While some of the most expensive vinyl record players include a converter to get your vinyl’s audio onto your digital devices, the vast majority of record players today do not. However, there is a simple, low-cost workaround that only takes a few minutes to set up and start recording so you can save your vinyl collection to your computer. This method makes use of Audacity, a free piece of software that allows you to import your vinyl collection onto your computer or phone.
Part 1 Preparing
1. Collect your materials. For a list of what you’ll need, see Things You’ll Need below. You’ll need an external microphone if your computer doesn’t have one built in. A cheap microphone with a basic 1/8-inch jack will suffice, but a professional microphone with an XLR input is preferable. If you go with the XLR option, you’ll need a mixing console or an XLR-to-1/8-inch cable to connect the mic to your computer’s microphone port.
You will also require a digital audio workstation. The programme being used in the images in this guide is Audacity.
2. Position your microphone. Point your microphone directly at your speakers, about an inch away from the speaker grill.
3. Launch your digital audio workspace and create a new session for the first song.
Click Tracks>Add New>Stereo Track.
Part 2 Recording
1. Click the red “Record” button on your workspace and start playing your record’s first song.
Make sure your microphone input near the top toolbar is the microphone you would like to use too!
2. Record your song, then stop your record player and the recording once the first song is over.
3. Save your project and make sure to name your file as the song title or Track Number.
Click File>Save Project>Save Project As
4. Start a new session for the next song, then add another track.
Click File>New, followed by Tracks>Add New>Stereo Track.
5. Repeat the process of recording, saving, and creating new sessions for each song you wish to save.
Part 3 Editing
1. Check the sound levels for each track you recorded. The blue waveforms should consistently peak between 0.5 and 1.0 of the decibel meters (the two boxes containing the soundwaves).
2. Amplify any quiet songs.
Double click the track, followed by Effect>Amplify>New Peak Amplitude at 1.0 and check the “allow clipping” box.
3. Quieten any loud songs.
Double click the track and select the “Envelope” tool at the top of the screen. Click and drag the track downwards to an appropriate level.
Part 4 Exporting
1. Export the track in an easy-to-read file format (WAV or MP3). Properly name the track with song, album, and artist info.
Click File>Export>Export as WAV or MP3 (your choice – WAV allows for higher quality audio but an MP3 file will save space).
2. Click and drag the finished files into your computer’s music library program (such as iTunes) to import them.
3. Connect your phone to your computer. Download the vinyl tracks to your phone via syncing your music library to the computer’s library.
For iTunes, connect your phone to your computer, then click “Sync Music” on the iTunes dashboard.
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