Subsciber Janet Walker wrote to me recently to ask:
Bought some old long playing record albums at a yard sale and would like to put them on a CD to save space and then get rid of the old records. What program do I need that would plug into my old record player and into my computer so I could download them and write them to disk?
I wrote back to Janet to point her to an article I had already written about Converting Vinyl LP Records to Digital, and to give her some more information
Although this article was focused on converting to .mp3 files, that’s not the format you’d need for burning to a music CD, assuming a music CD is your goal.
To do that, first, you would need to convert the LP record into WAV format (which is usually a step in getting to MP3 format).
You will also need CD burning software that is capable of burning "Red Book audio" — which is the format of information on the music CD. It’s not just a matter of writing a WAV file to the CD, because the PC-readable data CD format is not the same as the format of a music CD.
Your PC would be able tot read either format, but not in the same way. You’ve heard of "ripping a CD" into .mp3 format. This is the opposite direction — putting digital music files into the special format of music CDs.
Having said that, I think even the freebie CD-burning software that comes with separately purchased CD drives, such as Nero Lite, can burn music CD’s. I think Windows Media Player can, too, but I don’t use it often and never have for that function.
Janet wrote back to say
Thanks, I have the free NetZero, and windows media player. What kind of wires do I need from the stereo to the computer?
I’m not sure what she thinks her NetZero free dialup internet connection (which is free for 10 hours per month) has to do with this conversion. Perhaps she was thinking about streaming audio, which is not what we were discussing.
The real answers to her questions depend upon her stereo and her computer. It depends on what kind of connectors are on the stereo for output and on the computer for input.
Probably you will need RCA plugs on for the stereo and stereo mini-plug for the plug-in on the computer’s sound card, assuming you have a line-in on the sound card and a stereo RCA plug line out on the stereo..
If your stereo’s output is for a pre-amp, an some are, you’ll need an actual preamp. The number 1 problem that I had when I converted some old LP records to digital was a phenomenon called ground hum. This is a loud 60 cycle-per-second (in the US) hum that is caused by voltage differences in the power to the different pieces of equipment connected.
You might want to consider one of the Ion turntables which are designed to connect directly to your computer via USB input and come with some free software.
The software that I use to record and edit audio is not free, but is not very expensive. The program I use is called GoldWave (www.goldwave.com).