What I need to record albums to CD or computer. So confused.

lynnalexandraAugust 27, 2008

I am new to this forum, but frequently over on cooking and computers. I think my current question is more appropriate for this forum than computers. I hope I can articulate this clearly. I have endless albums (maybe 10 feet long) - which I'd like to get rid of, after I record some of them on my computer. I'm gathering there are several ways to do this - and I'd love to hear any relatively easy ways I don't know about.

Our audio system is old (my husband got it well before we met 14 years ago), but probably very good for it's time. Pioneer turntable (PL-12D) - with red and white cables running out from the back (not removeable - no jacks to plug into). Onkyo TX 36 amplifier. On the back there are phono in jacks (red and white). Then there's a section for Tape 1 (which has red and white jacks marked record - and another pair of red and white jacks marked play/cd). There is a similar set of input/output jacks under Tape 2. I'm not sure if record is the same as line in - or line out - or if play means one of those.

We also got a JVC cd recorder (probably 5-7 years ago). We were able to make a few recordings of albums (but could never get the process to work for recording from tape). Last time we looked at this recorder, we were overwhelmed by the technology.

Now I know little more - and technology is more advanced and complicated. I want to get the albums recorded. And I have 2 possibly mutually exclusive goals. I do not want to compress the recordings and lose audio data (this project is for my husband and mother - who have wonderful musical ears, though no tech talent - and me - who has a smidge of musical ear and a little more courage to try the technology). Yet I would love to get this music digitized on my computer (with the option to convert formats and load some on my ipod).

One thing I could do is dust off the cd record manual and record the albums on cd. Am I correct that this would be a lossless recording. Is this the way to record the full range of audio information on these albums? And then I suppose I could load those cd's on my computer and convert the ones I want to either mp4 or apple lossless format to get it on my ipod.

The other possibility is to record directly from the phonograph into a computer. I know I need an amplifier or preamp. Could I use our current Onkyo amplifier and somehow run those red and white cables into a computer or something intermediate that would run into the computer? If I did this, would it be losing musical data - or is there a way to set it to not compress it. (As a side note, it might be nice to use software that removes any cracks and hisses).

Or perhaps I should buy a digital turntable and just plug it into my desktop?

Then the next set of questions - what input jacks do I need on my computer to do this? If I use my current stereo system, I am not going to want to move the whole thing upstairs to my desktop - or move the desktop down to the stereo - or run cables up two floors and run back and forth to coordinate recording. So if I use my current stereo, I think I'll need to record to a laptop. And I'm about to buy a new laptop (and take advantage of back to school specials) - but don't know what inputs I need on a laptop. I haven't found any with line-in audio. Do I need a separate sound card - or can I do this with an integrated sound card. (Oh - and I don't really have any idea what I'm talking about with sound cards - just dimly remembering hearing about them.)

On my desktop I have a red input jack that is looks like the symbol for a microphone. On the back there are more input jacks - orange, blue, white and black - with symbols I don't recognize (and the light green speaker out jack I do recognize).

To some extent it's easier to do all the recording in the living room where the current stereo and albums are - but I know my old laptop won't work.

I just don't know if I have equipment that will do the job - or I need something more (cables, preamp, specific qualities in my new laptop, software). Any help is appreciated.

Thank you.


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Mr.Alexandra to ride the albums you must have a CD drive in your computer if it is there then put album CD in drive and copy those files in to your computer.You n=must have speakers to audible the songs and the corresponding sockets muet be plugged to respective sockets.Enjoy wit your albums...
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    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 1:59PM
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For the best recording you should be relatively close to your computer.
You can use a laptop if it has the proper sound type input. You should use LIN (line in) instead of MIC. MIC may not be stereo.
If you will be using your PC, and your turtable has a magnetic cartridge you can get a pre-amp for about $10 at Radio Shack. This eliminates having to have PC close to the stereo.
You will need an adapter from the pre-amp or your stereo RCA plugs to a miniature stereo plug to plug into your PC.
Software several products on the market - Audacity is one and its free! Cool Edit 2000 is another one. Follow instructions provided with the software to capture the audio.
I wouldn't burn any CD until you are happy with the captured result.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 10:50PM
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Well it is a confusing audio world these days. My die hard audiophile friends would not think of listening to the digital sound of a CD, with all its missing data between the sampled bits so consider yourselves lucky to have all those beautiful analogue vinyl albums.

I personally like the idea of digital, and its convenience....that said I would suggest a Google search on something like "records to CD" or one its many variations, and you will find many sites with step by step instructions. I have included just one of the URLs below for your reference which just may answer your question.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vinyl Records to CD

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Hi, I downloaded this software from the website listed below to record my albums and tapes to CD, using the computer. It was very easy to use. The program comes with audible instructions and wizards to walk you through it (including which jacks to use on your computer). It will automatically set the record level or you can adjust it however you like. It did not require a pre-amp...just plug in the tape deck to your computer. The turntable may or may not need a pre-amp, but the program will detect it, to let you know.I got the wire to hook it up at Radio Shack for just a few dollars. One end will have the RCA ends for your stereo equipment, and the other end will have the miniature jack for your computer. There was no loss of quality, and I was able to actually get a better sound on some songs with the built in equalizer. Hook the stereo equipment to the computer, put a blank CD-R disc in the drive, and the program will do the rest. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Record Albums to CD

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 9:34AM
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