Converting Vinyl to digital

I saw an interesting unit in JC Penny's today. For $99 you get a record player and you can feed your LPs to either a computer or burn a CD. While this is probably not the best choice for an audiophhile, I am curoius what is out their that will do this to satisfy at an audiophile level.
do a search in the forums under " cd recorder" and this will bring up some past threads about this.
Unless you have a lot of free time, the effort is not worth the result. Great analogue sound is never reproduced from a CD/ Best to keep the vinyl and a top rated turntable. If you want to hear what a top rated conversion of an lp to cd/hard drive would be look into having just one, your most listened to lp done by the many professional services that do just that. Then compare to understand what if any benefit you get.

Back in the cave man days we used reel to reel tape decks to put our LPs onto.

on the same tact as the $99 record player with USB, there are more upscale LP spinners with the same USB interface.

past reel to reel, a sound card like an M Audio 24/192 has analog inputs and comes with decent software for importing tape, cassettes, or any other analog info. It runs around $165 to $199 NEW.

buc's idea of the time is right on too... it's a labor intensive afair for sure. A fair amount of people are doing just this idea of convertnig LPs to digital these days for routine playback, and twisting up wax for those special times.

Good luck.
I'm not sure I'd say that it's all that time-consuming and there are certainly many times when I want a CD of my most frequently listened-to LPs. once I've recorded the LP to HD, it just takes a minute to do the fade-ins/outs and the 'bounce to disk' (Protools) doesn't require any attention once you've clicked the mouse.

and, compared with past recording technologies involving tape, the complete absence of hiss as well as the ability to make duplicates almost instantly are great.

the biggest issue for me is that every time I improve my TT setup, it means that I could get better CDs if I went back and did them all again...

Can you add specifics to your response - What other hardware (if any) do you need to run protools? Are coming out from your preamp into the computer? Can you then import to iTunes?

I am looking for answers to this question too. I used to have an Alesis Masterlink, but wasn't really happy with that one.


I have no direct experience with it, but the Apogee Duet has garnered some pretty good reviews for doing just what you want in a small package and with excellent a/d conversion. It is also called out for it's excellent DAC section. Again, no direct exposure to it. It is targeted at pro-audio, like most devices in the realm of what you are seeking, and is strictly a MAC/Firewire device. The hardware interfaces are pro-audio (1/4" plugs and XLR inputs) so you would need adapters. Since you did not list your hardware I don't know if that is appropriate. The other one that comes to mind is the Focusrite Saffire recently mentioned it the TAS digital issue. Again, a pro tool with pro interface in both hardware and software (you would need to be a bit tech savvy to use it). Sweetwater has plenty of choices in various interface devices. The one I found there that actually uses RCA plugs and is relatively simplistic is here, but I don't know anything about it, and I think it is relatively new. It uses a USB interface, along with RCA in/out. No more expensive than your JC Penny device.
hi Chris -

I use protools because it's what came with my 'Mbox' so you do need the Mbox. this is a downside of protools: dedicated hardware - that other software doesn't require. that being said, Mboxes are ubiquitous and used ones can be found for well under $200 with ease.

once I've recorded the LP, using the best resolution my protools version has (24/48 WAV file) I convert it to a 'redbook' standard (16/44) 'aiff' file; then I can import the file to itunes.

at the risk of starting a riot...

perhaps it's a function of the A-D filter in the protools or the DAC in my CDP (or both), but, in some ways, my CDs that I make from LPs sound better to my (clearly flawed) ears than the LPs, especially in the bass. and I realize this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
oops - I forgot to answer:

I run from preamp to mbox, which is connected (USB) to the computer.

Just wondering what the difference would be if you have a preamp with a tape out , a cd / recorder, turntable and while the record is playing , recording it to cd. Once the album is finished, take the cd to the computer, use a program called NERO to convert the audio files to AIFF or WAV files and then can either burn it to cd or can use a program like Audacity or Goldwave where you can edit the recording ( remove pops, ticks, etc..) and then once finished burn to cd.
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The main problem with the JC Penny rig is that you are limited to the sound that will be produced by that turntable and cartridge which probably is not that good. So you will be recording the sound of a crappy turntable and you will get a crappy sounding CD as well.

I have gotten some great results and many of the best sounding CDs in my collection were recorded by me from vinyl. The cool thing about it is that you get as good of a recording as you have for playback. So the better the table, arm, cart and phono stage, the better the recording.

You do need a good AD converter as well to get a great recording. I am using a Wadia 17 AD converter fed from the tape out of my preamp and then digtial via AES/EBU to an Alesis Masterlink recorder. I edit the album sides into individual tracks and then burn a CD of it which I rip via itunes into my computer. It takes about 10 minutes to edit the recording so you can burn a CD from it. There are some other options that might be a little quicker on the editing side of things but the Masterlink works pretty good and if used with a good outboard AD converter you can get great sound from it too. The weak link of the Masterlink itself is the AD conversion, but since it has a digital input you can just bypass it by using a better outboard AD converter.

I'm not saying that the CD recordings sound better than actually listening to the vinyl but they sound better than most CDs you buy assuming you've got a nice playback rig. It is a little trouble but it's fun and the sound you get is worth it.

It's pretty hard to do comparisons between different phono carts for example but if you get a recording made from them then you contrast the differences easily by comparing the recordings made to CD.
"Great analogue sound is never reproduced from a CD"

My Lp rips to CD sound just as good if not better than my Lps. I can turn my amp off during recording to avoid acoustic feedback and also run digital click removal software on the rips.

I get excellent results recording from my BAT preamp to an M-Audio Audiophile USB. I use Audacity on a Macbook for recording and Clickrepair to clean up the sound a bit.
hi Riley,

I don't know what difference it makes to use different software/hardware since I'm completely satisfied with what I have (I actually bought the Mbox for recording live music) and have no urge to 'upgrade' or do A-B comparisons. as far as all the various noise-removal software goes, nearly all my LPs have so little noise - and I'm not bothered by what noise there is or I'd find a better copy - that I don't do any editing except fades (in and out).

one last thing: I save all the 24/48 WAV files so when I go to a HD-based hi-rez USB DAC, my digitized LPs will sound even better!
Musicslug - thanks for the info. Great thread...... I am curious about the hi-rez Tascam CD recorder too. They make one (forget the model) that records DSD and 24 bit data. It seems like it could be a pretty cool piece too....

Thanks for all the great responders here. My situation is that I upgraded my TT from a Thorens with Lin Basik arm and artridge to a Project Perspective TT with Sumiko Blue Point cartridge that I bought from someone local. We packed it up and when I got home, the weight and end of the arm broke off. I was able to glue it back on but, I can't help but, believe that I am not getting wonderful performance on this rig. When I checked with the manufacturer, I found that it would cost > 800 to replace the arm. Rather than spend the $$$ fixing up, buying a decent record cleaning machine I figured it would be less costly and simpler to record my LPs to CD and stick with CD. My system:

Vandy 3aSigs
Eastern Electric CD
TAD 150 Signature pre
Tad 125 monos
Project Perspective TT

Have you thought about picking up another table , maybe something like a Technics that will get you by until you can get this one fixed ? Might want to check Craigslist and see if anything local is available.

I take it that you sold the other table ?

Sent some info to you and not sure if you ever got it ?
I have just started a project of converting LPs to Cds and can offer the following. I am using a process similar to EjLif and am happy with the results. As with any "audiophile" system the result is as good as the components and between the vinyl and finished burned CD there are a lot of pieces; TT, Stylus, cartridge, vinyl quality, phono preamp/DAC, computer interface & software, editing software, Cd burner, all cables, etc. There are different levels of audiophilia and you need to determine what satisfies you but in general I found the $99 all-in-one solutions I've seen are not great.

If your TT is adequate you should expect to be able to reproduce the quality you get from it, no more. If you are not happy with that audio quality level you need to upgrade there first. I'm finding that my finished CDs sound the same as when I connect my TT directly to my system. Fortunately my old TT and cartridge are very adequate. From there I go into a Project II USB unit and then into my computer via USB. For recording and ripping I use LP Recorder and LP Ripper by CFB Software. In order to have any audio quality at all you must use WAV files and/or Apple Lossless in iTunes. I edit the tracks with the LP Ripper software and pull them into iTunes. I have the Wave Corrector DeClick software which does a great job getting rid of pops but I have decided not to use it as it seems to reduce sound quality just a bit. If I have pops I try to correct them at the source if possible or live with them if not. In ITunes I edit the track names and burn. I also do a few things to pull in artwork and then use SureThing CD Labeler to make CD and case labels.

For me to get better results I need to upgrade my TT and then DAC. If I invest more in a TT upgrade I would probably jump into listening to vinyl directly too.
I have a Tascam CC222MkII CD recorder unit that does a wonderful job with not only album transfers but also direct transfers from cassettes (I have a lot of cassettes and a lot of albums).

Can't take an album to a party, in the car, or on vacation so CD it is. Well worth the effort for me.
Just riped 75. albems using a stanton usb turntable I bought used paid 80.00 for sold it for 100.00 when done.did a fantastic job.lots of software available on net,by piro too several weeks but worth it.just remember garbage in garbage out get a good unit and cartridge.
I have a DAK-2800PC that I modified by changing the caps to Nichicon. In regard to the turntable cartridge you will get whatever results they normally deliver. I use a rega P-3-24 and a Grado Sonata cartridge. I can not tell CD from vinyl when playing back from the computer.