courtesy of n00bleader.
The following guide will show you how to rip a vinyl record to FLAC. You will need the following things:
1. Vinyl record. Preferably mint or never before played.
2. Turntable. Make sure it has a good stereo balance, you may have to repair the connector cables if it doesn’t. Also, buy the most expensive needle you can find.
3. Phono Preamp. A phono preamp is basically the part of a receiver that makes your record loud enough for your speakers, inside a tiny case. Make sure the one you buy includes an RCA > 1/8th converter, or you will have to get one at Radioshack, or wherever electronic components are sold. The adapter will let you connect your preamp to your computers line-in jack. I bought mine from http://phonopreamps.com
4. Audacity. Audacity is a very easy to use, open source audio editor. You can download it here for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Audacity will be recording your vinyl to WAV.
5. FLAC. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. It is the best audio compression algorithm available for a few reasons. One: Open Source, no licensing things, so “the man” won’t get your money. Two: No quality loss. Three: Wide support among operating systems. You can download FLAC here.
Now that we have all this stuff together, we need to hook everything up.
1. Plug in your turntable, put record on turntable. Hook it up to the IN jacks of your phono preamp.
2. Plug in your phono preamp, Hook it up to the line-in jack of your computer.
3. Open Audacity. Set the drop down box under the Fast-Foward button to “Line In”.
Hi Res Vinyl Ripping for DVD (an optional step)
If you wish to make a hi-res vinyl rip (for those with 1337 stereo systems) do the following.
- 1. In the menu bar go to File > Preferences.
- 2. then click the Quality tab.
- 3. In the Default Sample Rate drop down box, choose 96000 Hz.
- 4. In the Default Sample Format drop down box, choose 24-bit.
- 5. Now click the Export tab.
- 6. In the Uncompressed Export Format drop down box, choose Other…
- 7. In the File Format dialog box, for Header choose WAV (Microsoft), and for Encoding choose Signed 24 bit PCM.
- 8. Save the preferences and restart audacity.
- 9. adjust levels accordingly, and remember your files will be f#$king huge.
- 10. After ripping the vinyl, you may want to put the values back to default to save space. the default values for recording are 41000 Hz sample rate; 16-bit sample format. the default value for the export format drop down box is WAV (Microsoft 16 bit PCM).
(End optional step)
Now for the soundcheck.
1. Drop the needle onto a loud spot on the record, and press record in Audacity. Adjust the input levels in audacity, and in your computers volume control application until the waveform has dynamic range (If the waveform is just blue, your music will sound flat and distorted). The waveform should not go past the window it is inside. If so, you have to lower levels and should soundcheck again. The waveform should be close to the edges of the window, but it is better safe than sorry. You can always Amplify a midlevel waveform, but clipping is an uneditable sin. Play back the track to test quality. If there is a lot of crackling, this can remedied by cleaning the vinyl. If the vinyl is old it probably has dust, so you should clean it as well. To clean the vinyl, wet a Kleenex with rubbing alcohol and wipe the record in a circular motion. Then dry it off. This will remove dust. OiNK user weirdcrap suggests using a vacuum to remove some dust.
2. Now x out of the “test track”. Place the needle on the outer edge of the record, and press “record” in Audacity.
3. Once the side is done playing, press stop, and remove excess gaps at the beginning and end.
You have a few options at this point.
a) If the album side is one track, just export it as a wav, by clicking File > Export As Wav…
b) If the album side has individual tracks, select the track, and click File > Export Selection As Wav… You will need to repeat this step for each track.
c) If the album is a “one track flows into the next” type deal, export it as one track, and generate a cue file for it.
Repeat this step for each side.
(DON’T use Noise Reduction. I’ve heard it on some bootlegs and let me tell you, it’s awful. Your best bet is to use mint vinyl. However, OiNK user weirdcrap reccomends if you must remove noise, do it click by click.)
Now that you have your files, convert them to FLAC. Using Flac frontend found here.
In the extract the flac frontend exe to a folder then take the flac.exe we downloaded earlier in the same folder. Run Flac frontend, pop in your files and encode.
If you ripped a side with multiple songs to one big file, you will need to split files, or generate a cue sheet. This can best be done with CD Wave. I’m sorry its shareware but its the best way to separate long files into shorter ones, and it generates cue sheets for you.
I have gotten good results using ClickRepair (Mac OS X software) which does a very good job with clicks once you learn to set it correctly. It’s much faster and more thorough than removing clicks one at a time and (depending on the program material) is either nearly inaudible or completely inaudible. ClickRepair is a declicker, not a noise reduction software. As such, it is a very handy tool for vinyl rips.
1. — Clean yer vinyl! Even new records should be cleaned.
2. — Get a new needle. Most good record shops can replace just the stylus saving big bucks over replacing the whole cartridge.
3. — Many turntables already have a pre-amp built in,some even have a switch on the bottom to turn the pre-amp on and off. If yer unsure just google yer turntable model.you wont need an external phono pre-amp if yer TT has 1 built in.
4. — Unless you have a badass sound card yer prolly not gunna be able to rip at the suggested 24bit 96000hz. 48000 should suffice for a lossless rip.
5. — Make damn sure yer tone arm is properly balanced and the cartridge is properly aligned. Printable protractor tools can be downloaded to help with this.
6. — Play around with a good sound program like audacity or adobe audition (soundbooth). Every album will require some input level adjustments to achieve the best results.
7. — Do not use noise reduction!!!!! If you have some minor clicks and pops remove them manually 1 by 1. Automated noise removal will really deaden the overall sound. Don’t do it. If you have alot of pops clicks or other noise don’t upload it! Clean the vinyl again and start over.
8. — Take yer time, this is WAY more work than poppin’ in a CD to rip with EAC. Remember getting a quality rip of yer album is only the first part, each side will need to be manually edited into separate tracks before you can upload it.
9. — Make sure you got plenty of hard drive space, with all the splitting and editing to be done you could easily need several gigs of free space.
I highly recommend Adobe Audition v1.5 for all vinyl ripping and editing. Also i like to use freedb to get track times from the CD version of the album I’m ripping to help edit. Some albums its hard to tell exactly where 1 track ends and another begins.