Q I have many 12-inch vinyl records. To replace the music with fresh digital tracks would be costly and problematic. I ordered a device that connects from my 25-year-old Sony receiver to my PC using a 1/8-inch jack. I downloaded and installed the recommended free Audacity software thinking, "This is going to be a piece of cake." I soon realized that it is not a piece of cake at all.
I don't know whether I need a conversion box and if so, which is the best. I don't intend to do a lot of editing, but what I would love to do is separate the songs and label them so I can create playlists.
I am hoping to stay under $100, but if there is a device for up to $200 that you think is the best, I would consider it.
A I don't know much about the device you purchased, but if it uses your computer's microphone input I doubt it is good. You are best served with a USB audio device.
My favorite low-priced offering is the Griffin iMic, available for $40. It works with Mac and Windows computers and can be used to convert almost any analog audio source to digital. If you are looking for a low-cost solution, get a Griffin iMic and connect it to your receiver's tape monitor output. Connect the turntable to the receiver's phono input to send the audio to the iMic, and then your computer.
I have never been a big fan of Audacity. I use the free Final Vinyl (www.griffintechnology.com /software), which comes with the iMic and is Mac-only. It makes recording and splitting tracks a snap by listening for the blank spaces and separating the tracks automatically. After you save and name tracks, you can edit them and add artist and album information.
If you have lots of vinyl, it might be worth your while to find a cheap secondhand Mac just for this project.
If you want to try other Windows options, there are 18 free audio recording and editing programs listed at Wikipedia. (Go to en.wikipedia.org and search for "free audio software.") You might find one there that is easier to use. I have not tested them all so cannot comment.
As far as a great device for up to $200, check out the $199 Pro-Ject Phono Box II USB (www.sumikoaudio.net). It is a stand-alone phono preamplifier that has a USB connection for use with a computer. I replaced my iMic with one and could not be happier. It provides great sound with my amplifier and speakers as well as an easy connection to my computer, all in one seamless component.More on that $8 camera
Q Does the $8 key-chain video camera you wrote about recently include a USB adapter?
A Many readers asked about this. Yes, the USB adapter is included. To start making videos, all you need to purchase is a MicroSD card.
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