Digitising LPs - cheap option?

Have you considered a dedicated CDR?
I have a Philips CDR 770 which will record onto (audio only) CDs (presumably Red Book standard).
Then play them as CDs or put the data onto a hard drive.
I got my CDR from a charity shop for less than £50 but they are available on the 'bay or occasionally, from dealers.
There is a digital out but I’ve not investigated this.

Your motives were very close to mine now.

I don’t want to spend on a new cartridge, or the LP12 generally as I would rather spend on the rest of my system and I don’t play LPs often enough to justify the expense anyway.

I intend to try microphone and line inputs on the PC to see which works best. Unfortunately I don’t have a spare pre amp around to play around with so it will have to be from the 552 with a long cable.

I had used Audacity a few years back when I originally ripped a couple LPs as a trial with a PC that happened to have a suitable sound card so I am familiar with it. I will probably only de-click to a basic level. I will then split the recording into tracks, number and name them with the song title and store them in a folder of Artist name - this is how I hold all my music digitally.

My Melco has Song kong running and I know it does an okay job of sorting metadata. I run it in isolated mode most of the time so the control is normally through directory listing on the NDS rather than via a tablet/phone app but it does allow selection by genre, decade, composer, track title etc.

Hi Mike,

I use a Roland digital recorder to record albums at 9624 connected to my pre-amp, avoids the issues of sound degradation caused be a computer.

I then process the file through click removal software and split it into tracks via Audacity.

I have found that the files improve as my system does …although it is not as good as playing them on my turntable.


How “tight” is “tight”?

I use a TEAC SD-500HR ADC unit from the output on my amp. But before than I used Audacity from the USB output on my turntable. I understand you have a high end LP12 that doesn’t have such silly toys, but a turntable with USB digital out is also about the same cost as a good ADC.

Denon and TASCAM also make very good ADC about the same cost as the TEAC (in the case of TASCAM, internally identical to the TEAC). Because loads of people bought these for the same purpose there are actually deals to be found on recent or current model ADC on many an auction site from sellers who have just finished digitising their collection.

if you want it on the cheap I used one of these. worked simply enough, just needed some free software to record with which I can’t remember what used as it was years ago.

Behringer U-PHONE UFO202 Audiophile USB/Audio Interface with Built-in Phono Preamp for Digitalizing Your Tapes and Vinyl Records, Compatible with PC and Mac

edit: think it was the audacity software it comes with that I used.

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Here’s how I do it, not cheap but stunning results…
My Rega RP6 goes into my Nova, I take the DIN pre-amp out which goes in a AUD Apollo Twin and then onto my Mac . I used to just take the USB out of a cheap Rega Fono (about £80) and then in to my Mac, again this gave very good results, but since buying the RP6 I have the larger Fono pre-amp (which lacks the USB out) into the Nova and then onto my Mac.
I record using Adobe Audition. Expensive but I have it as I use it for work. I never de-click as most programs aren’t clever enough to distinguish between dust and snare/percussive hits.
Once in Audition (you still awake?) I normalise the waveform, delete the in and run out groove noise, then take a noise print between the first few tracks. I then get Audition to remove that noise print from the whole disc which normally silences the gaps between tracks and cleans up the rest. If the track gaps are still noisy I insert silence before any mod.
If it’s an album I really like I’ll then go though each track and paint out any scratches in spectral display using the heal tool, if that doesn’t work I’ll zoom in to sample level and cut it out.
After that I save the tracks as Wavs # 1 onwards and then get the meta data from mp3tag

That is why I manually de-clicked - which is easy but of course time consuming if a lot, as on wpa very well played old record.

i’d be interested to know what the heal tool actually does in that process?

What I did manually was either cut out the blip leaving silence if very short (I debated which was worse a millisecond or whatever (so long ago I can’t remember) of silence, that wouldn’t be noticed in playback, or just deleting to cut out, thereby reducing the time between other sounds by that amount, which also would likely not be evident in playback. For longer noises I cut and replaced with the immediately preceding sound, in effect extending the previous sound to fill the gap unless that preceding was a sharp transient sound in which case either copied some of the subsequent sound backwards, or if that sounded wrong I removed the preceding peak, or left the click in place, depending which I noticed least.

Interesting. That is akin to noise removal in digital astrophotography - however, where thermionic noise In the camera electronics is random, the surface noise on records may not be entirely random, instead possibly a also noise arising from particular influences such as repeating noise from surface defects etc, which will occur at a frequency related to rotation speed, even if not obviously evident to the ear listening to space between tracks, and if included in the average subtracted from the whole track or album could mean removal of some actual music detail.

I don’t know how Audacity did general surface noise removal, but when I tried it on an album with sufficient noise to be worth bothering the result was a distinct degradation in sound quality, so I left as was (apart from de-clicking). I wonder if your approach would have worked. (Maybe some time when I have nothing else to do I may dig out one of a digitised copy of an LP with evident surface noise, pass it through a DAC and then have a play with Audacity.

I’ve been thinking about your question of how much do I want to spend…

Did a straw poll of my record collection (used the artists beginning with B as not too many of them).

Used Discogs and Qobuz to check availability of digital/ CD versions.

Of 32 albums, 27(84%) were available on qobuz if required. 3(9%) were more obscure ie not had much chart success, available as later re-issues, but in theory I could find but typically higher prices ie £15 upwards. 2 (6%) were not available as CD’s at all.

Scale that up to c700 records and it means I would have to digitize about 42 LP’s that were unavailable anywhere.

All assuming, of course, I thought there was a track or 2 on each album worth the effort.

Looking back through the B’s, there are at least 8 or 9 that I don’t have digitally yet that I know for sure I’d want to relisten to and digitise anyway - scale that up and it comes to about 175-200 albums. Even buying from Qobuz at £10 each…

A lot of hours work but would justify an ADC or digital recorder as others have suggested, assuming, of course, my cheapo plan using my PC and a lead from the preamp is not satisfactory

Not much to lose and not too time consuming to try on a couple of albums and assess the result.

N.B. Should you have problems with noise level and want a higher level signal to the computer and not having a spare preamp as I had, you could always use the main output of your preamp adjusting the volume control for best effect, simply foregoing playing audibly at the same time.

i’d be interested to know what the heal tool actually does in that process?

The heal tool looks at the sound before and after the area to be “healed” and basically makes it up.
It’s similar to the heal tools in Photoshop, another expensive Adobe program.

If you cut out the scratch in Audition it shuffles the audio along which is why I zoom in to sample level, it’s fractions of a second so you wouldn’t notice or hear it.

The noise removal ‘fingerprint’ I make contains any rumble (on expensive decks this should be minimal🙉) and surface noise. In Audition it’s really effective, but it’s an expensive program that’s constantly updated, Audacity is OK but very much entry level.

I ripped Tomita’s ‘Snowflakes Are Dancing’ recently and it is absolutely stunning, I get a lot of disbelief that it’s ripped from vinyl. It just takes time and patience. Command + Z is your friend!

tbh Audacity does all of this as well.

Not as well as the later evolutions of Audition. Most Playout PC’s I use have Audacity or an early version of Audition as a basic editor as it’s licence free, the modern Audition CC is on another level but for most people here an expensive indulgence, but hey what do I know?

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Just an update for those interested. I received my jack adapter and plugged into the line input. Recorded a few samples at various bit rates and depths. Have settled for 96khz/24 bit as best compromise of quality re file size.

I had been reading a number of threads about the Realtek 1220 sound chip on my motherboard on various gaming websites and general consensus, perhaps unsuprisingly, was when the PC is under load sound quality suffered. Load on the GPU seemed to be the main culprit.

Audacity make a point of saying to minimise activity when recording. So I have no other programs running, PC freshly booted.

The results are good, better than I was expecting so if anyone wants a cheap solution this does seem to work okay.


I used to use Audacity to manually do this …took a LOT of time. I then found an excellent program called ClickRepair that was FAR better than my manual efforts. Unfortunately the author and maintainer was in palliative care when we last exchanged emails. I HOPE I still have it somewhere. As I have upgraded my vinyl playback I am back to playing the real deal.

…Just went and checked that I still have my licence and the install files, all good.

I recall saving mine as .wav, however if you can save as flac, or after ripping batch convert them using dBpoweramp, you can shrink them significantly without loss.

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