Recycled Computing

Tools for Getting Your Vinyl Records into iTunes

- 2008.05.28

Like many old timers, I have a large record collection.

Okay, kids, let's stop for an explanation: Once upon atime, music was recorded onto analog vinyl discs called "records".These records were used to listen to all the phat recording artists ofthe time. In fact, many sixties survivors spent their time in dormrooms listening to the Grateful Deadand admiring lavalamps. Today, these people have become "square" and traded in theirVolkswagenbuses for Volvo station wagons. They moved from the communes backto suburbia and have become your parents. Many cannot even remember thelyrics to Country Joe and theFish's [not those Phish!] classic "Fixing to Die Rag". It issad.

vinyl records are a lot bigger than CDs
12" vinyl LPs and a CD

Hundreds of these "records" are stuffed away in closets waiting foryou to discover them, grow your hair long, buy a Volkswagen bus, andcall everyone "dude". Mine were calling to me. "Listen to me," theysaid.

I got out my turntable (record player, you techno savages!) andrealized that I had to find a way to get this groovy (it's from thesixties, trust me) sound into my iTunes collection.

Macs are great for this sort of stuff, since you can record a sourceusing GarageBand and then convert the AIFF files into iTunes. The onlyproblem is how to match the RIAA equalization from the turntableneedle.

Do you know they now have USB turntables around? Well, I still havemy old turntable with RCA plugs on it - Griffin Industries to therescue! I bought an iMic from them,installed the Final Vinyl software (provided by Griffin), and startedto record.

iMac

The advantage with the iMic for someone who has older computerequipment is the ease of use and the Final Vinyl software. (I stillhaven't purchased GarageBand.) The iMic is a small white hockey puckdesign that has a USB plug on one side and a mini-stereo plug on theother. An adapter (included) matches the RCA plugs on my turntable.Faster than you could say "Sock it to me!" I was recording "Humble Pie- Live at the Fillmore!"

It is not all-smooth sailing. I had to play with the settings a bit,and I still haven't gotten a good recording of Richard & LindaThompson's "Pour Down like Silver" (one of the greatest albums not towin a Grammy). I think I am going to have to turn off the automaticlevel setting.

Okay, that worked.

I also realized that I needed more gigabytes of storage. I went outand bought a much larger drive and an enclosure for my Pismo's modularbay. (Yes, MCE still sells these cute little things.) If you have any DIY experience withcomputers, placing a 2.5" drive in the MCE module is easy. Thirteenscrews, a ribbon, and Pismo owners have a neat like internal/externalhard drive. I use my old drive as a backup device for my newer, roomierdrive. It would be perfect for Tiger's Time Machine, but that wouldrequire me to buy a G4 processor for the Pismo. I'm pretty happy withTiger and with using the Backup program that Apple gives .macmembers.

Now, back to recording analog to digital files. This might take sometime. LEM

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