Converting Vinyl to MP3 - An Easy User Guide
You may have to dig out your sound card manual or go online to find which jack is the audio input of your soundcard. Plug the mini end of the cord into this.
Note, plug the black cord into the blue jack. This is an early picture. The other cord is for speakers, which you will also need, but I hope you figured that one out.
At this point you have the hardware set up. I also recommend that you get a big bottle of record cleaning solution. You're going to need it, and a clean record is going to give you the best recording, because the noise reduction and pop removal functions of Audacity are just "okay" at best. More on this later.
1. When you download Audacity, you will have to go to preferences to set it up for stereo recording, and then change the values to get the best (read:highest) bit-rate available. So go to Edit, Preferences, and set your stuff up under the following tabs:
Under the Channels pulldown, select 2(stereo)
Default Sample Rate should be put to the highest selection. There is an "other" button. I don't know what this means. I know that my mp3s that I get out of here are 128 mbps, which suits me fine.
There are other things you can change, and the Audacity Help website through the software can explain this to you. This is just the quick and dirty to get you set up.
Singles take more of your time to do, because you have to pause in between sides, but whole albums are better because you can actually wash the dishes or do other household chores while one side plays.
Put your record on. Hit the record button. This isn't like making a tape where you didn't want the scritch or the time before the first song. You will edit all that out later.
Between sides, press the PAUSE button. If you press stop, you’re done with that file.
Labeling Songs and Exporting to MP3
Once you’re done with both sides, go back to the beginning and mark the beginnings of each song. To do this, use the selection tool (it looks like an I, sort of) and click to where you want the beginning of the song to be. You can use the Zoom tool (magnifying glass) to zoom in (right click) or out (left click) on the song to be more precise in your location selection. Then go up to the menus, select Project, Add Label At Selection. A text box will appear. Sometimes, you can start typing, other times you have to use the selection tool to click on the text box. For some reason, on the computer I use in the basement, the lower case Z will not work.
Sometimes I forget that I had side 1 going, and get down to the basement about 5 minutes after its done. Just record the second side, then after it's all done, as you're labeling, you can select the dead air and hit the delete button. Make sure you delete the area before you add a label, or it screws up the labels where the dead air used to be. For example, I can label all the songs on side 1. Then, there's a huge space between the end of the last song on side 1 and the beginning of the first song on side 2. Select the area you want to delete (making sure you don't cut out the fade from the last song on side 1 - turn the volume up and listen), delete it, then continue labeling the songs on side 2.
Once you get done labeling all of the songs, go to File, Export Multiple, and the software will open up another menu. Select mp3 or wav as the format. It will then ask you for the Artist and Name of the Album. You can also put year of release and any other info you want to add to each file. When you hit "okay" it will place the files in a directory you specify. The software will divide your files up nicely.
It should take you about 2 hours to initially set things up and get your first recordings. I save all my files to a directory, by album name, then make a data disc using Nero. I can then transfer the files to my iTunes on my upstairs computer by importing each file. I then have all the vinyl saved neatly on CD-ROM.
Let me know if you have any questions.