Recording LPs and Cassettes to MP3

By , January 22, 2010

I’ve been searching around for software to convert my LPs and Cassettes to MP3 format, and what I’ve found is a surprisingly complex array of choices, with little clear information to differentiate these products.

Eventually, I found that Acoustica’s “Spin It Again” software is available as Shareware (through Tucows), and I downloaded it to see how it might work for me.  I found it “reasonably easy” to use, considering the actual complexity of the task.

Here’s my quick review of Acoustica Spin It Again, together with a list of other LP-recording software solutions:

My main gripe is that I can choose to either have the software try to detect the breaks between songs (which doesn’t work for songs that contain pauses, nor for “live albums” with no real breaks), or to use a downloaded list of song titles and lengths, which end up being slightly misaligned. I wish the software could “do both” (start with the downloaded list of song lengths, but then auto-detect when the break isn’t exactly where it’s expected).

After recording four complete albums with Acoustica Spin It Again, I decided it was worth buying, and I paid the $35 registration. I recommend it for others who want to convert their LPs to MP3 format. (I haven’t yet used it to convert cassettes to MP3 format, but I’m hopeful that this will work as smoothly).

One issue to be aware of: make sure you have a “workable” way to connect your turntable or cassette player to your computer. I used a cable that converts the two phono jacks from the stereo into a mini jack that plugs into the “line in” port on my computer. Since the cassette player in my stereo doesn’t work properly, I’ll need to get a different cable to connect my “boom box” with cassette player (from the “headphones out” jack on the boom box, to the “line in” jack on the computer).

Here’s the list of all products I found:

Acoustica Spin it Again $40 (Glowing reviews on Amazon) ($35 from Acoustica)

Honestech Audio Recorder 2.0 Deluxe $75 (includes USB audio conversion device)
Review: http://thedirtytshirt.com/honestech-audio-recorder-deluxe-20-review-and-giveaway
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Technology-ARD2M-Recorder-Deluxe/product-reviews/B001B5LAMU/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (Top-Rated)

Cakewalk UA-1G $99 (includes USB audio conversion device) Review: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/07/08/cakewalk-ua-1g-usb-audio-interface-review/ — Amazon: No reviews

Cakewalk: Pyro Audio Creator $35
Review: http://www.homerecordingconnection.com/news.php?action=view_story&id=1645
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cakewalk-Pyro-Audio-Creator-Windows/dp/B000WEQVDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1264183149&sr=1-1 (4 negative, 1 positive)

Pyro 5: $46 (Amazon) Cakewalk Pyro 2005: http://www.amazon.com/Cakewalk-Pyro-Audio-Creator-Windows/dp/B000WEQVDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1264183149&sr=1-1 (negative)

Cakewalk Pyro Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cakewalk-10-CWPY1-00-10C-Pyro/product-reviews/B00004U8LD/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (negative)

Honestech Audio Recorder 2.0 Plus $40 – No reviews found

Xitel Inport Deluxe $60 (includes stereo input device) One-sentence reviews: http://reviews.cnet.com/external-audio-adapters/xitel-inport-deluxe/4852-9335_7-32386107.html — Amazon reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Xitel-INport-Deluxe-Record-Computer/product-reviews/B000HE7M3M

Roxio Easy LP to MP3 $40  (includes stereo input device) Amazon Reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Roxio-Easy-LP-To-MP3/product-reviews/B002LDU7V6/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending (3 negative, 1 positive)

Magix Audio Lab (Audio Cleaning Lab) $34 from Amazon – problems with DirectCD

Sound Forge Audio Studio 9 $53 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Forge-Audio-Studio-9/product-reviews/B000RLP7P0/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (mixed-to-positive reviews)

Acoustica Spin it Again $40 (Glowing reviews on Amazon)
($35 from Acoustica, $30 from Kelly Music)

Honestech Audio Recorder 2.0 Deluxe $75 (includes USB audio conversion device)
Review: http://thedirtytshirt.com/honestech-audio-recorder-deluxe-20-review-and-giveaway
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Honest-Technology-ARD2M-Recorder-Deluxe/product-reviews/B001B5LAMU/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (Top-Rated)

Cakewalk UA-1G $99 (includes USB audio conversion device)
Review: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/07/08/cakewalk-ua-1g-usb-audio-interface-review/
Amazon: No reviews

Cakewalk: Pyro Audio Creator $35
Review: http://www.homerecordingconnection.com/news.php?action=view_story&id=1645
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cakewalk-Pyro-Audio-Creator-Windows/dp/B000WEQVDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1264183149&sr=1-1 (4 negative, 1 positive)

Pyro 5: $46 (Amazon)
Cakewalk Pyro 2005: http://www.amazon.com/Cakewalk-Pyro-Audio-Creator-Windows/dp/B000WEQVDY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1264183149&sr=1-1 (negative)

Cakewalk Pyro
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cakewalk-10-CWPY1-00-10C-Pyro/product-reviews/B00004U8LD/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (negative)

Honestech Audio Recorder 2.0 Plus $40
No reviews found (product isn’t on Amazon)

Xitel Inport Deluxe $60 (includes stereo input device)
One-sentence reviews: http://reviews.cnet.com/external-audio-adapters/xitel-inport-deluxe/4852-9335_7-32386107.html
Amazon reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Xitel-INport-Deluxe-Record-Computer/product-reviews/B000HE7M3M

Roxio Easy LP to MP3 $40  (includes stereo input device)
Amazon Reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Roxio-Easy-LP-To-MP3/product-reviews/B002LDU7V6/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_summary?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending (3 negative, 1 positive)

Magix Audio Lab (Audio Cleaning Lab) $34 from Amazon – problems with DirectCD

Sound Forge Audio Studio 9 $53
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Forge-Audio-Studio-9/product-reviews/B000RLP7P0/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (mixed-to-positive reviews)

One Response to “Recording LPs and Cassettes to MP3”

  1. markwelch says:

    Update: I’ve now recorded more than 100 LPs to MP3 format, and about 20 cassettes (with about 50-60 more cassettes to record). The main headache is still the issue of properly detecting the breaks between tracks — if I load the album data, then the software just blindly accepts the official times and doesn’t properly align, so I need to make lots of manual adjustments before finishing the conversion to MP3.

Leave a Reply

*

OfficeFolders theme by Themocracy