Ripping vinyl

Now there’s a phrase I presume most of my readers will understand, that was almost unimagined just a few years ago.

I’m getting tired of late night DJ’ing and wanting to listen (right now!) to all those hits I remember from, er, younger days. Although I’ve ripped my CD’s, I’m still not used to hitting the spacebar instead of pressing the eject button on my trusty Pioneer PD-M700. Surfing iTunes, I realize that many of the songs I want to hear again, I already have on vinyl. Being a sentimental type, I still have every record and 45 I’ve bought; it’s not a huge collection, just three boxes. But priceless nonetheless.

So – how should I rip my vinyl? Not only do I want to be cheap, and avoid spending all those 99 cents to re-purchase my own dreams, but many of them are songs that I’d rather have old skool sound with scratches and all. They just sound better that way to my brain.

I’ve got a Technics SL-L3 turntable in good shape, and both a Mac and a ThinkPad. What next for a reasonably simple and reliable way to rip my vinyl into my iTunes? Links to sites with instructions you’ve followed are appreciated too.

Ahhh, my beloved PD-M700 6 disc changer from college. Man, we had some good times together. Along with various late nights, parties, and studying, there was one all-nighter during which I wrote a term paper and listened to every single song on all 6 discs nonstop. Actually; I’m being misleading: that particular night was being played on my roommate’s PD-M700, since I was wearing headphones and typing at his PC/AT while everyone else was alseep.

Another notable PD-M700 memory includes the nuclear-powered remote. Along with being gigantic and having the programming power of some contemporary TI calculators, it also had a hugely powerful infrared transmitter. We enjoyed many a breakfast in our apartment’s kitchen, DJ’ing our own mixes by shooting the remote over our shoulder, down the hall, and bouncing it off a mirror on the shelves in front of the CD player. You had to aim carefully, but it worked. Oh, and I was a mighty quick draw on switching the 6 discs out. You line up the new discs to swap in on the right staggered, and simultaneously open each CD case with your right hand while using your left to flip the drawers out, and toss the old CD’s on the desk in front of you. Practice makes perfect; I could do it easily in the time of a single commercial.

Tonight’s Music: I’d say I was listening to I Burn For You, but that was earlier; right now I’ve stepped back a couple of years to an earlier best friend and am listening to Purple Rain

3 thoughts on “Ripping vinyl

  1. Audacity isn’t bad, if you can find a MP3 plugin for it. (My current bane on Ubuntu.) You can just plug in your turntable to your laptop line-in jack. That’s the cheapo method. I was going to do that with a bunch of records a while back. But I really wanted anti-hiss/static/scratch software to make it a bit better. Never found stuff for free so it never got done.
    I’d suggest giving the turntable -> laptop -> audacity (or even Windows Recorder) a try and seeing if the results are acceptable for you.

  2. I got the iConvert – http://wooga.drbacchus.com/iconvert – which doesn’t satisfy your requirement of “on the cheap”, but I’ve been very pleased with it. I rip an entire disk to mp3, and then use Audacity to split it into tracks. I’ve had better results with it than with my old method of using my regular turntable and plugging cables into my laptop, which always ended up with unreliable quality and clipping.

What do you think?