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How To Turn Vinyl Into Mp3s

Turn your 78s into digital files, and reclaim the rare b-sides and awesome sound quality that come with vinyl.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Make sure your computer's sound input is assigned to the correct port—the one you plugged into. On a Mac, select System Preferences, Sound, Input, and Built-in. On a PC, select Control Panels and Sound/Audio Devices. Click the Audio tab, and set your port under Sound Recording. Choose the internal sound card, which will likely be Creative Labs.
  • Step 2: Use a stereo RCA to mini-plug cable to connect your amp to your computer. On the amp side, plug the cable into the
    tape/monitor channel or tape output. On the computer side, plug into the computer's round audio input port.
  • Step 3: Download software that will allow you to mark where your tracks should begin and end, either during the transfer process or after.
  • Step 4: Launch the software, click on "record," and play one side of an album in its entirety. When that side is finished, click "pause," turn the album over, click "pause" again, and play the second side. Then, use your software to delineate where tracks begin and end.
  • FACT: If you're pressed for time, there are services that will digitize your vinyl for a fee.
  • Step 5: When you've finished, consult your software guide to name and export your tracks to the music listening software of your choice.
  • Step 6: Pop a record onto the turntable and check the sound quality. If you're experiencing any hum, shut down and unplug your equipment. Then, re-position and tighten the grounding wire. When the grounding wire is correctly connected to the grounding screw, it will eliminate any ambient electrical hum during record playback.
  • Step 7: Plug your amp and phonograph into an electrical source, and turn them both on.
  • Step 8: Turn off and unplug your phonograph and amp.
  • Step 9: To get the best possible sound quality, you'll need to bridge the gap between your phonograph and your computer. Get your hands on an amplifier, mixer or receiver with a phono option. You don't need to shell out the big bucks. Second-hand equipment will work just fine.
  • Step 10: Use stereo cables, and insert the colored plugs into the corresponding colored holes on the back of the phonograph. Then, use the other end of the cable to connect the phonograph to the amp. There may be several ports on the amp. Be sure to connect specifically to the phono port.
  • Step 11: Locate the grounding screw on the back of your amp—it'll be marked by a symbol that looks like an upside down capital T with a few smaller dashes beneath it. Then take the Y-shaped end of the phonograph's grounding wire and attach it to the grounding screw. Secure it with a screwdriver.
  • TIP: If your phonograph doesn't have a pre-attached grounding wire, use an old speaker wire to connect the phonograph's grounding screw to the amp's grounding screw. Only do this while your system is turned off and unplugged.
  • : Before you adjust any hardware, make sure all electrical devices are turned off and unplugged.

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