. Now what in the hell is a Linux operating system?” With all due respect to Linus Torvald’s esoteric operating system, it’s PC owners who are most likely to try such a stunt. But in an age when a handful of MP3s can become a CD in just a few clicks of the mouse, some users are intimidated by the prospect of dragging their vintage vinyl kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
They shouldn’t be, because it’s an easy and worthwhile process. We’ll gloss over some of the obvious basics in the process: Clean your records before bothering to transfer them, use a decent turntable with a fairly new stylus, and so on. What you’ll want to concentrate on is getting the sounds onto your hard drive and working with them from there.
You’ll want to use stereo patch cords to connect your turntable to an amplifier or receiver, and from there, the signal should be fed into the line input of your PC’s sound card. Plan on a trip to your local electronics store once you’ve determined what kinds of wires and adapters you’ll need.
The Sound Recorder utility that comes with Windows isn’t up to a job like this because it records to RAM (rather than directly to the hard disk), writing the results to your hard disk only when you’re done recording. There are all kinds of shareware applications that will write audio signals directly to the hard disk. Search any shareware site and do some shopping for the most versatile recorders. (Not to give short shrift to the many fine recording apps out there, but the cream of the crop among many users is