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Christmas Gift Guide
MP3 Players

How can I convert my vinyl collection to MP3?

Hello, call me a luddite, call me an Antiques Roadshow viewer, but I have a problem. I like my MP3s, but I love my old record collection. How can I convert my vinyl collection to MP3?

Hello, call me a luddite, call me an Antiques Roadshow viewer, but I have a problem. I like my MP3s, but I love my old record collection. How can I convert my vinyl collection to MP3?

Sam Wolstencraft

You've cut straight to the chase, Sam. There are several ways to transfer your old analogue records into an MP3 format for listening on the move.

Some MP3 players, such as the Samsung YH-820 and the mobiBLU DAH-1900, will let you run a line straight from the headphone socket of your hi-fi amplifier into the MP3 player itself. You can then hit record on the MP3 player and play on your record player. This will give you a result which ranges from the mediocre to the utterly rubbish.

For the best results, you'll want to use some dedicated recording software like Garageband for the Mac or Cubase on the PC. This makes it possible to record the vinyl source from the amplifier into your computer's sound card. You can then clean up the waveform and convert the song to MP3 format at a high bit rate.

For the best result, you could eliminate the hi-fi amplifier stage completely by plugging the record player directly into the sound card. You'd then need to boost the gain on the phono connectors with your computer's sound card controls. This will give you the cleanest signal path available.

The most painstaking part of this process will be manually switching records and separating out all the tracks. If you have a lot of time on your hands, this might be quite a therapeutic experience. If not, it might be more economical to simply bite the bullet and blitz iTunes with credit card in hand.