So I finally pulled out my Thorens TD 160C, set it up and transferred the few vinyl disks I’ve been keeping to digital. I had to do a bit of trial and error, but once I crafted a capture recipe, the results were phenomenal and the process was really fun. I used to have a massive record collection. Well I still do, but this first collection was all vinyl–45s, LPs. Over the years I had unloaded all but a few things that never seemed to appear on CD. A few of the treasures I kept can be yours if you want them, look for the download links below.

The process: Ortofon low mass cartridge > Thorens TD 160C > Kenwood KA-3500 phono preamp > Zoom H4N set at 96kHz 24bit > Sound Forge 10 normalization, crackle and pop removal, convert to 44.1kHz 16 bit for iTunes. Pure ear candy.

After I finished with my stuff, my buddy Ken came over to capture some of his vinyl. That’s his photo of the capture rig at the top of this post. A little while later I listed the turntable on Ebay with an opening bid price of $175 and a buy it now price of $375. Within two hours it was sold. Clearly I under priced it!

I loved this turntable. It was wonderfully designed and built. I bought it in 1977. It was such a joy to see it again after being in storage for about 28 years or so. The thing I was most concerned about was the drive belt. But it was still supple and worked like a champ. The guy who bought it via Ebay is getting a great table, I guess he knows that. As of this writing, the turntable is in transit, almost to its new home in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Some of the music I digitized includes:

EVANGELINE by Emmylou Harris | This jewel has never been put out on CD! And it’s one of my favorite albums. So many favorite songs; I Don’t Have to Crawl, How High the Moon, Spanish Johnny, Millworker, Ashes by Now.

SHAKING ALL OVER by Drinking Electricity | This track comes from the late 70s, but fits right in with today’s retro electronica sound explorations.

TIRED OF TOEIN’ THE LINE by Rocky Burnett | This rockabilly gem sung by the son of legendary artist Johnny Burnett is a personal favorite. And I’m pleased to say that my vinyl transfer is better than the record label released version. Check it out—download two versions of this song and compare (Phil’s capture vs. Record Label), download includes Shaking All Over and I Am A Doll.

I AM A DOLL by Shrink | This track makes me smile. Download it, listen to it, let me know what you think.

EQUATOR and CELEBRATE THIS HEARTBEAT by Randy Stonehill | Some great music that has only been partially released on greatest hits collections.

SO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO EGYPT by Keith Green | Everything but the last track on this album has been released in a massive anthology of Keith’s work. And their choice to release the last track as a live performance was ok. I just like to listen to the studio version every now and then.

A SONG SHALL RISE by Terry Talbot | This is a favorite album. Probably a desert island disk. Super good stuff for chilling out, making a spiritual connection, meditating, finding your center, etc. I am really surprised it has never shown up on iTunes or elsewhere. I’m willing to share it with you as long as it’s not available anywhere else.

DON’T STOP THE DANCE by Bryan Ferry | This 12″ 45rpm single has the most thumpin’ mix of this song ever. I just love it.

TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION by The Alan Parsons Project | This was Alan’s first record after working with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Hollies, and a raft of others. It’s a wonderful concept album and some years ago, he revisited it, tweaked it a bit and re-released it. The re-release includes an Orson Wells narration and some refinements to the overall experience that are really nice. But I have a special fondness for the original. In particular, The Fall of the House of Usher is amazing. And To One in Paradise is perhaps my favorite melancholy song of all time.

THE WENDY & MARY CATALOG | I was a fan of their work from the beginning. It is such a joy to finally be able to listen to these albums, so many years in storage. I was surprised to find, as I was winding down the work to transfer these to the digital realm, that they are now finally available on iTunes, every track for $1.29. They must be popular again. Their work together with Terry Talbot is transcendent.

Good times.

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2 Responses to “Vinyl to Digital”

  1. Stuart
    16 September 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    Hi Phil – I have a B and O turntable in good shape and about 125 vinyls. How do you transfer them to digital?

    • Phil McCoy
      16 September 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      Hi Stuart, you need a turntable preamp, an analog to digital converter, and sound editing software. B&O made super great tables back in the day. I always wanted one. Let’s chat.