Terry Danielles Music - Tech - Retro information, features and blog website www.tdanielles.com .


Copying / saving -your VINYL or AUDIO CASSETTE to Mp3

The CORE components=

You have a record deck or Cassette unit /player with SIGNAL OUTPUTS i.e usual RCA plugs attached? NOTE I am NOT talking about the so called for example ION with USB outputs turntables and or similar units!

Magnetic cartridge in good working order!

You have to hand a PHONO PRE AMP module or similar RIAA PRE AMP Audio interface?

A decent sound card or audio input on your computer to save the sound to?

Computer software to record your audio into and convert to Mp3 ? Write to Cd et

I’m going to show you HOW I recorded MY vinyl tracks / cassettes to the computer and converted to Mp3Magnetic Cartridge moving coil

Firstly I had a TURNTABLE with MAGNETIC Cartridge (though you CAN USE a cheaper crystal or ceramic cartridge but you must NOT use the PHONO inputs for this! MORE INFO HERE)
The differences?

  • A MAGNETIC cartridge gives a LOW OUTPUT signal hence why it needs a PHONO PRE AMP input or MODULE interface.  (Moving Magnet has a comparatively high output - around 5 mV (milli-volts) on average, whereas Moving Coil has a comparatively low output - around 0.5 mV on average.)
  • A CRYSTAL or CERAMIC pickup cartridge gives a much higher output
    (250mv - 500mv)and can be used on an appropriate standard RCA et input.

HOWEVER! Magnetic cartridge

the output from a pick-up cartridge isn't "flat" which, in a nut-shell, means the treble is louder than the mid-range, and the mid-range is louder than the bass.
So all you'll hear by hooking-up the turntable straight to an amplifier's "line" or "aux" input is tinny but quiet treble. MORE HERE

When we record tracks in the studio, we often use COMPRESSION to compensate for the LOW or SOFT parts of a signal, i.e vocals with a whisper to soft where the louder parts even out to let the softer parts come through BUT you need a decent signal in the first place to get the best from all of that!

Now this page is NOT dedicated nor referenced to the AUDIOPHILES of you lot, I’m aiming this at those of us who want a decent copy of the original that is pleasing to listen to and is not going to be total perfection BUT still VERY acceptable re i.e Mp3 (You can with the right software also record to Cd / wav file outputs et )

Most of you simply want to put together a simple system that allows you to record straight to your software, master the track and save to Mp3?

It’s why I use a PHONO PRE AMP module BUT it has an added bonus that is particularly good when it comes to my recording. It automatically balances out the signal so I don’t need to worry about doing anything other than recording, converting to Mp3

A pre amp module that uses the RIAA standard.MORE HERE

Phono Preamps and RIAA Equalisation

The difference between an ordinary preamp and a phono preamp is its frequency response: The phono preamp has to "equalize" the different frequencies which are reproduced by magnetic cartridges at different levels, so they come out "flat".  MORE here

So, lets illustrate my set up - based on a MOVING COIL magnet cartridge=

TIP: If you are wanting to record from other sources i.e cassette et it’s a good idea to buy a pre amp RIAA module that has an AUX input aswell as PHONO. HOWEVER you can record direct from the cassette as most have about 500mv to 1v outputs.





I have a Technics cassette deck that I’ve used to record from my cassettes to software but you can use any cassette player with a headphone output or audio out providing you adjust the volume. Ideally a deck 1cassettep1separate is recommended and you can pick these up cheaply, use to transfer your cassettes and then sell on?1cass2

You can buy secondhand cassette decks for bargain prices that have full RCA outputs Make sure they are NOT modular units with specific cables to interlink audio units.
DO check that they are in WORKING ORDER! as replacing belts can be a daunting task NOT as they say for the faint hearted and or the inexperienced! Some units can use up to 3 rubber belts!

HERE are some invvaluable links =

CLEANING cassette tape heads = https://youtu.be/jiqtBSe3Gb0

A cheap USB cassette deck that actually sounds good!  https://youtu.be/dtCeRTfEwd0

5 things to look for when buying a used turntable | VINYL  https://youtu.be/5YjmINkSgow 1recDeck12

The subject of ION/Steepletone and or similar USB et I know it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying something that ultimately turns out to be plastic at it’s core and if you are seriously a VINYL record lover, are you really going to buy one of those OR
seek out a quality built unit for about the same price or cheaper!! on i.e eBAY?

I know a few of you may be concerned re buying new turntable belts?
A perished belt or stretched belt can be found on second hand turntables.

Check before you buy http://www.gbaudio.co.uk/data/belts.htm Here’s where I get mine.

CARTRIDGES replacement STYLUS? Check out https://www.stylusplus.co.uk/

B-Tech BT26 stereo phono pre-amp
Here's a high quality solution for connecting a turntable to your PC, mixing desk or an amplifier with only line inputs. Can also be used as a stereo microphone pre-amp.
29.95 Full data sheet http://www.gbaudio.co.uk/acc.htm AudioCMagix

MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab The brand new MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab is a simple and easy solution to digitize LPs and improve the sound of any audio material. Experience your recordings in top audio quality with the program's combination of 1-click solutions, intuitive controls and high-quality professional tools such as spectral display. Regularly 39.99 24.99

Read more: http://www.magix.com/gb/sem/audio-cleaning-lab/
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DO remember that if you are going to transfer your VINYL that the VINYL is CLEAN and dust free!! Also remember that the whole process is NOT without taking some time to complete! I cleared down the area I was going to use, set up the equipment, put aside the Vinyl I wanted to transfer, set up the software and then made myself a coffee with a doughnut, had a pee and after washing my hands! settled back to completing the task.


As always please NOTE that any products shown, listings or links are not an indication of any endorsement by me. You buy, you use; you  take your choice, you accept responsibility for it!
DO take time to use GOOGLE et YOUTUBE to search for info on this subject, there are always a stack of very informative and instructional vids /pages available that can prove extremely invaluable.

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