LP to CD

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by flashbarry, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. flashbarry

    flashbarry Member

    Hi All,

    Can anyone tell me how to convert old LP's onto CD and whats the best way to go about it. Rach's dad (Pete Edge) has loads of old CWS Manchester Band records (he used to play with them) and would like to put them onto CD so he can enjoy listening to them on his travels.

    Hope you can help!

  2. Di

    Di Active Member

  3. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Hi Darrol.

    I'm a bit pushed during the day today, but if people don't get back to you before I get back home later, I'll see what I can come up with (Di's suggestion is a good one, depending exactly on the level of results you're trying to achieve).

  4. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not really a specialist, but you could do something like this:

    connect the "line out" of your stereo's amplifier to the "line in" of your PC soundcard.
    play the record and record the sound on your PC as "wav" format
    edit the wav files if needed (cut the beginning and end, apply noise filters if needed...)
    burn the wav files on a CD-R

    That's the way I do it to get minidisc recordings on CD. Quite a lot of work!

    I think Brassneck will know a bit more about this than me...

    EDIT: or indeed, Keith from KMJ Recordings...
  5. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Another couple of questions to be thinking about in the meantime.

    1) Are you expecting to do this with hardware you've got in your possession? (if you are, what type of soundcard have you got, do you have access to a turntable etc).

    2) If you've got a budget for extra things (either hardware or software), what is it?

    3) Have you already got access to something like Ahead Nero Burning ROM? (there are others ;) )
  6. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I've done a lot of this in recent days.

    You need at least a turntable (with preamp) and a stereo amplifier. You'll also need a cable to connect the line out jacks from the amp to the line-in jack on your PC.

    You'll also need some software to help convert the signal at the proper sampling rate. Most PCs have rudimentary software, but there is some good open source stuff for this purpose out there. I use GoldWave, which is open source software available at www.goldwave.com

    This not only records the music, but also includes a lot of filters to eliminate pops and clicks, fix small wobbles, split the recorded file automatically into separate tracks, etc.

    Make sure you have plenty of disk space - the files will be quite large.

    Also make sure that you aren't running anything else that might make sounds through your sound card while you're recording - like email clients that might ring a bell to notify you of an email. Because you are recording the output from the sound card, incidental sounds like those might end up in the recorded files.
  7. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    In the simple recording tool software that is supplied with most "Creative Soundblaster" soundcards, you can select whether you want to record "everything you here", or just the sound that is coming through the "line in" channel of the soundcard. If you select this last option, there shouldn't be a problem with operating system sounds.
  8. flashbarry

    flashbarry Member

    Thanks for all your help, its really appreciated!! We won't be doing anything until we get back to the UK on our hols in June so we can have a look into some of the stuff we might need.

    Keep your comments coming, they are really helpful :clap:
  9. EIBB_Ray

    EIBB_Ray Member

    I used audio cleaning lab for a couple of years and it works reasonably well - perhaps newer versions work even better.

    I set it up with my turntable and old receiver/amp and RCA cables running from a speaker "ou" into my sound card. I took one guy's advice and invested in a good set of Monster cables for this and I think it was worthwhile.

    The only problems I had were, occasionally I'd pull off a sound "project" as ACL calls it and when I went to burn it, my PC could no longer find my CD burner. I'd un-install and re-install the SW and everything was fine for a time. I think the root of this problem might have been Windows ME, I've since upgraded to XP, but haven't re-installed or hooked up the hardware again.

    I used the eidting tools to remove some "clutter"and to define tracks and it's pretty intuitive and easy to use.

    I found the SW vendor to be completely unresponsive, I sent them a couple of support emails and never got a response, and never got my free mp3 conversions that were supposed to come with that version.

    Again, I suspect they've improved in recent versions, but that's my experience.

    Good Luck.
  10. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Ive used steinberg clean a lot, its relatively easy to use i just plugged my stereo into the line in via the stereos headphone jack, so simple! just time consuming.
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Bluffers, non-technical vinyl recording!

    Right, then, here we go ;) Bear in mind that I haven’t done a huge amount of this, and this is really just an accumulation of bits and pieces picked up along the way (and as such it’s a bit waffly and unscientific) :D

    The source

    As you’ve stated is vinyl LPs. Depending on their age they could be 78 rpm or 33 rpm. For now I’ll assume that they’re 33 rpm and recorded after the RIAA curve came into existence (which I think was 1955).

    The first thing you need to do is clean your records thoroughly – a quick google search will suggest several methods. In the past I’ve tended to use soft brushes with distilled water + a bit of fairy liquid, drying with lint free tissues followed by a quick isopropyl alcohol wash (to get rid of water traces) followed by air drying.

    What’s this RIAA thing?

    When vinyl records are cut, the signal that is used in this process is attenuated by the use of a standardised equalisation curve – the RIAA curve. Essentially, what this does is cut down the amount of bass frequencies that are recorded on the LP. If this wasn’t done then the amplitude changes caused by the bass frequencies would cause, for example, the stylus to jump out of the groove.

    Obviously, if you’ve altered the signal on the way in, in order to restore the music to its original form you need to alter it on the way out as well by reversing he process. There are two ways of doing this – you can either do it using a multiband parametric equaliser or you can use an RIAA preamplifier.

    RIAA Preamps

    Sometimes, turntables have the RIAA equalisation built into the cartridge. Audiophile and DJ turntables tend to have it built into the amplifier or DJ mixer respectively.

    If your turntable is of the former kind (i.e. with RIAA built in), then you just need some kind of stereo preamplifier to bring the signal up to line level (the output of most turntables is similar to that of microphones and needs amplifying before you put it into the soundcard).

    If your turntable requires RIAA equalisation you’ve got two options. The first is to just use a ‘normal’ stereo preamplifier and use corrective equalisation (which isn’t particularly easy athough some software such as that mentioned by Di contain presets to do it) or you can buy a either a standalone RIAA preamp or a soundcard with RIAA inputs. Examples of the latter would include, say, the Terratec Phase 26 USB or the EMU 1820 / 1820M (my preference would be for the 1820M due to its superior AD converters, but it’s expensive if this is a one off!). There are a fair few others if you search around. IIRC Steinberg Clean used to come with a preamp, but I’m not sure if you can still get it?

    Actually, the third alternative is to use the headphone output of the stereo direct to the line in of your soundcard (as Crazysop says), but be very careful with the levels that you set ;)

    Using a standalone RIAA Preamp with your existing soundcard

    Connect the output of the preamp to the line in(s) of your soundcard. Bear in mind that the outputs of such preamps can be the so-called consumer level of -10dBV and the inputs of some soundcards can be either -10dBV or +4dBu. This may be software switchable depending on your soundcard (match them if possible).

    Using an Interface with inbuilt RIAA

    Is fairly self explanatory ;) You plug the turntable into the appropriate inputs of the interface, and then within your chosen recording software select those inputs as the recording source (obviously, we’re starting to get software specific here and is outside the scope of this reply!).

    Record your, er, record

    There are a few options that you need to decide on here.

    1)Firstly, you can either record things a track at a time or a side at a time. It’s up to you whether things like track spacing is important to you, or whether you’re happy to let your authoring software decide things like that (e.g. 2 seconds is the default gap between tracks). If you use software such as Steinberg’s Wavelab, you get some options that will insert track markers at silence so you could record a whole side at once and the software will add the track markers for you in the gaps. Whether this option is available in Wavelab Essential (i.e. the cheap version) is unknown to me I’m afraid. Other alternatives for this kind of thing would be Adobe Audition, Soundforge and Nero’s Wave Editor.

    2)Sample Rate.and bit depth – depending on the soundcard you’re using you’ll get the option of recording at different sample rates and bit depths. CDs require a sample rate of 44.1 KHz at 16 bits. However, there may be an advantage to recording at 88.2 KHz / 24 bits. The reasons for this are, er, rather complicated – but the most important thing is that using 24 bit technology allows you to record at lower levels (leaving more headroom for transients like those generated by clicks and scratches) without compromising your signal to noise ratio. However, you’d also then need the capability to sample rate convert and dither – if you go down this route, let me know and I can go into more detail then (but before anyone jumps in ‘m not going into sampling theory :D) . For an easy life, try recording at 44.1 KHz / 16 bit and see how you go.

    3)File type – record as .wav files, none of this MP3 nonsense ;) (bear in mind that this will, as previously indicated, eat disk space – at 44.1 KHz /16 bit an hour will be around 600 MB).

    Remember to leave some headroom on your recording levels so that scratches and clicks don’t overload the inputs.

    OK, I’ve got my .wav file, what now?

    A lot of the software I’ve indicated come with clean up plugins for removing things like clicks, hum and hiss. Again, the nature of this software is relatively specific to the program, so I can’t really go into detail here. One thing to remember with these algorithms is that you generally get better results by iterative treatments – so remove, say, background hiss with a broadband denoise plugin in several passes rather than trying to do it all in one go – it’ll generate less audible artifacts that way. Also bear in mind that there are 3rd party plugins that can be used from within these host programs which may be more effective – but they can cost tens (e.g Soundsoap) to many thousands of pounds (Cedar Restoration).

    I’ve got it sounding the best I can….

    If you’ve generated several files (so processed each track separately), you can use something like Nero to burn them to CD by creating a new audio CD and dragging and dropping the files in the right order. As I’ve said before this will insert the default gap of (I think 2 seconds) between tracks – this can be edited as is obvious from the window. Burn the session as disc at once.

    If you’ve recorded a side as one wav then you’ll need to insert track markers before you burn, or you’ll just get a single half hour track. Again, how you do this is package specific (sorry, I’ve said that a lot – but if you decide which way you want to jump, then I may be of more use!).

    Hmm…that’s about it I’m afraid – again, feel free to give me a shout with any specific questions you’ve got and I’ll try to answer them!

    Good luck!
  12. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Keith - excellent post. Thanks for sharing your technical expertise. :tup
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  14. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    I think this would be a great thread to be put in the tMP Library...
  15. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - nice pictures though! :wink:

    Keith covered in many ways how I prepare discs before transfer to PC. Simple thing to remember is "Rubbish in ... Rubbish out!". How the input source is produced is as important as the recording and editing tools. Make sure that everything is optimised for playback (including cleaning and de-magnitising heads for tape players!) and that the record deck is flat with arm, cartridge and stylus properly set and tracking properly.

    A word of warning about removing noise, rumble, Wow and flutter. This can also remove the recorded ambience ... reverb, sound reflection and lower bass harmonics. These can only be recovered to a certain degree but on a really good hi-fi can still be heard as sub-standard. If you are using editors, please respect the performers and what they tried to do especially in earlier recordings. Instruments were different then and tone colours tended to be a little lighter in most cases. I record on to Mini Disc (24 bits @ 48 kHz) before transferring from another MD Deck direct to PC (again at 24 bits @ 48 kHz before saving at 16 bits @ 41.1 kHz prior to burning) but DAT or digital hard drive recorders (e.g., DVD) can be substituted.

    Suitable output levels for playback? I tend to use 4.5 dB for band recordings although the industry standard is set closer to 5 dB for most things.
  17. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Something else I've just remembered about cassette transfers - if the tape you're transferring was recorded using a noise reduction system (so Dolby B or C etc) it's important to transfer the tape using the same Dolby technique. Dolby decodes cannot be emulated successfully ;)
  18. flashbarry

    flashbarry Member

    Thanks everyone, we have family over at the minute (and it is raining!!) will have a good read of the thread when they leave us.

  19. cujo_134

    cujo_134 Member

    Can you expand on that please, I don't seem to understand. Maybe I'm just a little slow:wink:
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - Dolby N.R. (in it's various forms) has it's own techniques for supressing noise whilst enhancing the sound. Remove that and unwanted artefacts will carry over to the recording and would be more difficult to remove and will affect the overall quality of the recording. I don't know of any digital editor that has the Dolby system as part of it's setup to counteract this.

    post-edit .... if the cassette says it was recorded with Dolby N.R., make sure when you are recording that it is switched on during playback on the player!

Share This Page