Recording vinyls

Hello, Happy New Year.
I’m a newby to this Forum and Audacity which I uploaded yesterday, and it works with great success.
Just to share some of my experience with Audacity and this may help other members as well.
The way I make my recordings.
Play the 33 or 45 records wet. I use a seringe and apply distilled water on the record.
Have a good track following dusbrush which remains in the record grooves.
Record it on Reel to reel, using good quality audio tape. ( no sound Loss ) at 9.5 or 19 cm/sec.
Play the reel to reel via a stereo audio mixer into the light blue line in socket from the computer.
The R2R gives me easy cueing as well by setting the tape at exact start positions.
The mixer gives me perfect control over the audio levels and minimises overdriving the computer sound card.
Also I can control, adjust left / right balance levels etc.
Record to Audacity.
Export in WAV format.
Burn to CD and ready to enjoy in the car.

We are delighted this process works for you and you are pleased with the results. Plus, you have the tapes as backup if something happens to the other versions.

However, you seem to be the only person left on the surface of the earth with a working reel to reel tape machine, so your experiences may not be applicable to the general population.

Which machine; Docorder, Ampex, Crown? Scotch 808 or 809 Mastering Tape, or is there a better tape now?


Hi Koz, thanks for your reply.

I have 10 reel to reel machines at home.
Four of these are working reliably and the other 6 need some TLC with minor intermittand faults, like switches and electrolytics.
The ones I use on a daily basis are an AKAI GX 620 and a Sony TC 730.
My computer is not next to the stereo hence I use the R2R for portability.

The GX 620, I bought new, about 26 years ago. The TC 730 second hand, last year via a local trademe website.
Then an AKAI GX 646, Akai M10 and Sony TC 630 which has a slipping belt.
The ones which require some work are the Akai M9, Akai X-2000S, Akai X 201D, 4000dsMkII and second AKAI GX 620.

Tapes I use are: Maxell UD and UDXL 35-90 and Ampex 641 which you can buy on Ebay USA.
Then TDK , EMI, BASF and Scotch are other reliable brands which I have lots off.

Most of my CD’s are put on R2R. I just like the reels turning around.
Vinyl - The sound is much better than CD.

Cheers. Raymond

Ah. so thats where the world’s supply has all gone …

My R2R died many years ago - but I still hang on to my old faithful Nakamichi cassette deck, optimized for use with TDK-SA. It only gets occasional use these days but I am loath to let it go. In fact it came out last week as I discovered a cassette luring in a drawer that I needed to turn into digibits.

Your method would work with a good cassette deck in place of the R2R (can’t get the higher tape transport speeds of course) - but I guess there’s probably also not too many high quality decks left in good working order either these days.


I’m sure this method works, except, wouldn’t it be just as easy to record the LP into the computer using a high quality line-in port? I mean, every time you go through a different medium, you are going to have some loss of quality, if not just from the multiple connections. I’d say it would be easier to move the turntable closer to the computer.

As far as playing LP’s ‘wet’ could you be a little more specific? I suppose you have to have a compatible turntable so that when the water runs off the edge from centrifugal force, you don’t blow up your machine. As far as backup is concerned, a PCM file seems good enough. What are your thoughts?

I think the object is to use the reel to reel tape machines and this pipeline satisfies that requirement.


Basically yes, but if you read the original poster’s messages, you will see that his comuter is not physically close to his record deck - and nor does he want to make them so. Thus hae can use a R2R to move the music from one physical location to another - and yes the signal will degrade a little - but with the high tape transport speed and good tapes on a good recorder this will be barely noticeable.

Many years ago the fi-fi magazines started a fashion for playing vinyl “wet”. Basically washing the disc and then playing it wet - but not soaking wet, just not dried off. It was supposed to improve playback quality.

There are a couple of downsides: apparently once played “wet” the LP must be re-wetted and played “wet” whenever played in the future - and if you don’t get all the crud out of the grooves with the washing then your stylus can neatly dig out the nicely loosed wet crud from the groove and clog up (Try it on one of your unwanted LPs and see!). The serious audiophiles who wanted to play “wet” invested in very expensive disc washing machines. Personally, I don’t use “wet” playing.


Just to comment on my method of copying via reel to reel tapes.

With good quality tapes, and quality short connections there is no audible loss.

I find the quality of my vinyls recorded to CD far exceeds the quality of bought CD’s which have somewhere a compression of some form added to them.
The fidelity and analogue sound as far as i’m concerned is a lot better.

WC : with a good quality cassette deck you should get excellent results as well.
It is important NOT to get the Audacity VU meters in the RED clipping zone. I put the medium level of the recording at about -24 on the scale to allowe peaks to be recorded without distortion.

Also thanks for reading and explaining the reason why I do it this way.

And you could be true that a few R2R’s are stored at my address in the South Pacific.

Above link to my YouTube channel shows the way I play the wet records.

A key is not to overdo it and use destilled water.

Regards, Raymond

Yup, many of the re-released CDs are “re-mastered” - and IMHO many of those remasterings are inferior to the original recordings - particularly given the curremt “loudness wars” that record companies and engineers insist in engaging in. Example: I bought the re-issued CD of Emmylou Harris’ Luxury Liner as it was sufficiently cheap to make me not bother to digitize and clean my vinyl version. Well, the remastering on the CD pushes Emmylou well to the middle/back of the sound stage behind a mush of louder backing instruments. It was so disappointing that I went ahead and did the vinyl transfer - and removed the CD version from my iTunes/iPods

Yes, I was very pleased with some of the transfers that I made from tapes that I had made some years ago with the Nakamichi - many not commercially available and recorded off-air FM. I did have the Nak professionally serviced before I made the transfers - and I think that probably helped the qualityof the transfer.


Great to hear that your cassette transfers worked out well.

Regards, Raymond