There are many reasons to convert vinyl to CD.
The most common is to ensure you have backups of all of your albums.
If those vinyl records ever become too damaged to play, at least you still have the music on a CD.
Another reason is being able to play your music in locations where there is no record player available. Like a car.
But how to you go about doing it? What is the best way to convert vinyl to CD?
There are actually two great methods. We will cover them both below. Read through both and you should instantly know which one is right for you. For most, method one is the better option.
- 1 Convert Vinyl To CD
- 2 Vinyls To CDs: Related Questions
- 3 Convert Vinyl To CD: Final Thoughts
Convert Vinyl To CD
We will cover two methods for converting vinyl to CD. The first is our preferred method, but it does require some software. The good news is that you can find it for free. The second method requires a piece of equipment that makes the whole process much simpler, but that equipment does cost money.
Method One: Using Your Existing Stereo
The first method involves recording vinyl records to a computer and then using the computer to burn the sound files to CD. You will need specialized software for this. You can find it for free, but paid software will be better. And the more you pay, the more features you get.
- A computer, either desktop or laptop, with a disc burner
- Decent quality soundcard
- Connecting cable
- Recording software (see below for some suggestions)
- Blank compact discs
Once you have gathered together all the needed equipment, you need to check that everything is functioning properly and is up to the job at hand. If your computer is relatively new, it should already have an adequate sound card installed.
As with everything else in life, you get what you pay for here. A decent-quality computer should come preinstalled with a decent sound card. You should also make sure you have enough available disc space on your computer so it can record the sound files you wish to convert.
Ensure that you have the correct software to handle the process installed on your computer. There is an array of recording software available, and they come with varying price tags, depending on how feature-rich the software is.
A more expensive piece of software will have more bells and whistles and will give you more control over the sound of your recording.
There are some free open-source programs available to use. If you do not already have the required software, you may want to start with one of the free programs, and from there you can judge if the sound quality is up to scratch.
If not, you may need to invest in software that will meet your demands. We have a few suggestions further down below, both free and paid.
When selecting your software, be sure to check that it can record in your desired digital file formats and recording rates. The most common output format is mp3, and a 128-bit recording rate should suffice.
It’s always a good idea to check your cable, too. Make sure the cable you have has the correct connections on each end to connect to both your computer and your stereo.
Simply check which kind of audio “out” port you have on your stereo, then check the audio “in” port on your computer or sound card.
Once you are sure you have the correct cable, you should make sure it’s working correctly. Plug the cable into these ports and ensure your computer recognizes that a device has been connected.
Once you have checked everything is working, and you have the required software, you are almost ready to start recording. You will need to insert a blank compact disc into your computer’s disc burner, be it an internal device or an external add-on.
Select the vinyl record that you wish to convert to a CD and place it on your turntable. Then simply start your computer’s recording function and let that vinyl spin.
Once the recording phase has finished, you can select your output file format and save the file to your computer. Next, insert your blank disc into your computer, or its external disc burner, and burn your new music files to your blank compact disc.
Method Two: Using A Dedicated Turntable/CD Burner
The second method is easier, but it requires a dedicated burner. That costs money. And you have less control over the recording than you would with specialized software.
Many of today’s more affordable turntables have the ability to play both vinyl and CDs. They also have the ability to burn CDs directly from the record.
- A turntable/CD burner device
- Blank compact discs
The second method is simpler but, unless you already have a dedicated turntable/CD recorder, may be a little more costly. This more simple method will give you less control over the quality of the output on disc compared to using specialist software.
If you have a turntable/CD burner device already, the first step is simply to select the vinyl that you wish to be converted and, after ensuring that it is clean, place it on your turntable.
Next, make sure you have a blank compact disc, and then place it in your device’s CD player/recorder.
Initiate the recording process on the CD burner and then start playing your selected vinyl. Simple.
Vinyls To CDs: Related Questions
Next, we will answer some common questions related to copying vinyl records to the CD format. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.
Which Audio Recording Software Should I Use?
There are a variety of software options available, and which one is right for you will depend on a couple of factors. The two factors to pay attention to are the cost of the software and your required output quality.
There are free options, which are a great place to start if you are unsure of the output quality you require. A good place to start is with Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net).
If your budget allows, you can then try the paid options. Two to check out are Pure Vinyl and Vinyl Studio. Pure Vinyl costs $129, while Vinyl Studio offers a standard package for $29.99 or a pro version for $49.99.
Will I Lose Sound Quality?
To a certain degree, there may be a slight loss of sound quality. To what extent this happens will depend on the quality of your equipment and software.
How Long Will It Take To Convert My Music?
There is no quick-fix way of ripping your vinyl to a compact disc. The recording takes place in real time, so a fifty-minute record will take fifty minutes to rip to your computer.
Is Burning CDs Illegal?
The simple answer is that it depends on the circumstances. If you are ripping your vinyl to CD with the intention of selling copies, that would be illegal and an infringement on copyright laws.
The U.S. Copyright Act allows you to make an archival copy of media you’ve legally obtained, in case something happens to the original. This is for personal use only and not to be shared with others.
In other words, burning a CD from vinyl that you legally obtained should pose no problems. This is seen as “format shifting.” It is perfectly fine, for example, to burn a CD from your vinyl with the sole intention of being able to listen to your music when in your car.
Convert Vinyl To CD: Final Thoughts
We gave you two different methods for converting vinyl to CD. Which one is better for you depends on the equipment you already have and the quality you expect from your recording.
If you already have a dedicated burner, then method two is obviously the right one. If not, this only makes sense if you plan on burning a lot of vinyl to CDs and you do not need all of the options offered by dedicated software.
If you want more options, or if you do not plan on burning a lot of vinyl records to compact discs (or you don’t want to pay for a dedicated burner), then method one is the way to go.