How To Convert Music From An Old Phonograph Record To MP3 And Transfer It To Personal Computer ?

If you are like my dad, then may be you’ve got hundreds of old albums sitting around collecting dust and dozen more cassettes which are not used anymore. In the current day, chances are you’ll get most of the songs in MP3 format, but even after searching I could not find MP3 replacement for some old songs like: Pretty Things “She’s A Lover” or The Knack’s “Baby Talks Dirty”.

My dad loves them so much that I had to find a way to get these in MP3 formats. Of course he has an option to listen to them on his old Phonograph record, but MP3 was a better option, which can be eventually be ported on to his iPod.

Here’s how you can convert Old Phonograph Records to MP3

You’ll need :
1> A RCA to 1/8″ headphone jack cable
2> MP3 encoder that will help you record audio from line-in, one from Musicmatch or RealOne Rhapsody should do, but if you want some serious recording, then look at something like Cool Edit Pr or Sound Forge

The output from your stereo amplifier will be connected to your computer. If you want to control the audio recording at a detailed aspect like varying the balance, volume, bass, treble and other things, then you may consider buying a mixing board – something like Mackie Mixer which costs around $240. I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are doing this for a commercial purpose.

In MusicMatch (assuming that you are using MusicMatch), you have an option to select the desired bitrate on your output MP3s. To achieve almost CD quality output, bitrate of 128 Kbps will work. If you are looking at better quality, lets say the crystal clear DVD quality then you can either try 160bps or 192bps. This will definitely take up more space, but when you get hard drives at dirt cheap prices today, I don’t think you should worry about space, after all, it’s your dads priced possession.

Once you are done with the initial setup, go to menu, which can be found under Options and set the recorder source to ‘Line In’. You can adjust the by playing the record using the Computers Recording Control option. This can be found in

1> Start,
2> Control Panel
3> Sound and Audio Devices

Drag your mouse up or down on the slider to adjust the recording volume. You’ll have to listen back to the recording to check out the volume before you’re satisfied that it’s not too quiet or overmodulated (recorded so loud the sound distorts).

One of the tricks at this point in playing back your test recording is to find the darn song! I always have a little trouble finding it. To see where it landed on your hard drive, go to

1> Options
2> Settings
3> Recorder and check the Tracks Directory.

This way you can see the path and sub-paths to where the song is stored on your hard drive. To listen, navigate to File > Open and go to the directory where your song or test is recorded.

Once you’ve decided you like it the sound level and quality, go back and start another recording. You’re well on your way to creating MP3s of your vintage vinyl tidbits and precious and rare recordings. Then your records will be safe while the digitized version can be played over and over again, shared with friends, or taken with you on your portable MP3 device!

Related Post: How To Convert Analog Cassette To Digital Audio And Copy To iPod


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