[G4] Transfer Vinyl Audio to CD

Alex lists at lexial.ca
Wed May 18 19:26:34 PDT 2005

On May 18, 2005, at 19:36, John Erdman wrote:

> What's the current good choices for audio capture software compatible 
> with Tiger?

Can't do it on the cheap. Recording is easy -- Audacity


is a good tool, and it's free, but a good vinyl-specific noise filter 
will cost you. SoundSoap (USD 100) is probably consumer-level best; you 
may also want to look at CD Spin Doctor (bundled with Toast) and 
FinalVinyl (bundled with iMic), which are essentially recording tools 
with buil-in noise filters, and significantly cheaper.

The procedure is simple. You start by reading, marking, and inwardly 
digesting the acronym GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). Then you beg, 
borrow, or steal the best turntable within your reach, lay your hands 
on the best phono preamp you can get, and use the best interconnects 
you can afford (or build) to hook up the turntable to the preamp, and 
the Mac's line input to the preamp's output (not forgetting correct 
grounding, and remembering it's best to have them all plugged in the 
same power circuit).

Now, recording. Use 44.1kHz/16bit settings, and plan on using roughly 
450MB/LP plus scratch space. Ideally, you should have two empty drives, 
one for scratch space, and another to save the files. Determine the 
recording level by testing the loudest track on the LP. You should set 
recording to the highest distortion-free level possible.

You do not start/stop the recording; you record a whole side at one go. 
(You break the up the file into discrete tracks later, either 
automatically, using the application's built-in facility, or manually.)

What format to save in? The standard audio format on the Mac is AIFF, 
and the standard on Windows is WAVE. They're similar, and virtually all 
Mac audio editors understand both, but many Windows editors do not 
understand AIFF. So I vote for WAVE, because, whatever happens, chances 
are you're always going to find easily something to read WAVE, but not 
necessarily AIFF.

Whether AIFF or WAVE (or indeed ALE), back up your raw files to CDs or 
DVDs. Optical media is cheap, and you may wish to come back to your raw 
files with better filters later on, when you have more time, money, or 

So now you have your raw audio files. Apply required filters 
(normalizing, noise, whatever), set up distinct regions or break it up 
into discrete tracks, then burn it to audio CD (preferably in DAO mode) 
with whatever tool you feel comfortable with (Toast, DragonBurn, 
Discribe, cdrdao), or encode it to some compressed format (MP3, AAC, 

As you can see, doing it well takes some doing. My feeling is that, in 
most cases, it's less trouble to buy the CD version; only if it's not 
available on CD is it worth going through this.


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