To convert LP records to MP3s or CDs, you'll need a stereo with a working turntable and phono preamp you can plug into your PC via the Mic or line-in jacks, or a USB turntable with a built-in phono amp. You'll also need software designed to convert analog audio to digital and clean it up by removing ticks, pops, and surface noise. We've tried many such tools, yet we've often gone back to Golden Records Vinyl to CD Converter from NCH Software, which also converts tapes and other analog audio sources.
Before installing and setting up Golden Records, make sure your turntable is working, since you'll need your needle to set the sound floor to compensate for the wow, flutter, and rumble that color analog audio. Following the setup wizard, we set minimal signal processing options. The biggest drawback of LP converters is a tendency to do too much, like starting a new track during soft passages or distorting the signal by overprocessing it, so use the filters with care. We opted to record songs as WAV files, which are easier to edit and sound better than MP3s, though we could also specify direct conversion to MP3s, burning to CDs, and other options. The program offers a lot of flexibility for accommodating the widely varying sound quality of LP records. There's even an option to record 33 rpm disks at 45 rpm and 45s at 78 rpm; not for the "Chipmunks" effect" but for fast duplication with normal playback. The main interface is a simple, efficient list view of converted files, while Recording Sessions are managed by another dialog resembling a media player interface. Wizard and Options icons on the main view's toolbar let us reconfigure the software at will.
We transcribed several LP records ranging from audiophile quality to barely playable with Golden Records, achieving excellent, archival-quality results each time. The auto track splitter worked fine on scratchy old platters, though recording tracks in the highest possible quality and then splitting and converting them manually using a WAV editor proved the best method for better-quality discs. The sound files produced by Golden Records Vinyl to CD Converter sounded great, whatever the source.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Golden Records Vinyl to CD Converter 1.72. The trial version is limited to 14 days.
Golden Records for Windows is a powerful and easy to use audio file converter. Easily convert your favorite casette tapes and vinyl records into high-quality digital files. Golden Records Analog to Digital Audio Converter helps save and protect your favorite vinyls or casettes. Golden Records features an easy to use wizard to help you through the process. Audio restoration is a key feature in Golden Records that helps to remove hiss and click.
Golden Records Analog to CD Converter features: Convert audio from vinyl LP records and audio cassette tapes into CD or Wave/MP3 format. Comes with a full set of audio restoration tools to clean up damaged audio. Simple wizard utility to walk you through the conversion process. Includes full feature CD-Burner. Encodes into mp3 or wave files with the ability to add mp3 ID tags to converted files. Automatically normalizes recordings. Automatically applies dc offset correction recordings. Click / pop elimination when recording from vinyl records. Automatic hiss and noise reduction. Automatic 'phono' RIAA eq correction (if your old record player does not have a preamplifier). Can convert 78 RPM records playing on a 45 RPM player.