Digitizing an LP at the Fine Arts Library
This tutorial will guide you through making a digital copy of a vinyl record. You must use media station 3 to digitize records.
Items Necessary to Use This Station
- LP you wish to digitize
- A pair of headphones (may be checked out at the circulation desk)
- A preamp and its associated cords (may be checked out at the equipment checkout desk)
- Removable media to take your file away (flash drive, DVD, hard drive)
- Time: your audio captures in real time. If you have an hour of audio an hour is required to capture it.
Setting Up the Equipment
The preamp comes with a USB cable and an RCA stereo audio cable, with a red and white plug at each end. You will only need the USB cable and the preamp.
Use the red and white stereo audio cables that extend from the back of the turntable and plug them into the "PREAMP PHONO LINE IN" inputs, matching the red connector with the red input and the white with the white.
Now find the thin cable with the forked end that extends from the back of the turntable and attach it to the preamp at the lead marked "GROUND." Loosen the thumbscrew enough to place the fork around the screw and then tighten it just enough to keep it in place.
Now look at the front of the preamp. Make sure that the "POWER" button is in the button out position. You should see a blue light.
Both the "INPUT" and "FILTER" buttons should be depressed to the in positions. Both of the yellow lights should be illuminated.
To hear what you record, plug headphones into the preamp. Set the "GAIN TRIM" on the preamp to zero.
Digitizing Your LP
The preamp is now set up and digitization can begin. Open the sound editing software "AUDACITY," which will record digital copies of your record.
On a Mac, select the "APPLICATIONS" folder from the dock. Scroll down to the "AUDACITY" folder and double-click to open it. Then double-click the Audacity Headphones icon. On the top menu click on Audacity and then "PREFERENCES." Make sure the "PLAYBACK" menu is set to "USB AUDIO CODEC."
If you're using a PC, you'll click the "START" button, and select "AUDACITY" within the list of programs. Click "OK" if you get a message from Audacity when you open the program. Go to "EDIT" them "PREFERENCES." Make sure the "PLAYBACK" menu is set to "USB AUDIO CODEC."
Now select "RECORDING" on the left menu. Check the boxes beside "OVERDUB," "HARDWARE PLAYTHROUGH" and "SOFTWARE PLAYTHROUGH." These playthrough options will allow you to hear what you're recording as you're recording it. Now click "OK."
Make sure the power cord to the record player is plugged in. Take out the record and place it on the turntable's platter and turn the power on. Make sure the turntable is set to the correct speed.
Now push "START/STOP" on the turntable. Lift the arm and find the part of the record you want to record. The outermost edge will be the beginning of the record.
In Audacity, click the "RECORD" button, then set the needle on the record.
The "CLIP SIGNAL" on the preamp should be green. If the light is solid red or alternating between green and red, turn the "GAIN TRIM" counterclockwise to get the green light steady.
You should now see the sound input represented by a wave in the Audacity software. The recording takes place in real time, so you'll need to wait while the music you want to record plays. To stop the recording, press the "STOP" button in Audacity.
Click "FILE" and choose "EXPORT." Type the name of your file in the "SAVE AS" box, and choose the destination - "DESKTOP," for example. Choose the audio format you want to save this file in. For a high-quality recording, which will be a large file, be sure that "WAV" is selected as the format. Click "SAVE." (You may type information about your recording under "VALUES" on the "EDIT METADATA" screen if you like, but this is not necessary.)
If you're trying to save this file as an MP3, which will create a smaller file of lesser quality, you may now get an error message saying you need a "LAME MP3 ENCODER" to save the file in an MP3 format. Simply click "DOWNLOAD" and follow the directions on Audacity's website.
The last step is to transport the file from the desktop to UT Webspace, to a flash drive, or burn it to a CD. Don't forget to return the preamp and cords to the equipment checkout desk and the headphones to the circulation desk.