It’s usually best to “process” the album (or at least one whole side) at once so all of the tracks get the same volume adjustment, EQ, noise reduction, etc. Then split the tracks as the last step before exporting (or during your final-export).
- What Project Rates are suggested when storage space is not a concern? Do I need to match the Project Rate to the USB spec of the turntable USB output?
From what I found your turntable works at 16 bits and either 44.1 or 48kHz. By default, audacity will convert to 32-bit floating-point when you record (and you can optionally change the sample rate but there’s no reason to do that).
As you may know, 16/44.1 is used on CDs and it’s plenty good enough for analog vinyl (or anything else). So that’s fine when you export. If you make WAV or FLAC files, 48kHz will give you proportionally larger files. If you make MP3s, the file size is determined by bit rate, not sample rate.
- What other set-up options are recommended to make this project efficient and seamless
It’s time consuming if you want the best results…
A lot of older records are “dull sounding” so sometimes I’ll boost the highs.
If any of the records are mono, converting the file to mono after recording will (slightly) reduce the noise, or if one channel is particularly noisy you can delete the noisy channel completely (before converting to mono). Or, if there is a click in one channel you can copy just a short selection from the good channel to the bad channel. This sometimes actually works with stereo records because you don’t notice the loss of stereo for just a few milliseconds.
You can try some regular Noise Reduction for the constant low-level noise. But listen carefully to the result because there can be artifacts (side effects).
For clicks & pops you can try the Click Removal or Repair effects. If you are using the (manual) Repair effect, the Spectrogram view or Multi-view makes it easier to “see and find” the defect before you start zooming-in.
There are special-purpose programs for cleaning-up digitized vinyl. [u]Wave Corrector[/u] is now free. I’ve had [u]Wave Repair[/u] ($30 USD) for a long time. It can do an audibly perfect repair of most (but not all) clicks & pops and it’s manual so it only “touches” the audio where you identify a defect. But, that makes it VERY time consuming and you wouldn’t want to use it on 300 albums. [u]This page[/u] lists some more software alternatives and it has TONS of other information about digitizing records.
If you can’t find the album artwork online, an album cover won’t fit into a regular scanner but you can scan in sections and then use “photo stitching” software to re-assemble the sections. It’s been awhile and I can’t remember what I used, but I found something free that worked well. I once took some albums to Kinko’s (now “Fed-EX Office”) but they wouldn’t use their large scanner because the images are copyrighted. Audacity doesn’t support Album artwork so you’ll have to use a different “tagging” application. I use MP3tag (which actually works with almost all formats except WAV).