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How to rip your records. by Jayson

by Jayson

If you’re like me and you’ve bought a bunch of LPs and 7″s because you thought it was going to somehow get you laid in college was cool you have a lot of music you can’t listen to. You might think you want to rip your records to a digital format, so you can listen to them on the train or something.

Here is how you do that:

Plug your record player’s output into your phono preamp. If you do not have a phono preamp go buy one, you can’t continue without.

Hook up the ground to the preamp.

Plug the preamp’s output to the computer. To do this you will need one of any number of things:

  • A analog to USB converter doohicky.
  • A fancy pants soundcard with stereo inputs.
  • A stereo to 3.5mm converter. This goes into the mic/line in jack on your computer. If you’re on a laptop you’re going to use the mic input.

Fire up your recording software.  You’re going to have to spend more money or jump through hoops here.

  • You can use Audacity, the free, open-source audio editor. Audacity does not support any proprietary audio formats, so it can’t do anything with AAC or WMA. It cannot even do anything with MP3s until you get the LAME MP3 plugin.
  • You could buy the much more full featured Goldwave for $50.
  • You can use Garageband if you rock it Mac style.
  • You can use the software that came with whatever fancy ass soundcard or USB converter doohickey you bought.

Open your program, poise your mouse over the ‘record’ button.

Drop the needle.

Hit record like a second or two after that. (This is hell of much easier if you have an automatic turntable, I do not.)

If you’re recording off 7″s this is pretty easy deal. You recorded your track, you flip the single over, boom. If recording off anything else you’re going to record it as one giant track, then have to break it up using your software.

Now you have your track(s) and your saying ‘These sound terrible.” That’s because your records are dirty. Every bit of dust in your apartment, tiny bits of cardboard from the record sleeve, fiber from your slipmat; all of these things have conspired to make your records pop and click.

You can try to clean your records, but you’re going to fail. Everything sticks to them, nothing will come off, ever. You can try compressed air, you can try record brushes, you’re not getting them clean. People who are super into vinyl use $500 record vacuum cleaners and brush their records with every play. You can build a record vac for around $50 but now we’re way over the Effort Threshold. You wanted to bump The Mevlins’ Four Letter Woman in the car, not become an even bigger geek with a new hobby that involves staying inside and obsessing over (more) things.

Run the ‘click reduction’ or ‘pop reduction’ in whatever program you’re using.

Listen to your tracks again, that didn’t do anything, did it? Nope. Not a damn thing. From here you can either put on your Jr. Sound Engineer hat and slog it out or you can try the following:

Listen to death n’ roll while blogging about what you just failed to accomplish.

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Hey. I _know_ you.

Comment by John Callender

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