Things You Will Need
- Turntable with audio-out jack (either in turntable or through an audio receiver)
- Audio cable from turntable to computer (most likely 1/4-inch RCA to 1/8-inch line in)
- Audio recording software, such as QuickTime Player
- MP3 conversion software, such as iTunes
Audiophiles claim the best sound quality still comes from vinyl records, but it is difficult to carry your turntable around with you. These steps will guide you through the process of copying your vinyl records to MP3-formatted audio files, either for backup or portability.
- Connect the audio cable from the turntable's audio-out jack to the audio-in jack of your computer. If you have a choice for audio output, you'll get better results with a quarter-inch jack than with an eighth-inch jack. Audio input on your computer is typically an eighth-inch plug (the same size as on headphones), or USB. Use the eighth-inch plug if you have one; otherwise you'll need to purchase a converter plug to convert the audio signal into USB input.
- Launch the audio recording software on your computer. QuickTime Player (free from Apple for Windows and Mac) will work fine, but if you have a preferred application, feel free to use it as long as it saves audio files as AIFF or WAV.
- Begin recording in your audio software, and start playing the song on the turntable. If your recording software offers "audio playthrough," turn it on so you can listen to the music as it is being recorded. Otherwise, just wait until you think the song is over; don't worry if you run overtime, as you can trim it later.
- Listen to the recording you just made to see if the volume and dynamic range is acceptable. If not, connect your cable to an amplifier or audio receiver (if it isn't already), and adjust the output settings, then repeat step 3.
- Drag the recording into your MP3 management software (such as iTunes). Nearly all MP3 software will accept AIFF and WAV files, and have an option to convert these files to MP3. Consult your software's help files to find the specific name of this command ("Create MP3 Version" in iTunes 9, for example), or if you need assistance with the conversion options.
- Listen to the final MP3, again listening to see if the quality is acceptable. If not, repeat step 5 with higher quality options, such as increasing the bit rate.
- If necessary, use your MP3 player's cropping tools to adjust the beginning and end of the track, and cut excess audio from the recording. (In iTunes, this is Get Info > Options, where you can set the start time and end time.)