Feature Article :: Vinyl to CD


The following extract is to take you step by step through the process of putting the analogue signal from a vinyl record into a digital file on a CD using your home computer and some downloaded software from the world wide web. There is an excellent article in HI-fi news August 2006 which gave me the necessary instructions to get started.

What you will need:

1. A turntable with a phono output + out-board Pre-amp + sound card, or better yet USB phono Pre-amp, or an amplifier with phono input and line-out plugs.

2. A stereo audio phono lead* consisting of 2 RCA plugs to a 3.5mm plug. This plugs into your sound card on the back of your computer.(if not using the USB version)

3. A computer with sound card and CD writer.

4. Downloaded software : audacity-win1.2.6 from Sourceforce

5. Vinyl CD-R by Verbatim (recommended) for consistant audio quality and a long lasting recording.


1. Launch audacity. Go to edit and click on preferences. In recording go to channels and click on 2(stereo) click OK.

2. In the box saying microphone click on line-in option.

3. Go to volume (bottom right corner of computer screen) double-click and put volume to MAX on line in option.

4. Set up turntable and amplifier next to computer and plug the RCA's in the line out sockets from your amplifier or phono-stage amplifier and the other end (the 3.5mm plug) into the line-in port of your sound card (often coloured light blue or has a symbol of a circle with an arrow head pointing into the middle of the circle on it).

5. You now need to set recording level. Start record playing and start audacity by double clicking on program icon. Click on red button to start recording and adjust volume level so that blue peaks are within the limits on page. You may need to stop recording while you adjust limits and then start it again to check levels are correct. Once you are happy that the level is adjusted correctly stop recording and exit audacity program. You will be prompted whether to save what you have recorded, click on NO.

6. You should now be ready to record so start audacity program and get ready to click on red button. Start record playing and once stylus starts tracking click on red button. Leave to record and when record finishes click on blue pause button. Turn record over and when it starts click on pause button again. Once that side finishes you click on yellow finish button.

7. If you wish you can cut out bits by highlighting them with your mouse, go to 'Edit' and then choosing delete.

8. You now need to save what you have recorded and for a CD you would best to export as wav file. When you click on this option you will be prompted what to call the file and where to send it. If your hard drive is big enough send it to �My Documents�. Exit audacity and you will be prompted whether you want to save details click on NO as you have already exported the file.

9. You can now burn the saved wav file to a CD. I use NERO 6 but you could use other burning programs. You would be best to use the �make a music CD� Option and to use recordable CD�s that are designed for music. There is even one brand that looks like a small vinyl record. Once you have burnt the file onto the CD you can delete the saved file. There is one slight problem with this method and that is you will not be able to select individual tracks but it would be quite time consuming to record and save individual tracks. Good luck.