what phono pre are you using to do this? I am interested in doing this as well.
I don't have an outboard phono pre as such. I'm hoping to run whatever connecting cables are involved out of the headphone jack of my HT Receiver like I've done with the Xitel program on my Windows based machine. On the Xitel Inport Deluxe, there's a supplied RCA left and right channel into USB line included with some sort of step up device (a small grey box) wired in between the RCA jacks and the USB connector. I picked up a RCA left/right into stereo headphone jack adaptor and got very good "iTunes grade" recordings via this route on my other computer. I'm assuming there is a similar way of doing this on a Mac but thus far haven't pinned down anything definite in the usual Mac forums.....lots of "I think this might work for you" type chatter but nothing definitive.
"GarageBand" came with your Mac and will handle the software but you may want something more powerful. Audacity is a free program that offers a bit more and there are many pro level programs since the Mac is the choice of the pros. The full blown versions are expensive but most offer a stripped down version that will be more than enough for recording 2 channels and the outboard Analog/digital converters usually come with Mac software. I would go with a firewire model since Apple has embraced that interface.
On the cheap you can feed analog straight into the iMac and use GarageBand, no cost. Beyond that there are a ton of analog/digital converters and programs available. Go to Musicians Friend website to see the scope. Apogee Duet gets good reviews as mid/high level unit at $500 but I have no personal experience.
Visit the vinyl asylum at AudioAsylum.com and search around for some good ideas.
I have use several USB interfaces and had good luck with the M-Audio Audiophile USB and one the Edirol UA-25. Both can record at 24/96 with proper drivers installed. The Edirol has the advantage that you don't need special drivers if you only want to record at 44.1 or 48 kHz; it uses the Mac's built-in Core Audio functionality, which is quite good.
For recording software, I have used CD Spin Doctor, the recording software that comes bundled with Roxio's Toast, as well as Bias Inc's Peak LE. The latter is a high-end professional package with some of the more exotic features disabled. Given its ancestry, the quality of the active features is excellent. I think it runs around $150 (compared to $500 or more for the pro version). From a practical standpoint, it has a recording timer, so you don't have to be there when the record stops playing. Without this, the software would just continue filling up your hard drive with the sounds of silence until you get back to turn it off. I have not used the Audacity fee-ware, but I have heard good things about it.
For getting rid of pops, I highly recommend Bias Inc's Sound Soap 2.0. It seems to be able to recognize these very fast transients and take them out without disturbing the rest of the music. It also can take out background noise, but there it has a harder time distinguishing signal from noise and you lose some of the ambiance of the hall, etc. This is a problem with ANY approach to background noise removal and is not specific to Sound Soap.
Just to update in case anyone's interested, I'm getting the vinyl into iTunes now! In my particular case, I cobbled together a transfer line between my Music Hall MMF 5 turntable and the iMac consisting of, (1) an FJB-200X phono pre-amp from BBE sound Inc. (available at a variety of guitar/musician shops), (2) the approx. 30' left and right RCA line that came with my old Inport Deluxe package minus the small grey step up box and USB adaptor, spliced with 2 Radio Shack RCA male-to-male couplers and a little electricians tape onto (3) a 7 ' "iCable" (from the local Apple Store and manufactured by Monster) which adapts the left and right RCA connections down into the small stereo plug required by both the audio in and audio out ports on the back of my iMac. Once I had this route between turntable and Mac audio in established, I experimented around with Garage Band enough to figure out that it's more of a multitracking type musician's thingie than what I'm up to messing with for just recording records and tapes and I proceeded to download the free Audacity program. After a bit of going back and forth between the Audacity application itself and tutorial resources online which allowed me to get the audio routes in and out to the onboard iMac speakers to be monitored squared away, I've put a couple of albums from my vinyl collection into iTunes now and, for my purposes (non-critical listening but "very good" quality to play thru my home stereo while I'm doing my graphics work on the iMac) I couldn't be happier!