Best way to copy LPs to CD's using a Computer

Please help! I want to transfer many of my lp's to digital and onto CDs. What software programs have you used that you could recommend and what would you suggest as the best way to connect from the integrated amp to the computer to transfer the signal?
There are lots of programs available at your favourite computer store. Cakewalk Pyro, for example, is one that I have.

You should also check this out:

These guys make a program called LP Ripper and one called LP Recorder (You need both). You can download a trial version for free and try it out. If you like it, you can buy it online and have the complete program downloaded. It's pretty easy to use and works very well.
While it's quite possible to do it and there are a number of software programs that will handle the conversion, I would definitely do a trial first to see if it's worth it to you.

I converted about 75 lp's to digital, burned them to CD's and, in the end, it felt like a major waste of time. The process is very labor intensive and not nearly as simple to do well as the software vendors would have you believe.

If you have music you love that isn't available on CD then it may be worth it but I would take advantage of a trial version of the software if it's available to gauge the level of effort it's going to require.
I have recorded MANY lps from my preamp to my minidisc then digitized to my Mac laptop. Or, directly from the pre into the MAC. The program sells for $100 and it is called Toast titanium, within is disc doctor which is used for analog to digital. Easy and sounds great. It is available for PCs as well.
Of course you can then make CD copies.
Good luck, let us know what you do.
Beyond the software, the question is: what level of fidelity are you trying to acheive? If you are after really high fidelity, I would recommend getting an extenal analog to digital converter like Apogee. Alot depends on how you convert the signal to digital. I don't know much about differences between software.
Thank you for your terrific responses. As I am looking through the suggestions you've made it seems as most are for the Mac platform. I am PC based. I'll read further at each site, because I know that Roxio the devlops Toast can be used on PC.

Thank you again for your help!!
I converted about 75 lp's to digital, burned them to CD's and, in the end, it felt like a major waste of time. The process is very labor intensive and not nearly as simple to do well as the software vendors would have you believe.
me too. I tried multiple sw packages, but it's so much work I ended up punting. It's probably something you do for a handful of LP's that you can't buy on CD, but IMO not worth the effort - especially given the results won't be as good as a production cd.

I suggest you try a few options before making a major investment.
Jcbach, yes Roxio is what I used, on a Mac, and Toast is one of the applications you'll need but the real work is in extracting the individual tracks from the one long track you'll get from each side of an analog album. That requires another application that came with Toast called Spin Doctor, I think.

In theory, the software is smart enough to find the end and beginning of the tracks and separate them but I found that never worked well enough to be useful and it was absolutely necessary to go through each long digital track manually and separate the song tracks.

If you're satisfied to just have one long track for each side of the album you don't need to do that but that means you'll have to 'search' for individual songs in the same way you would with a cassette tape.

Another problem is that unless you're monitoring the conversion process closely, in real time, you'll find small glitches in the digital copy later that you have no way to go back and fix.

That process, combined with having to fiddle with the equalization and noise reduction for most albums is the reason I found the process not to be worth the effort, compounded by the fact that almost everything was available on CD, anyway.

But, again, if you have music you can't get a copy of any other way, go for it.
I have been trying to find a high fidelity way to do this for years, but i've never found a well documented example.

There is much more than just the software choice. What is more important is the hardware.

Hardware wise - How can we get our LP music to the computer with the absolute most minimum comprimise? Spdif clearly is not an option for high fidelity, there must be some better way.
For PC based, you might want go look at DC6 by Tracer Technologies. Google on their website.
If you buy an analog-digital converter it will come with a software package. Go to pro audio sites like this to see what is available. The Lexicon Omega is a nice little unit that comes with CuBase LE, which is a very powerful program and widely used so there is a lot of support.

I agree that it is a real pain in the butt to do. Copying CDs is a breeze, hit the button and come back when you want, but LPs require your attention to start and stop the recording, you get one big file per side that must be broken apart if you want to name the songs, and then you have to type in the names of the songs. You have to monitor the levels too so it is almost but not quite clipping. Cds copy very quickly but you actually have to play the entire LP to copy it so it takes quite a bit of time. IMHO not something you want to do very often.
I would recommend you bypass the PC altogether and simply purchase a decent consumer-grade CD recorder. You can find 'em on Audiogon or FleaBay for a couple hundred bucks. Do all your transfers and then turn around and sell the unit for a minor loss. To me, that's the cheapest and easiest way to get the job done...

I have not found it to be a "big pain in the hoo-hoo" as some others have. For me, it is like the old days when one recorded a cassette- cue the LP, set the levels, re-cue and have a seat and enjoy the music as it is recording.
When I record, my plan is to listen to the LP, i.e., listen to the music. Normally, almost always, when I play an LP or CD, it is with the intention of listening and enjoying. If it's something that I wish to record for my iTunes library (so I can EASILY rip a CD for a friend and/or myself to listen in the car) I don't approach the process as a labor intensive act.
It involves a small amount of thinking and preparing, not as much as it has taken me to type this, BTW.
If there are 10 other things you'd rather be doing, rather than sitting, relaxing, listening, tapping your feet, feeling the hair on your neck rising, better yet- having someone else feeling the back of your neck, while you are ACTUALLY LISTENING TO THE MUSIC IN THEM THAR GRUUUVS, then I agree, it might seem like a pain in the arse. Better to go work on the car, mow the lawn, clean your gun, kick the dog, watch tv, check your stocks, pick your nose. Ripping a CD without even having to listen to it is truly a convenience.
I second RW's response. Four or five years ago I purchased a stand-alone component, Pioneer PDRW-8339, for several hundred dollars. I have not been disspointed. The unit has made hundreds and hundreds of CD's with audio quality very close to the vinyl source itself. I think that this particular unit may be discontinued, but I have seen them used on ebay for around $150. I am sure there are other similar brands that will also give you good results.
I have digitized hundreds of LPs with an iMic and the free software Final Vinyl. I have had excellent results. I have an Apple G5 and I'm not sure if the iMic/Final Vinyl is PC compatible.
I copy mine to vhs tape and keep it analogue all the way.
Interesting comments. Herman, I've used Tracer Technology's software (DC5) and setting levels wasn't too much of a hassle. Just like making a tape. Find the loudest passage (look at the grooves) and dial them in. DC5 lets you make an intermediate adjustment so if you don't use all the bits you can upscale it so it does. Not sure if that is sonically desireable or not. It is very easy to seperate songs using DC5 - very easy to graphically find the pauses b/t songs and insert breaks. As for song titles, you can often snag them online from a discography and copy/paste them in. It's good to choose software that has useful filters. DC5 can remove hum, surface noise, and pops and clicks. I mostly used it to remove pops and clicks, which you can either remove with an automatic filter, or for less sonic impact see them on the screen and "redraw" the waveform for that millisecond. It works really well.

For all these reasons, I WOULD recommend a PC application. Many of the consumer grade CD recorders require that you "stand by" during recording and hit a button to break the recording between songs. With a computer, or some of the better recorders (e.g. Alesis Masterlink) you can do that later. But it's easiest to do graphically, and for that the computer is superior. I would imagine that many consumer grade units do not allow post processing for pops and clicks. Plus, you already have a computer. Buy the ADC and resell that when you are done!

Best, Peter
Oregon - you said it! I enjoyed copying my vinyl to CD, as I was listening to new music and getting exposed to it. Make it part of the listening experience!

Goatwuss - I think the best way to make truly hifi reproductions is with an external, USB analog=>digital converter, like the Apogee.
The pain-in-the-butt factor is purely personal preference, and if I have the record I don't see much reason to digitize it as I would rather listen to the record when I'm home. I have over 2,000 CDs ripped so that is plenty of portable music if I want, not that I do that very much. I have made a few copies of OOP records on CD for friends, and I have some old cassettes of OOP stuff that I've digitized so that is nice, but for me, and that is the key, for me it is generally a pain to do. I've got maybe 3,000 LPs and I'm not going to live long enough to digitize them :>(

As for the spdif comment; the pro converters I mentioned above have USB and/or firewire outputs if that is a concern.

The fidelity from VHS tapes is clearly inferior. Check the specs. If just being analog is the criteria then 8-track is analog too.
I just had the PLEASURE of looking at your system- it's fantastic!
So, do all of you just happen to have your PC in the same proximity as your TT? Mine is not, and I realize it’s not the end of the world, but moving the TT and phono pre to the PC is another hassle. Is there a simpler way…to an IPod and then to the PC perhaps?
With a USB ADC and some USB repeaters, you might be able to get the signal some distance. Or run long interconnects from your preamp to the ADC. The software I've used allows you to push the record button - you can edit out a minute of blank space while you go cue up the record later.
It would be great to get some data on "High End" Analog to digital converters with no internal spdif, and including a USB output to PC. The unit must have RCA Stereo inputs to be fed from the preamp's tape out.

As of now, I know of none. Anyone?
I designed "THE RIPPER" solely for this purpose. And I made it as easy as possible to use. Basically, I started with a high quality and proven phono section (BUGLE), added a power supply, super regulation, volume control, and a headphone output. Oh yeah, it also has an ADC that spits out USB audio.

Plug and play with OS-X or XP. Just connect to USB port, wait a few seconds, that's it.

I have been using "Audacity" to make recordings, although there are plenty of other choices. Equalization and gain is already done in the phono stage, so no software processing is necessary. Save as WAV or MP3, whatever you want. All you need to do is adjust the analog volume control for proper input levels (use peak meters on the software).

That's it. No sound cards, no extra cables, no drivers. Just plug this in between your turntable and a USB port. And sell your other phonostage.

Hagtech - I checked out "THE RIPPER" on your website, and it looks great, assuming that you have a high output cartridge.

How would I be able to get this to work with my Denon DL103R at 0.25mv output? Do you have a device that is the same thing as "THE RIPPER" but without the phono section?


If you build the DIY version, you can set the phono gain to whatever you want. So it can handle MCs. If you want, I can build with higher gain and different loading (other than 47k). Or use a step-up.

Other possibility is that if you DIY you can leave out the phono section and just run line levels in.