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Convert LP to CD

record turntable

How to convert 45 rpm, 78 rpm records and LP records to CD including recommended Recording Software.

If you haven’t seen the Transfer Tape to CD page then please take a look after you have seen the information here as this will explain the cables, connections to your computer and recommended software.

Copying LP records to cd can be time consuming, but with the right lp to cd recorder software it can be quite straight forward, good fun and excellent results can be achieved.
If your LP record turntable is connected to a hi-fi amplifier with a dedicated phono (turntable) input, then connect a stereo phono/RCA lead from the ‘line out’ or ‘record out’ from your amplifier to the ‘line in’ on your computer, then proceed as with ‘transferring tape’.

If however you have a turntable, but no amplifier (or don’t have access to one ie. beg, borrow, steal – well maybe not steal!) or your amplifier has no dedicated phono/turntable’ input, then you will need a ‘phono pre-amp’ similar to the one shown below.

ART USB Preamp

Art USB Phono Preamp

Behringer USB Preamp

Behringer Phono Preamp2

A phono pre-amp ‘matches’ the output from the cartridge in the your turntable to the input of your soundcard ie. the ‘line in’ on your computer. It amplifies the very small signal output coming from the phono cartridge and changes the frequency response so the sound is acceptable to listen to (RIAA specification).If you are going to use a pre-amp, then connect the phono (RCA) lead from your turntable to the input of the pre-amp and the output of the pre-amp to the ‘Line In’ on your computer soundcard, so you will need another stereo ‘phono to phono’ (RCA to RCA) lead to run from the pre-amp to your computer. Standard phono pre-amps work fine to transfer LP’s EP’s and 45’s to CD, but technically the match (frequency response) should be different for 78 rpm, and even different ‘matches’ for different types of 78’s. However unless you are wanting a really professional result then standard pre-amps should be fine. You can always tweak the audio in your audio editor.

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It is just worth mentioning here that if the turntable you are using to play your 78’s is fitted with a ‘ceramic’ or ‘crystal’ cartridge, (as shown in the picture below – the cartridge is the bit the stylus fits into)
 

Crystal Cartridge

crystal cartridge - ceramic cartridges are similar
 
these are ‘high signal output’ devices so you will need a different type of pre-amp altogether. You can usually tell if the cartridge fitted is this type as a lot of them have a ‘flip over’ stylus. One side for playing LP’s and 45’s – using a diamond stylus, the other for 78’s – using a sapphire stylus, each side being labelled so you know which is which.
 
For playing 78 rpm records on a modern turntable then you need a different phono cartridge. I can recommend the Shure M78S which is excellent – in fact this is what I use to play my 78rpm records. (see below)
 
In the market for a top quality cartridge for playing LP’s? The Shure M97 from under $100. I have used this cartridge and it’s excellent.
 
Finally – you will need some recording software. There is a huge number of packages on the market but I have tested a couple which I can recommend. Go to my Recording Software Review to check them out.