Converting your Vinyl / LP’s to CD

Pro-Ject Debut Turntable

I recently had some LP’s lying around of which no ‘remastered’ CD version I could find in the local stores. Since neither a LP nor a record player is very portable and also subject to degradation like wear after several times playing, I decided to digitalize them in order to burn them on a CD and even MP3.Some would argue that the analogue sound of vinyl has a broader frequency range and subjectively a ‘warmer’ sound which gets lost in the digitalizing (sampling). This may be true but I can not hear the difference and that may be because my hifi equipment isn’t that expensive as the ones audiophiles have.

So now that I have created the background and considerations this is how I converted my LP’s to CD:

Step 1: Equipment

I used a debut Pro-ject Debut III with build in pre-amplifier. The sound quality of the debut is very good especially for the price at which is offered. If you want better sound quality you would have to exponentially increase your budget.

For digitalization I used my laptop with an external USB sound card, in this case the Imic, but any external card would suffice. The reason its external is because my line-in of my laptop performed very poor and was subject to internal electronic interference.

The LP’s itself I cleaned with using a micro fibre cleaning cloth wetted with an mixture of 25% Isopropyl alcohol and 75% distilled water which you can acquire separately at your local drugstore or supermarket. Make sure to go over the LP in a circular motion. This worked well since my LP’s were relatively in good condition. If they are really dirty you should consider submersing the LP and playing them wet.

Step 2:The software

For recording I used the open source program Audacity, recording to WAV 16bit PCM. Be sure to set the record level (windows/configuration/sound) of the line-in just high enough without peaking (hitting 0 dB) which results in distorted sound.

Peaking

You will notice some hiss and clicking in your record. If you can live with it or even like the authentic sound you should leave it since any tampering with the sound will always be at best an approximation and at worst degradation or deletion of sounds. However I decided to put a mild reduction of hiss and click with a minimal trade off of reduction in sound fidelity/quality.

After saving the recorded wav file I used Click Repair to remove the clicks and pops. Of all the programs I tried this one was the best in removing pops and clicks while maintaining sound quality. After removing the pops and clicks I opened the .wav file in Audacity which has a nice feature called Effect/Noise Removal. First select a part with noise/hiss in it, the best is to take the transition part between two tracks. Then go to Effect/Noise Removal and click ‘Get Noise Profile’. Then select the complete recording (select all) and adjust the slide bar to the lowest ‘less’ as shown in the picture:

Noise Removal Audacity

Any higher will to my opinion ruin the quality significantly. Be sure to first remove the pops and clicks and then remove the hiss/noise. The other way around will result in lower sound quality.

After that you can split the recorded LP and export to multiple tracks as explained >here<.

If you have any comments or recommendations please leave a comment below!

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5 Comments on “Converting your Vinyl / LP’s to CD”

  1. Spurgeon Green says:

    What are the other softwares you tried in removing pops and clicks in your recording. I want to transfer my 15 milk crates of albums I have but I don’t know what is the correct software to use for the noise reduction.

    Thanks,

    Spurgeon

  2. fl0g says:

    Hey Spurgeon,

    I’ve tried depopper, click removal audacity plugin, wave corrector, polder bits and the old cool edit. None of them sounded as good as Click repair. (btw there is a distincition between pops/clicks and background hiss which requires another algorithm)

    If you have 15 milk crates of albums it is a good idea to look for digitized/remastered cd’s of them on the market (done by professional studio’s) this should save you considerable time and effort.

  3. Jason says:

    Errr, do you think that wiping the record with anti-static spray will result in fewer clicks & pops?

    If shops no longer sell anti-staic spray, can you make your own version from stuff bought at pharmacies & supermarkets?

    Could you pls email me with your reply in addition to putting it on this forum? It should only require copy & pasting of the text of your reply.

  4. fl0g says:

    Depending on the state of your record(s), you can visually asses weather a good wipe or more is needed. Some of my ‘clean’ records I did only dry wipe, the rest sounded cleaner when I thoroughly cleaned them. Anti Static spray (whiteboard spray) probably contains 2-Butoxyethanol and quaternary ammonium compounds and should help reducing clicks and pops. About making your own version I can’t tell since it depends on the possible harmful additives that are included in standard cleaning products.

  5. carol says:

    hi, i have just one lp album that i would like to convert to a cd. is there a service available to have this done? i’d pay, say $10 for someone to convert it for me. thanks


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