Sound Card question

I’m new to this - so please excuse me if this has been brought up in the past. I have a couple of hundred albums to copy. This will probably take a year to go through the collection. The sound card in my computer is a Realtek (Internal High Definition Audio). Is there any reason to replace this with a higher priced card? Or will this work satisfactorily? Also - I ran across a program “Spin It Again”. Looks like it does the basic work - at a price. Does anyone know if it’s worth it? Or should I just keep using Audacity?

It’s definitely worth upgrading your sound card, but it need not cost a fortune. I use a Behringer UCA 202 which is very modestly priced, but the sound quality is far better than most on-board sound cards (particularly laptop sound cards).

If you are going to use a conventional turntable, you will also need a phono pre-amp. You may already have one of these in your home sound-system amp (how do you normally play records?)

Audacity is an excellent program for copying vinyl to CD and provides all of the tools that you need.

One of our regular contributors (waxcylinder) has done a lot of this kind of thing and I’m sure he can offer a few tips, including a stand-alone audio restoration program that he uses (and raves about).

ok I’ve taken Steve’s bait …

First comment: you will probably only make the 100 albums per year if you can devote a fair amount of time to it - my transcription rate went up considerably when I retired - though I still have arounnd 150 of my wife’s albums and a drewerful of her tapes to work on.

Like Steve I too use an external soundcard (I use both a desktop PC and a laptop PC), I run the Edirol UA-1EX - the Edirol is more expensive than the Behringer that Steve mentions, but it has more features. I strongly considered both - both settled for the Edirol as I figured I would use the extra features (I have used them). Excellent specs and manuals are availble online - and both companies have excellent pre-sales technical helplines. If you do not already need a pre-amp, note that you can buy external souncards with phono pre-amps built-in - ART produce a good one.

Audacity does most of the audio work for me - the restoration package that Steve alludes to is ClickRepair produced by an Australian mathematicaian called Brian Davies - it costs a little, but is well worth it IMHO. See this thread that I started on the subject a while ago

The other big tip that I have is to back up your work - you will expend a lot of effort in this transcription project and you don’t want to lose it. When I transcibe an LP I split it up into tracks with Audacity’s label feature and export a set of WAV files. These I then back up onto two separate external USB disks (prices are tumbling - I recently bought a 1TB Iomega drive from Amazon UK for a mere £97). I also burn a CD of the album - this serves the dual purpose of being further backup and I use it to rip the CD into my Itunes library and my iPods. If you are obsessive and can spare the space you may want to consider exporting the LP transcription recorded with Audacity as a single WAV file prior to doing any editing work - this way you can always go back to the original recapture and re-edit later, if say better clean-up programs become available. I personally don’t store thes capture backups - but it is still good practice to store a temporary copy of the capture master while you are doing your editing, just in case you screw up the editing (another regular contributor, Kozikowski, regularly advoctes this).

Have fun with your digitization project - and happy New Year

Thanks so much for the replies. Lots of good info. As for hook-up – I have a Dual 1229 turntable (nice) and a Marantz 2230 receiver (also nice). When I experimented earlier I used the dubbing out and with adapters connected to the sound card. The usb connector mentioned has the rca plugs. Am I just going to need a splitter from the tape out?

Also - how does that usb device compare to the iGriffin device?

As for the 100 albums/year. I’m sure I was a bit optimistic in claiming 200/year. Just have to see how fast I can proceed.

Happy new year!


Two items.

There is no excuse for losing a live capture whether it comes from a microphone or lumps on a slab of vinyl. At the end of a live capture session Export As WAV immediately. No matter what happens after this export, you can always go back to it and pick up with the editing. If you don’t do that and Audacity takes a dive during a special effect filter or the process of dividing up the show into songs, you have no show.

This is from my Hollywood background. Nobody is going to smile at you when you tell them that you need to get all the actors back into the studio again because you can’t find the original performance captures.

The other item concerns something Audacity does a little wackily. It won’t Save sound files. You are required to Export to get stand-alone, simple sound files.


If you use either the Behrihnger or Edirol USB devices mentioned above the you should just be able to run RCA leads from the tape “record” RCA outs, yes.

I had the Griffin on my longlist when I was selecting an external soundcard - but discounted it for a number of reasons that I can’t remember now. On the forum we have seen several postings over the past couple of years of folks having problems with the Griffin. NO such postings about the Behringer or the Edirol.

Yes … but you’ll have fun doing it.


Thanks so much for the great info.