I mentioned in show 237 that I picked up a USB turntable that I absolutely love, and that I’d put up a link to the turntable on Amazon, so people could pick it up.

I decided to go one step further, and not only link to the turntable, but show you the way that I’ve been using the turntable to digitize my old vinyl. First up, a photo and link to the turntable:

Link to Numark TTUSB Turntable on Amazon

The turntable comes with outputs for both USB and analog (with the typical red/white RCA-type cables). The only issue I have with the turntable is that it doesn’t have a dustcover. I’m looking at cutting some plexiglass to make my own dustcover, and I’ll put the instructions up for that when I do that project.

To record my vinyl, I use a program called Sound Studio (since I already owned a copy). Cost-conscious readers could use the free Audacity (Mac and Windows). I’m not familiar with Audacity, but maybe someone who is can chime in on the comments section.

You’ll use your sound-editing program to record the whole album side, and you’ll end up with a waveform, which will look something like this:

In most cases, it will be pretty obvious where each song begins and ends. In some cases, you’ll have songs that segue into each other (like INXS’ “Need You Tonight” and “Mediate”), but you can listen to the clip and see where the tracks should be broken. Or, if you’re a dork like me, you’d actually prefer that these tracks are kept together instead of split.

To split the track in Sound Studio, you’ll place the “insertion point” in the spot right before the music in a track starts, and then choose Marker from the Insert menu. After you’ve inserted all the markers for each of your tracks (make sure to put one at the beginning for track 1), you’ll have something that looks like this:

The beauty of the markers is this. Once you’ve got them all placed, you can choose Split By Markers… from the Edit menu. This saves out each of the tracks as separate AIFF files, named after each marker. So you end up with files called “Marker 1.aif”, “Marker 2.aif”, etc.

My recommendation is to immediately burn these files to a CD, using Toast, as opposed to importing them into iTunes to convert to mp3. The reason for this is that once they’re on a CD, you can use iTunes’ CDDB track lookup to automatically title the tracks on your CD. I’ve been amazed that some of my albums, which I thought were pretty obscure, were automatically labeled when I inserted the CD in iTunes. (Vitamin Z’s “Rites of Passage” – wha!). Then import the tracks, transfer to your iPod or mp3 player of choice, and you’re done.

Questions, comments? Post ’em here, and I’ll answer them!