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How to Transfer LPs to MP3s

Long Playing Records

Someday, your old LPs will soon conk out. If you still have The Who’s Tommy somewhere in the attic, you might want to bring it down for a good listen. (Well, better have it cleaned and restored since it’s a collector’s item already.) So why not create a digital archive while they’re still playable? That way you can enjoy listening to your LPs in your iPod complete with the old crackle-pop of old LPs.

What you need:

  • A turntable with a preamplifier with a line-out or microphone jack
  • A sound card with a line-in jack
  • An audio cable that matches the preamplifier and the sound card
  • An audio recording/editing software (Audacity works great)

What to do:

  • Make sure that you clean the LP
  • Clean the stylus (or use a new one)
  • Plug in the cable to your preamplifier and sound card
  • Set your recording OS to record using the line-in signal. (In XP, you can do this by accessing Volume -> Recording -> Check Line in).
  • Launch your audio recording software
  • Double-check that the software also uses the line-in signal
  • Start recording
  • Lower the stylus to start playing the LP
  • When the LP finishes, stop your recording software.
  • Do all the editing and cutting after the recording has finished.
  • Advanced audio editing software can eliminate the crackles and pops in LP recordings but I personally leave those behind since they give the recording some novelty and character.

One Response to “How to Transfer LPs to MP3s”

  • VintageP says:

    I never had much luck transferring my LPs to mp3 until I stumbled on to your technique a few weeks ago after a lot of experimentation. I finally got a turntable with a line out and plugged it into my home studio gear using Ableton Live. I sure wish you had posted this a long time ago. It would have saved me a lot of experimentation!

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