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How to Convert Vinyl Records to Digital

October 8, 2021

In the last couple of decades, vinyl has surged in popularity – and it’s easy to see why. From the striking cover art and the look of a record in motion to the pure sound of uncompressed audio, there’s so much to love about this format. However, the irony is that if you want your vinyl collection to last, you need to make the switch to digital. Here’s some insight into why this is, how to do it, and why using a professional music service is the best way to do it.

Why Convert Vinyl to Digital Hardware?

Playing a vinyl record is a physical, analogue process where a stylus, often tipped with diamond, moves through grooves on the surface of the record, generating an electric signal that is sent out to the amplifier. Each time it is played, the vinyl degrades slightly as a result – and because of this, an LP can only be played a finite number of times before the quality degrades too far.

Of course, you could go out and buy another. But many LPs are rare, expensive, sentimental – or all three. In an age of consumer culture, vinyl is something to treasure and protect rather than consume and replace. If you’re like us, your collection is your pride and joy. It may be insured, stored securely, and only played on special occasions. However, there is nothing quite as melancholy as a record collection that is not played – even if it is for the sake of preserving it. The joy of music, after all, is in the sound.

Will It Sound the Same?

Before we go any further, it’s important to address the most essential question of all – will my music sound the same? The short answer is no. Digital vinyl won’t sound exactly the same, but there are ways of getting it as close as possible. This gives you the benefit of being able to play your collection repeatedly without having to worry about damaging the records and still preserving your collection for those special occasions.

Converting Your Collection

Here’s what you’ll need to convert vinyl to digital/vinyl to Mp3:

A turntable – A turntable with a USB output, analogue-to-digital converter, and built-in preamp are the most convenient and makes the process easier and faster. The better the quality of the turntable, the better the results will be – but it will make the conversion process much more expensive.
Vinyl to digital converter software – There are several good recording software options on the market that you can download straight to your computer, including Audacity, Pure Vinyl, and Vinyl Studio.

How to convert vinyl to digital:

Start by installing your vinyl to digital converter software and setting up the turntable (or basic turntable with additional components like a phono preamp, etc.) in a very quiet space. You don’t want any sounds of traffic, children, birds, passing trains, or anything else as this will come through on your recording. Once you’re set up, connect all the devices using the integrated USB, or by using an RCA to 3.5mm connection.

Then, clean your vinyl so it’s free of dust and finger oils. These debris can affect the sound quality of the record as well as damage the grooves over time. You can use a clean microfibre cloth and an LP cleaning solution if needed.

Once your software has launched, select an appropriate input source and start recording. Depending on your software, you may have to do a few trial runs and read through the instructions to make sure you’re getting it right. It’s also a good idea to check your input source on your computer system as well as in the software, as this is a common issue.

We recommend recording at 16 bits sampled at 44.1kHz at a minimum. This will allow you to make a compressed version if you need one, but you’ll always have a lossless, high-quality file to fall back on.

Split the tracks and name them, exporting them to the digital library of your choice. We also recommend that you back this up to the cloud or an external hard drive for safety.

Professional Vinyl to Digital Conversion Services

Digitising a vinyl collection is no simple task, although it is a highly recommended one. It is time-consuming, expensive if you need to buy equipment, and you will likely always have quality issues arising from ambient noise in your space.

You can make this process a lot simpler and more rewarding by outsourcing it to our recording studio in London. At Kore Studios, we assist collectors in converting their vinyl to digital using our state-of-the-art sound equipment, and this service is run by an experienced sound engineer in a fully equipped and noise-dampened recording studio, ensuring the best possible sound quality.

While we believe there is nothing purer and more enjoyable than the sound of vinyl, we do everything we can to get your digital copies as close as possible to the real thing. With decades of experience, a passion for music, and expertise, we can help make this process faster, affordable, and rewarding.