Convert Vinyl Records to MP3 - Convert Audio Cassette to MP3
Converting audio CD's into MP3 files is an easy process as the audio on the CD is already in digital format, but
what would you do if you wanted to Convert Vinyl Records to MP3 or Convert Audio Cassette to MP3, both of which are
in analog format. The good news is that although the procedure is somewhat more complicated, converting other audio
sources such as vinyl records or audio cassettes into MP3 files is quite possible.
Most computers have a soundcard that is capable of accepting inputs from various sources. A typical sound card
will have a microphone input and one auxiliary input which can be used for external sound sources such as cassette
players or a radio.
These type of external sound sources are analog audio which means that the sound is a continuous wave form. In
order for digital audio to reproduce analog sound, it must first slice the analog waveform into discrete steps each
of which is represented by a number. To get that analog sound into a digital computer, the audio must first pass
through an analog to digital.
One slight problem with soundcards that are in most computers is the fact that the cards are budget versions
which means that the analog to digital converter is also a budget version. A professional soundcard will likely
give far better results. However, considering that the sound source is likely to be old analog vinyl records or
audio cassettes of questionable audio quality, the built-in sound card of most computers is quite sufficient.
Although most analog sound sources can be plugged directly into the sound card's auxiliary input, record deck
are a different matter as the output level is way too low. To overcome this problem, the record deck output should
pass through a preamplifier before being plugged into the computer.
Once you have the external sound source connected to your computer, you need a sound recording program to
capture the audio. Although Microsoft Windows has a built in sound recorder, its editing features are quite
limited. You would therefore be better off using dedicated audio software.
Now that your audio software is up and running and your sound source is connected to the computer the time has
come to transfer the audio to your computer. In the case of the audio cassette, simply hit the play button or put
the needle on the record and than sit back and wait for the cassette or record to finish. There is no quick way
around this step as the transfer has to be done in real time.
Although some recording software will automatically split the tracks into individual files, the chances are that
you will end up with one big file. However, that is not a problem as it is relatively easy to split the file
provided that your recording software has decent editing features. You should see a visual representation of the
audio signal - this makes it easy to identify where each track begins and ends. Simply highlight that section and
save it as an individual file.
When recording vinyl records or audio cassettes, you will more than likely be quite disappointed with the audio
quality once it is transferred to your computer. Vinyl records can be scratched, and audio cassettes can have an
annoying hissing sound. However, all is not lost as a lot of this type noise can be eliminated with special filters
built into the audio software provided that your choice of program has these features.
After the audio has been captured and stored on your computer it will be in an uncompressed format such as WAV .
You now have the choice of either burning the WAV files to a CD or converting them into a compressed format such as
MP3 . For archival purposes it is a good idea to burn a CD so that your original audio cassette or vinyl record
will not suffer any more degradation.
Compressing the audio is a good idea if you want to listen to it on a portable audio player or simply to save
space on your computer hard drive. The most popular audio compression scheme is MP3, but newer formats such as WMA
and AAC (used by the Apple iPod) offer similar sound quality with smaller file sizes.