How to digitize vinyl records ?

How to digitize vinyl records ?

You wish to find in your smartphone or computer library your vinyl records in digital format? Even though the sound will not be the same as an analogue reproduction, you indeed have the possibility to digitize your vinyl records. maPlatine.com is giving you advice so that you can properly digitize your records.



1. Why digitize vinyl records?


Before you start to digitize your records, it is important to know that digitizing vinyl records is a long process which requires a lot of patience. In addition, nothing will replace the sound quality obtained with a turntable. However, there are several reasons to why you may want to digitize your records.

The first reason is the fact that you may want to listen to your vinyl records other than via your turntable. Indeed, by digitizing your vinyl records you will be able to listen to them in digital format, and therefore use different audio sources such as your computer, smartphone, tablet, etc. If you are regularly traveling, and therefore far away from your vinyl record player, this may be the ideal solution to listen to your favorite LPs!

vinyl records


Another reason is if you have rare vinyl records or vinyl records that mean a lot to you. Digitizing your records will enable you to store them on your computer or even on an external hard drive for even more safety. They will therefore be well stored and safe from any incident.  


2. How to digitize vinyl records?

It is possible to digitize your vinyl records. However, there are essential Hi-Fi devices in order to digitize your LPs. It is also important to follow the steps bellow in order to obtain a good result.


Step 1 – The prerequisites in order to digitize records

First of all, it is important to be properly equipped and have quality products. Certain Hi-Fi devices are indeed better than others to digitize your records.

It is also important to make sure that your records as well as your equipment are in good condition in order not to damage your sound reproduction. For example, if the stylus of your phono cartridge is a little damaged or used, you will hear it when listening to analogue as well as digital recording. In the same way, if your vinyl records are scratched, this will strongly take away from the sound reproduction, regardless of the quality of the equipment you are using to digitize your records.  

Ortofon 2m blue phono cartridge


Another important point: the cleanliness of your equipment! In order to obtain a recording of quality, you will indeed need to make sure that your vinyl records and stylus are clean. Using cleaning products for vinyl records and styli will enable you to remove dust and static loads. Taking care of your vinyl records is essential to obtain an optimal sound quality.

Audioquest Conductive LP Cleaner brush

Last but not least, you will need to download and install on your computer a software to digitize your vinyl records in digital format. We recommend using the software Audacity. Not only is it free but it is also easy to use.


Here are the following links in order to download Audacity on:
MAC
PC/WINDOWS
Linux


Step 2 – Digitize vinyl records with a USB turntable

The first option is to acquire a “USB” turntable. In this type of product, there is a USB phono preamplifier that is integrated into the turntable. You will therefore be able to digitize your vinyl records via your computer.

Today, several Hi-Fi brands offer USB turntables which enable you to digitize vinyl records. For example, you can choose the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB HC turntable or the Pro-Ject Essential III Record Master turntable.

USB output of the Pro-Ject Essential III Record Master vinyl turntable
In order to digitize vinyl records with a USB turntable, you will need to connect it to your computer with the help of a USB cable such as the Audioquest Forest USB Cable or the Tellurium Q Blue USB cable. All you have to do is connect one end to the USB output of your turntable and the other end to the USB output of your computer. It is that easy!

Audioquest Forest USB cable

Once you have properly connected everything, all you have to do is open Audacity and start the recording! For a sound of better quality, we advise you to record your files in FLAC, WAV, or AIFF format. Thanks to these audio formats, you will not lose any audio data.


Step 3 – Digitize vinyl records with a USB phono preamplifier

If you already own a vinyl turntable, you can instead choose to add a USB phono preamplifier. It is thanks to this USB phono preamplifier that you will be able to digitize your vinyl records.

There are several USB phono preamp models on the market, from different Hi-Fi brands, such as the Pro-Ject Phono Box USB DC phono preamplifier or the Furutech/ADL GT40 Alpha preamplifier.

Pro-Ject Phono Box USB DC phono preamp
In order to digitize your vinyl records, you will need to place your USB phono preamp between your turntable and your computer. Just like with any phono stage, you will need to use a phono cable to connect your turntable to a USB phono preamp. To connect your USB phono preamp to your computer, you will also need a USB cable.

back panel of the ADL GT 40 Alpha phono preamp


The process is then the same as the one that was previously explained. Open Audacity and start the recording in order to digitize your vinyl record.

Do not hesitate to go take a look at our information sheets about how to build up your music library as well as audio files storage.

how to build up your music libraryHow to store audio files



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We hope that this shopping guide was useful in helping you find out more on how to digitize your vinyl records. For more information, do not hesitate to contact our technicians by phone (0033 299 654 163) or by email (contact-inter@maplatine.com).