What is the easiest way to digitize my records?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Phono Groove, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Phono Groove

    Phono Groove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Montreal, Quebec
    I want to digitize some lp's but I want to know what is the easiest way to go about this? I have a sl-1200mkII , graham amp 2 phono stage ( no usb ) and a mac mini computer. For the connection part, do I need a phono pre with a usb connection? In terms of software, what do I need to have?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  2. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Gary7704 likes this.
  3. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    You should consult one the many existing threads on this topic. Try searching "needledrop".

    Just don't be scared off by all the hyper-anal people that make it seem like rocket science. It's not hard to get good results, and it's a lot of fun.
  4. Gaslight

    Gaslight Cave dwelller

    Northeast USA
    You just need a way to get from your RCA outs on your phono stage to the Mini.

    If the Mini has a line in, then your standard RCA to 3.55mm plug should work. And then you can use whatever software you want - Audacity is pretty good + it's open source / free to use.
  5. TerryB

    TerryB Forum Resident

    Calais, VT
    Get a Tascam (or similar) handheld digital recorder. Record straight from the preamp, then connect to the Mac mini and split tracks in Audacity (free software).
  6. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    I have a Harmon Kardon CD burner that I record to using CD-RW Music discs, then I rip, erase, and reuse. It's not for the purists but it works perfectly for my purposes.
  7. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Get a Y-cable (dual RCA to single 3.5 mm) and run it from your pre-amp to the mike jack on your Mac (I assume it has one, I don't use Mac). Install Audacity or an equivalent recording program for Mac. Start recording in Audacity and play the record. There are noise removal and click removal tools in Audacity, and you can insert track labels and split the file into individual tracks. Or if you want to spend a little more money you can get Click Repair software and use that to remove clicks, pops, and crackle. Tag the files with Mp3Tag. I can rip an album to FLAC and have it complete with tags in about an hour, including the time it takes to play the album. It's a very simple process.
  8. quicksrt

    quicksrt Forum Resident

    City of Angels
    I also like the "set levels and hit the record button" method, it's just so simple and easy, and you get great quality.
  9. Phono Groove

    Phono Groove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Montreal, Quebec

    I guess i'll do this , I already have audacity so I am a bit familiar with it. What about dynamic range, is it something that can be adjusted ?
  10. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    No, not that I'm aware of. Unless you're referring to the volume level at which you record - that can be adjusted within Audacity. Basically you've got to look at the waveform as the recording takes place and make sure that you're getting everything - if the input level in Audacity is set too high, it'll get cut off. And you can adjust the loudness of the recording after it's done but I don't bother. If you do attempt it, adjust it very sparingly. But I think it's better to just experiment a bit - play a portion of the record and adjust the input level so that you're getting the whole range but it's not too quiet.
  11. stetsonic

    stetsonic Forum Resident

    Kouvola, Finland
    Just a reminder - when using a handheld recorder, it should be noted that some of them have dual function inputs (switchable between line-level and mic). At least Zoom H1 has mic preamps on by default.
  12. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    Another important reminder: the less expensive handhelds cannot handle a true line level signal. A work around may be required.
  13. Mel Harris

    Mel Harris Audiophile since 1970!

    Petaluma, CA
    In my experience, quality transfers are never easy.
    Cliff likes this.
  14. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    East Coast, USA
    If possible, leave the digital record volume slider in Audacity set to 100% and adjust record volume using the line in gain control on the Mac. Audacity has a record level meter that you can display. Set record volume such that peaks hit -6 dB. If you wish you can amplify it up to 0 dB after recording.
    tvstrategies likes this.
  15. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I've done a few conversions and have gotten good results via the following method:
    • Play the record and record each side to a recordable CD.
    • Rip each track on the CD as a WAV file.
    • Use an audio editing program to cut the sides into individual tracks.
    • Run each track through the audio editing program to reduce pops, ticks and surface noise without affecting the music itself.
    • Convert the tracks into a compressed audio format (I used MP3 then, I'd use FLAC now) and add the metadata.
    • Enjoy.
    Victor/Victrola likes this.
  16. JBStephens

    JBStephens Forum Resident

    South Mountain, NC
    Send them to me.

    Well, you did say EASIEST. :D
  17. USB Turntable.


    (no comment about quality)
  18. Eric Lunneborg

    Eric Lunneborg New Member

    Wood Village, OR
    They are not too bad. I got an older ION TTUSB specifically for that purpose. The tonearm on it is similar to my pioneer PL117D.
  19. RPM

    RPM Well-Known Member

    Easter Island
    Audacity: View > Show clipping - check
  20. Eric Lunneborg

    Eric Lunneborg New Member

    Wood Village, OR
    +1. I too use Audacity.
  21. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    In just a few months it will be using the new Sugarcube SC2 device. It removes pops and clicks, records direct to a flash drive, has it's own database to find the correct album, add all meta data, separate out the tracks, and save to the format of your choosing. There's also an SC1 unit that only does the click and pop removal.

    I sat through a demo of these a few weeks back and was very impressed. I will be getting the SC2 at a steep discount by purchasing through their indiegogo funding start up.

    Here's a link to that wpage hich includes the various purchase options and a video on the Sugarcube device.

    Here's the Sweet Vinyl site with just the rundown on the Sugarcube:
    Welcome to Sugar Cube »
    Gaslight and Phono Groove like this.
  22. marcob1963

    marcob1963 Forum Resident

    A lot of hard work in fact.
  23. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Northern VA, USA
    Getting set up can be a lot of hard work but once you have a good workflow in place and good hardware it's easy peasy. IME at least.
  24. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Northern VA, USA
    So much good advice here!!!!! This is why this forum is so great.

    OP: You wrote "digitize" - what's your end game - high quality FLACs? MP3s? A CD? That's going to be important in recommending workflow.

    The EASIEST is what dkmonroe posted - get a cable and connect to your Mac, make sure you have it set for line level input, and go to town using Audacity. I also use and ClickRepair and MP3Tag and I echo his recommendations on those specific pieces of software - they are essential!

    Be aware that very often with computer audio interfaces input level controls are digital, so it's not like gain on an analog tape recorder - if you turn up the level you're just removing bit depth and raising the noise floor. I recommend no matter what your end game is you should leave ALL level controls at +/-0 and capture at 24 bit. You can adjust levels after the fact. Apesbrain's very good recommendation to "Set record volume such that peaks hit -6 dB" will most likely be met. You can normalize after the fact. My music peaks are usually in the -9dB range with non-music "tick and pop" peaks higher.

    I create CDs/MP3s with my needle drops and I always record at 44.1KHz/24 bit so that I retain the entire S/N but don't have to dither to make CDs. If your end result is a 44.1/16 WAV for CD or MP3 or even FLAC then record at 44.1KHz/24 bit for your capture. That's a tip I learned here on this forum.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2016
    dkmonroe likes this.
  25. Phono Groove

    Phono Groove Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Montreal, Quebec

    I've seen Michael Fremer's video on this, looks amazing pricy though but it is something that makes digitizing very convenient that's for sure!

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