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digitizing analog music/slideshow programs

anyone have a good system for digitizing analog music?
I want to convert vinyl and cassette audio tracks into MP3s.

I imagine I need a sound card and some kind of software? I’m running windows XP. (have a not very powerful G4 as well, running latest OSX)

also, anyone have a good program to recommend for making slideshows with audio? I was using I-Photo (version 4 I think), and exporting to quicktime, but now that I’m running on PCs, I need a new system.

thanks, T

by teru kuwayama at 2004-07-29 13:54:46 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

to answer my own question, greg choat just turned me on to the imic, which can take a stereo headphone plug, and has a USB output plug.

by teru kuwayama | 11 Aug 2004 11:08 | | Report spam→
Hey Teru — you know you already have an iMic, right? I saw you put it in a drawer…

by Shinji Kuwayama | 11 Aug 2004 12:08 | | Report spam→
what would I do without ya li’l b?
got it. thanks. it was in the drawer that said “i mic”.

by teru kuwayama | 11 Aug 2004 18:08 | | Report spam→
Hey Teru, would you expain to me when you get a chance just what this imic thing is and how it works. I have a lot of old cassettes that I would like to convert to MP3 as well, and I was just thinking about this the other day. Jon.

by Jon Anderson | 11 Aug 2004 20:08 | | Report spam→
heya Jon—
I’m just getting it all dialed in now.

the imic is a headphone jack to USB converter. it’s got USB output, which plugs into your computer.
then it has female ports for external mike, and for recorded audio inpu (both headphone jack size). I haven’t tried it out yet, but should be able to input any audio (vinyl, cassette, minidisc) via RCA cables. the RCA cable tend to come out of the decks as twin male plugs, but should be easy to find twin female to single headphone jack cables. So once it’s coming into your computer via USB, there’s got to be some sound card and software involved, but I’m told the latest mac OS has this built in. I Life should probably have something as well. I’ll let you know what I come up with for PCs. Assuming all this works, thanks again to shinji for giving me an imic a year ago, and to greg for reminding me it exists.

by teru kuwayama | 11 Aug 2004 20:08 (ed. Aug 11 2004) | | Report spam→
Hey Teru:

Once you get the plug and software thing worked out, I can offer a couple tips for converting MP3s. I don’t know how familiar you are with this stuff, but since I’m constantly up- and down-converting them for video, I’ve come across some issues that you might want to know about.

If you have a lot of vinyl to record, you probably want the least amount of steps to make your life easy. But be careful not to cut corners, else the compressed MP3s will frustrate you. One issue is that music that’s converted on the fly can have digital errors that are painfully loud. Another is that the standard compression setting often isn’t adequate for some of the more energetic moments in the music.

To get around these things, I’d recommend recording your LPs in 44.1KHz as audio files first, then breaking them up into their song parts, THEN converting them to MP3. This way you can make CDs of your LPs and create high-quality versions of the MP3s that are suitable for dates with audiofile hotties. Be sure to use a high-quality MP3 mode with VBR (variable bit rate) so that the highs and lows are crisp.

I like 256 kbps VBR with standard stereo (standard stereo to avoid phase problems when software things it’s smarter than the engineer and combines two tracks into one to save on the file size). To save space, 160 kbps VBR is decent, but don’t go below that if you’re concerned with fidelity. If fidelity isn’t that important, then don’t think twice about anything I’ve just said.

Happy ripping!


by Michael Kovalenko | 11 Aug 2004 20:08 | | Report spam→
holy shit.
what does all that mean, batman?

michael, you better come over here and give me a tutorial.
I’ll fix you a bad ass stirfry, I promise.

by teru kuwayama | 11 Aug 2004 21:08 | | Report spam→
Sure, it would be a pleasure. I might be in your zone this weekend, but a friend (an actual musician/audiofile hottie) is visiting.

Damn, I’ve got to count some sheep! See you soon,


by Michael Kovalenko | 11 Aug 2004 22:08 | | Report spam→
bring your friend. audiofiles, audiophiles and hotties are all welcome at chez T.
generally speaking, we here in the LS community regard sleep as a sign of weakness, but being as you’re new here, do your thing.

by teru kuwayama | 11 Aug 2004 23:08 | | Report spam→
what program were you using to record your vinyl onto on your mac? i tried this in the past but had problems with input levels. basically, i had to turn up the volume really loud in order for it to register on my computer at a decent level.

by Eugene Kuo | 12 Aug 2004 10:08 | | Report spam→
Hey, just in case it’s useful, here the official iMic page.

Also, Griffin (maker of the iMic) has a free Mac software utility specifically for LP ripping. It’s called Final Vinyl.

And then I just found this article entitled LP Recording Tips with Griffin iMic

by Shinji Kuwayama | 12 Aug 2004 11:08 (ed. Aug 12 2004) | | Report spam→
I found this old and funny topic by accident but i have interest to know any update. I don’t have money to purchase a digital recorder so i am thinking use my old walkman to record comments. I know is not a good standar but i what i have. Any news about how to process tapes to mp3 or something to work for slideshows? Thanks

by Hernan Zenteno | 11 Jul 2009 17:07 | Temperley, Argentina | | Report spam→
Basically, there’s nothing to stop you from using tape and then converting to digital on your computer, except the convenience of digital. If you’re on a Mac and many PCs, you have a jack called “Line In.” Line Levels are a standard impedance (amplification level, basically,) that’s stronger (louder) than an unamplified microphone or unamplified turntable, but lower than typical headphone levels.

All that means that you’re basically in luck. You don’t need to buy an iMic. (The iMic is great for using a standard, unamplified microphone directly in to a Mac, less necessary for when you are dealing with gear that’s capable of outputting sound at line levels.)

Get a stereo cord that’s got a standard mini headphone jack on each end. (Depending on your walkman’s outputs.) Look at your walkman and see if it has a jack called “Line Out.” If so, use that. If not, plug it in to the headphone jack and turn the volume way down.
Plug the other end into the “Line In” on your computer and open an audio recording program. If you don’t have one, there’s an excellent one called Audacity that’s free and open source:

Plug headphones into the computer’s headphone jack and set the computer’s volume to 50% or so.
Start the Walkman and get to a part that’s about as loud as the recording gets. Gradually turn up the volume until you see the “VU” meters registering the sound. Make sure it stays below the red area for the sound levels. When you have the levels about right, don’t touch the Walkman’s volume again. Make a note of the level or put a piece of tape on the dial to keep it from getting moved.

Rewind the tape to the beginning, hit record on your software and start the walkman playing back. Record all the parts you need and you’re left with digital files that should be as good as your recorder was able to capture.

One HUGE warning: I don’t know if trying to record with the walkman’s volume too high will damage your computer’s sound components, but I suspect it might. (That used to be the case, anyway.) So be careful that you’re not overloading the sound by watching the VU meters in the software. If all of this makes you nervous, consider buying a digital recorder when you can. (Use this technique at your own risk.)

Once you’re all set up, the main inconvenience is time—It takes 45 minutes to transfer 45 minutes of tape to digital, where with a digital recorder, it just takes a few moments to copy the file over.

The benefit is that you already have the gear and if you don’t reuse the tapes, you have a backup that will survive a hard disk crash.

Hopefully this won’t start an Analog vs. Digital flame war… ;-)

Hope this helps,

by [former member] | 12 Jul 2009 11:07 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Many thanks Jim, specially for the low volume record to begin, i thought that i have to do the opposite. I will give a try with Garageband cause i have not Audacity. Saludos

by Hernan Zenteno | 12 Jul 2009 17:07 | Temperley, Argentina | | Report spam→
is not so simple to record with Garageband. I found this link, i will post if i get anything.

by Hernan Zenteno | 13 Jul 2009 03:07 | Temperley, Argentina | | Report spam→
why did you bump a 5 year old thread? and for goodness sake please dont plug anything to be recorded from a device (turntable, etc..) into a mic jack, put it in the LINE IN / OPTICAL IN jack, thats why it exists.

if anyone needs help, feel free to contact me.

by Jason Schorr | 13 Jul 2009 04:07 | BRONX, United States | | Report spam→
Because is useful for me. Don’t understand the difference you mention, my macbook only have one female plug to put in sound.

by Hernan Zenteno | 13 Jul 2009 13:07 | Temperley, Argentina | | Report spam→

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teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
New York , United States
Shinji Kuwayama, Software Engineer Shinji Kuwayama
Software Engineer
Chicago , United States ( ORD )
Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Michael Kovalenko, editor Michael Kovalenko
Nyc , United States
Eugene Kuo, Eugene Kuo
New York , United States ( JFK )
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
Jason Schorr, IT Professional Jason Schorr
IT Professional
Los Angeles , United States ( LAX )


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