How To Convert Vinyl Record LPs Into Digital MP3 Files
Turntables with built-in pre-amps make digital conversions easy
Vinyl records have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, but they are still not as popular as they were in their heyday. This is due in part to the desire and convenience of streaming music and playing digital files from Flash Drives and CDs.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), vinyl records accounted for only 14.3% of physical album sales in 2022. While this may seem like a small percentage, it represents a significant increase from previous years, and indicates that there is still a significant market for vinyl records.
Overall, it is clear that vinyl records are still a niche market, but they are seeing a resurgence in popularity, particularly among collectors and audiophiles. While they may never again achieve the level of popularity that they once had, vinyl records remain a beloved and enduring format for music lovers.
Music lovers that enjoy the acoustic quality of vinyl records often want to have digital version as well. This saves on wear and tear of the records, and lets you take your music on the go.
To convert vinyl LP records into MP3s, you will need the following:
- A record player that has a built-in preamp, or a separate preamp that can be connected to the output of your record player (see below for some recommendations on turntables)
- An audio interface that has a built-in A/D converter and USB connectivity.
- A computer with audio recording software installed, such as Audacity.
- A set of RCA cables to connect the record player to the audio interface.
Once you have all of the necessary equipment, follow these steps to convert your vinyl LPs into MP3s:
- Connect the output of your record player to the input of your preamp, using the RCA cables. If your record player has a built-in preamp, you can skip this step.
- Connect the output of the preamp to the input of the audio interface, using another set of RCA cables.
- Connect the audio interface to your computer using a USB cable.
- Launch your audio recording software and select the input source for the audio interface.
- Put the vinyl LP on the record player and start playing it.
- In the audio recording software, hit the record button and begin capturing the audio from the vinyl LP.
- Once the record is finished playing, stop the recording and save the file to your computer.
- Use the audio editing tools in the software to trim any unwanted sections and adjust the levels, if necessary.
- Export the audio as an MP3 file and save it to your computer.
This process may take some time and effort, but it will allow you to digitize your vinyl LP collection and make it easier to listen to your music on a variety of devices.
Some of the best record players (e.g., turntables) that have a built-in preamp include the following:
- Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO (about $595 on Amazon)
- Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB (about $349 on Amazon)
- Rega Planar 1 Plus (about $725 on Amazon)
- U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus (about $399 on Amazon)
- Denon DP-300F (about $429 on Amazon)
These record players are known for their high-quality sound and built-in preamps, which make them a great choice for those looking to convert their vinyl records into digital formats.
Related – Best USB connected Turntables
In addition to having a built-in preamp, these record players also come with other useful features, such as adjustable tracking force and automatic tone arm lift, which can help to improve the sound quality of your records.