Vinyl Ripping

Shatner's Bosom

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I thought some of you would like this

Taken from here, it's a year old but should still be relevant.

I wrote this for another site, so I thought I'd copy and paste it here. It's for users of Windows and Audition, but the basics apply to any OS and software.

1. Connecting your gear

There's a couple of different ways to do this depending on what kind of setup you have, but it'll usually be one of these two: -

a) If you have a regular turntable/amp setup or you've got a DJ setup with decks and a mixer, you would run a cable from the output of your amp/mixer to the line in (not mic!) input on your sound card (the blue socket is the line in). Most of the time, this will be a "stereo Y cable" which has a pair of red/white phono plugs on one end and a single 3.5mm jack on the other end.

b) You may have a turntable that connects directly via USB, in which case connecting it to your PC is even easier.

2. Software to use for recording

For the purposes of this guide, I'm using Adobe Audition version 1.5. It'll run on XP, Vista and Windows 7 (and possibly earlier versions if for some reason you're still rocking 98). Other versions of Adobe Audition can be used too. If you want free software, try Audacity, but the reason I've chosen Audition is for its built-in clean-up tools that are used later in this guide.

3. Understanding the volume controls in Windows

For each recording source in Windows, there are 2 volume controls. The first controls the recording level. The second controls the volume of what you're actually hearing when you record and play recordings back. These operate independently of each other.

4. Getting set up for recording.

Once your gear is all hooked up, you'll want to do a few things before you start recording: -

a) Make sure your stylus is clean and isn't old as fuck and worn. A shitty old worn stylus will not only sound crap, it'll increase wear on your records. If you need to clean a stylus, you can use a stylus brush. Brush only from back to front so that you don't bend the stylus. In most cases though, you can gently use the tip of your finger to remove any dust and crap that has built up on the stylus tip.

b) Make sure your gear is properly grounded. The humming that you can sometimes hear when playing back recordings is caused by improperly grounded equipment. Most turntables have a ground lead that connects to the amp/mixer, so make sure that that's connected. If you're still having problems, you can get some ground loop isolators and use those.

c) Make sure your records are clean. I use a carbon fibre brush to clean mine, but if your records are really old and crusty, or something has been spilled on them, you can get some liquid cleaner.

d) Set the EQs on your mixer to flat, i.e. 0. You don't have to do this, but what can really spoil vinyl rips is when someone has turned the bass right up, the treble down, or whatever, because to them it sounds better through their speakers.

5. Setting the recording level

When recording, you want the sound to peak close to 0 dB in Audition (or whatever software you're using), but with no clipping (i.e. the level meters go into the red). Clipping introduces distortion. Play a busy/loud bit of the song and adjust the recording level so that it peaks just under 0 dB.

You can always boost the sound a little once the recording is done if it's peaking a bit too low, but if there's any clipping while you're recording, start over.

6. Recording

In Audition, if you go to File - New Session, you'll get a box like this: -

44100 is standard "CD quality" so make sure you go with at least that. You can go higher if you like, it's up to you.

To arm a track ready for recording in Audition, press the little red R button next to one of the tracks in the multitrack view (just use track 1), so it looks like this: -

Once a track is armed for recording, hit the record button at the bottom of the main program window and record the song. Don't worry about dead space at the beginning/end, but make sure you don't cut any of the song off by starting recording too late, or by ending the recording before the song has fully faded out.

You can record a whole side of vinyl in one go if you like, then chop it into separate songs afterwards.

7. Chopping out the dead space at each end

Select the hybrid tool in Audition by making sure this button is pushed in in the main toolbar: -

Now you can left click anywhere on the waveform to move the marker in Audition to that point. Use the zoom controls if you want to zoom in to get a nice accurate cut: -

Once the marker is in the right place, right-click on the waveform and choose "Split", then delete the unwanted block of audio (i.e. the dead space at the beginning/end) by right-clicking on it and choosing "Remove Clip". You can also use the same "Split" option to chop a recording into separate tracks if you recorded a whole side of an album in one go.

Once you've cut the dead space off each end, right-click anywhere on the waveform and choose "Convert to Unique Copy". If you can hear slight clicks at the beginning and/or end of your track, you can apply a fade in and/or fade out effect to get rid of it. Zoom right in and apply it to just the very beginning (fade in) and end (fade out) of the track, cos obviously you don't want to hear it fading in and out - you're just using that effect to get rid of the click.

8. Removal of clicks, pops and background noise

You'll have your own opinion on whether to do this or not. Some people like to hear the crackles, clicks etc. but personally I don't. I want the recording to sound like it came from a record that's just been played for the very first time if possible.

Double-click on the waveform and you will enter edit view in Audition. In the Effects menu on the left are a number of tools you can use to clean up the recording: -

When you use any of these tools, you can apply them to the entire waveform, or you can select a small part of the waveform by left-clicking and dragging over the area (a loud click/pop for instance) so that the tool only affects that particular area. There's an undo button in the main Audition taskbar, so if you don't like what one of these tools does to the sound quality, you can click undo.

At the very least, I think it's a good idea to remove any loud clicks/pops. To do that, select just the area that contains the click/pop and run the auto click/pop eliminator.

Running these tools over the entire waveform can noticeably affect the sound quality, so for instance, don't run the auto click/pop eliminator with the "heavy" preset over your entire song just for the sake of it. Focus on cleaning up just the bits that need cleaning up. Play around with the tools available and you'll soon figure them out.

9. Final tweaks before exporting

Go back into multitrack view and play the song. At this point, the dead space at each end is cut off and you'll have cleaned the recording up to your liking, so now there's just a couple of things to focus on: -

a) Volume. Again, check to see that levels are peaking close to 0 dB. If they're too low, you can boost the volume a little.

b) Balance/panning. As long as your equipment is set up right and there are no issues, you won't need to mess with this at all, but if you do need to tweak it, now is the time to do it.

10. Exporting the song

In multitrack view, go to File - Export - Audio... and a box will appear. Make sure that in the "Save as type:" box it says "Windows PCM (*.wav)" then give your file a name, choose where to save it, and hit Save.

11. Converting to MP3 (or another format)

You'll most likely be converting to one of 2 formats: -

a) MP3. The most common format, but it's a lossy encoding method. A good free tool for this is LameDropXPd which you can download here: -

This uses the latest version of the LAME MP3 codec, which is the best MP3 encoder around. For encoding settings you can choose between VBR and CBR. Personally I use VBR as it's more efficient, so for VBR I would recommend using V2 at a minimum. I personally use V0 which is the highest quality setting. If you have to use CBR for whatever reason, go with a decent high bitrate such as 256 or 320 Kbps.

Using LameDropXPd is easy. Right-click on the program window for options. Drag and drop WAV files to the program window to convert them to MP3.

b) FLAC. If you want a lossless archive of your vinyl, FLAC is a good way to go. It compresses the WAV file, but without stripping out any of the audio information (unlike MP3). If you want to encode to lossless FLAC, you can find free software to do it here: -


12. Tagging the files

The last step is to tag the files with the artist info, song titles, album title, album art etc. You can find this information on Discogs and you can get album art with a Google image search.

For tagging files I use MP3Tag, which is a great app that's also free: -

Might come in useful, I tend to pirate tracks if I have the vinyl because I can never get my rips sounding nice but will be giving this a go


nom nom nom nom!
Nice post. I will probably never do this as I keep both dj collections separate atm (digi/vinyl). But this is great for archiving purposes.

I just wish we could start gettin access to free/reduced mp3s when we purchase the vinyl. :-/


nom nom nom nom!
Yeah, this. Surus do it but they don't package as well as Chemical or Redeye and ive had too many warped records come so don't use them
hmm good to know. but i'm also in the same boat as you, as I don't really buy from anywhere else other than chemical due to shipping costs (they're quite reasonable considering i'm more than a continent away. I've gotten stuff from redeye on sale tho.


Bum 'n Face
VIP Junglist
ive not done it myself yet, but can you not just record the track in a dvs software line traktor, then convert it to mp3 or is your method above much better?