How to Preserve Vinyl Records on CD

This article explains how to copy vinyl records to CD using a PC, a standalone CD recorder and a combination turntable/CD recorder.

Panel connections

Before you start copying vinyl records to CD, you should familiarize yourself with the types of connections a turntable can have.

Depending on the make or model of the turntable, it may have one or more of the following connection options.
Audio output with ground or audio output with built-in equalizer/preamplifier.

A turntable that only has the audio output option with ground will require an external preamplifier/equalizer to connect the turntable to the standard RCA audio inputs of a PC or CD recorder if they do not have a matching audio/ground input connection option.

USB output

An increasing number of turntables are equipped with a USB port. In most cases, this allows the turntable to be connected directly to a PC. However, for some decks, the USB port only allows direct copying of the deck to a USB flash drive.

Some turntables with a USB port may also come with audio editing software.

Using a PC or Laptop with a CD Burner

Using a PC with a CD burner combined with a turntable connected to a USB analog-to-digital audio converter or a turntable with a USB output are ways to start.

Si votre platine n'a pas de sortie USB, mais que votre PC a des entrées audio analogiques, vous aurez peut-être besoin d'un préampli phono supplémentaire pour connecter la platine à l'entrée ligne de la carte son du PC.
Vous pouvez également avoir besoin d'autres logiciels.

Advantages of PC

Copiez les disques sur des CD, des cartes mémoire ou des lecteurs flash USB.
Conservez les fichiers sur votre PC et accédez-y sur d'autres appareils de lecture intelligents, tels que les téléviseurs intelligents, les lecteurs de disques Blu-ray en réseau, les récepteurs de cinéma maison et certains streamers multimédias que vous pouvez avoir via votre réseau domestique.
Vous enregistrez les fichiers dans le nuage pour y accéder sur des appareils mobiles compatibles, où que vous soyez.
En fonction du logiciel utilisé, il est possible d'effectuer des modifications et des ajustements supplémentaires (comme la suppression des bruits parasites et des rayures, le réglage des entrées/sorties en fondu, le niveau d'enregistrement).

Disadvantages of the PC

Transférer la musique des disques vinyles sur le disque dur d'un PC, les graver sur des CD, puis supprimer les fichiers du disque dur par la suite (en fonction de l'espace dont vous disposez sur le disque dur), et répéter ce processus prend du temps supplémentaire.

Here are some additional tips and steps for using the PC method.

Using a standalone CD recorder

Another way to copy vinyl records is to use a standalone audio CD recorder. You can make copies of vinyl records on CD, as well as play other CDs you may have.
Pioneer PDR-609 CD Recorder – Front and Rear Views
Availability of CD recorders

CD recorders are becoming scarce, but there are still several makes and models available.

Use the right discs

Use blank CDs marked “Digital Audio” or “For Audio Use Only”, some CD data discs may not be compatible. Disc compatibility information should be in the CD recorder’s user manual. You can also choose between CD-R discs (record once – ideal for direct dubbing) and CD-RW discs (rewritable and erasable).

Installation Considerations

Setting up most CD recorders isn’t complicated, but your turntable may not connect directly to your CD recorder unless it has a built-in phono preamplifier/equalizer. You have three connection options:

Vous pouvez vous procurer un préampli phono externe que vous placez entre la platine et l'entrée audio de l'enregistreur de CD.
Procurez-vous une platine vinyle dotée d'un préampli phono intégré.
Pour un récepteur stéréo ou home cinéma avec des entrées phono dédiées que vous utilisez déjà pour écouter vos disques vinyles, sélectionnez la platine comme source et envoyez son audio au graveur de CD via les sorties bande ou préampli du récepteur pour l'enregistrement.

Pioneer PDR-609 CD Recorder – Analog Audio Connections

Control of your recording

If the CD recorder has a headphone jack, there may be a monitoring feature that allows you to listen to your vinyl record while you record. Listening to the incoming signal, you can use the CD recorder’s level control (there may also be a balance control) to set the most comfortable sound levels for your copy. If the CD recorder has LED level meters, you will see if the incoming signal is too strong.

Be careful that your loudest peaks don’t reach the red “over” indicator on the level meters, which will distort your recording.

Recording on both sides

One of the problems with recording a vinyl record to a CD is how to record both sides of the disc without having to manually pause and start the CD recording at the right time. In many cases, you have to pause and resume recording manually.

However, if your CD recorder has a synchronization function, recording both sides of a disc is easier.

You can automatically record a single cut at a time or the entire side of a disc, stopping and restarting at the right time.

La fonction Synchro détecte le son émis par la cartouche du bras de lecture lorsqu'elle frappe la surface du disque et s'arrête lorsque la cartouche se soulève. L'enregistreur peut faire une pause entre les morceaux et s'arrêter juste au moment où la musique commence.
Lorsque l'enregistreur fait une pause après avoir lu une face d'un disque, vous avez le temps de retourner le disque. L'enregistrement du CD reprendra sur la deuxième face lorsque l'enregistreur "entendra" la pointe de lecture retomber sur le disque.
La fonction Synchro est un gain de temps car vous pouvez commencer l'enregistrement, faire autre chose, puis revenir pour retourner le disque.

The threshold of silence

Another feature you may find on a CD recorder is the Silence Threshold setting, which helps fine-tune the effectiveness of the Synchro and any Auto Track recording feature. Because vinyl records have surface noise, unlike digital sources, such as commercial CDs, the CD recorder may not recognize the space between breaks as silence. It may not correctly number recorded tracks. If you want to have precise track numbering on your CD copy, you can adjust the Silence Threshold -dB levels.

Fades and text

Some CD recorders allow you to create fade-ins and fade-outs between cuts. Some also have a CD-Text feature, which lets you label a CD and each of its cuts. This information can be read by CD or CD/DVD players and CD/DVD-Rom players equipped with a text reading function. You can usually enter text with the keyboard on the remote, but some professional and high-end CD recorders can connect to a Windows-style keyboard.

Finalization

Once you’re done, you can’t just take your created CD and play it in any CD player; you have to go through a finalization process. This process helps label the number of cuts on the CD and makes the disc’s file structure compatible for playback on any CD player. To finalize, press the Finalize button on the recorder or remote control. The estimated finalizing time and progress should appear on the front panel status screen of some CD recorders.

Another method for copying vinyl records to CDs is to use a combination turntable/CD recorder.

The concept is similar to that of the VCR/DVD recorder combo, but since the deck and CD recorder are in the same component, there is no need to use separate connection cables or connect a preamplifier external phono.

Depending on the make and model, you can copy your discs to CD with the press of a single button. However, you may have the ability to adjust levels and fades.

Unlike a PC or standalone CD recorder, you may not be able to edit, add text, or make other adjustments that can optimize the quality of the recording. Also, the turntables that come with these handsets may not provide the best sound quality for your records.

Conclusion

Although many audio enthusiasts consider copying vinyl records to CD less desirable for converting that warm analog sound to CD, it’s a convenient way to enjoy music in the office or in your car, where a turntable may not be available.

If you import the content from your vinyl records to a PC, you can also put it on a USB stick, memory card or upload it to the cloud, allowing it to be accessed on multiple digital playback devices.

Before copying your vinyl records to CD using a PC or CD recorder, make sure they are as clean as possible.

Since essential records in your collection may no longer be in print or even available on CD, it’s worth preserving them if your turntable goes bad or the records become damaged, warped, or unplayable.

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