This guide tells you how to connect your existing normal turntable directly to your PC sound card and copy your Singles and LPs over to MP3 format - USB turntable not required!
In this simple guide I will tell you how to copy your records over using the existing windows software (and some additional free software should you want to download and install it). If you wish to buy other software that is up to you but the connections and set up should be the same.
- Normal Stereo Turntable
- PC with sound card (can use a laptop too if it has the right connections)
- Pile of records
- Some spare time
- Some cheap leads / adapters - I will explain below - all available on ebay quite cheaply
Turntable with Pre-Amp option
If your turntable has a pre-amp it can be connected directly to your PC sound card. Your turntable will have PHONO (sometimes called RCA plugs) outputs like this:
So to connect this to your PC sound card you will need an adapter. The adapter converts the two phono plugs to a 3.5mm jack (headphone plug) and looks like this:
You should be able to find one with the ebay search: 3.5mm Stereo Jack To 2 X RCA Make sure it is like the one above which is FEMALE RCA / PHONO to MALE 3.5mm JACK
Plug the two phono leads from your turntable into the adapter and then the adapter into your sound card LINE IN or MIC port (LINE IN is best as some MIC ports can be mono not stereo).
Connect your turntable to the mains and turn it on (if it has a power switch). You are now ready to record so you can now skip ahead to the recording part.
Turntable without Pre-Amp option or connected through StereoIf your stereo has a REC OUT (would have originally gone to cassette recorder) connection like below you can run a lead from this to your PC.
You can use a normal double ended PHONO lead with the adapter shown in the "with preamp" section above or you can buy a lead which goes from PHONO to 3.5mm jack shown below:
You should be able to find one of these on ebay here: 3.5mm Stereo Jack To 2 X RCA
or use normal PHONO / RCA lead and adapter as above.
If your stereo doesnt have a REC OUT connection you can connect from the headphone socket. This will just need a double ended jack lead. Stereo headphone sockets are normally the larger 6.5mm but a small adapter works great. You can see the double ended lead and the 6.5mm adapter below:
You can find the double ended 3.5mm Jack lead on ebay here: male 3.5 to male 3.5
You can find the 6.5mm to 3.5mm adapter on ebay here: 6.5mm to 3.5mm adapter
So connect one end to the headphone socket and the other to your PC sound card LINE IN.
Connecting via the headphone socket isnt ideal and you will need the set the volume quite low so you minimise distorting. You are now ready to record.
RecordingThe simplest of all programs to use is the Windows Sound Recorder. Its included free as part of windows and is very simple.
So open your sound recorder: Start > Programs > Accessories > Sound Recorder
You will be quite simply playing the LP or Single on your Turntable and recording it on Sound Recorder. This will save the song as a .WAV file these can be easily converted into high quality MP3 using a free program. I would recomend recording all your songs first and then convert to MP3 in a batch rather than one at a time. You will need to experiment with recording volumes and stereo volumes but once done you can just record away.
Free PC SoftwareTo convert to MP3 I suggest you google for free programs "WAV to MP3 convertors" there are loads of free options
A popular alternative to Windows Sound Recorder is the free software Audacity (just google it)
If you want to use other Recording software rather than Windows Sound Recorder your set up will be the same. Many more advanced ones let you reduce hiss noise and clean up the recording.
If you would like to burn the sound files to CD/DVD you can use the free software InfraRecorder (google InfraRecorder)
Use windows media player to burn a music cd - it will convert and burn each track individually for you from a playlist.