How To Convert Vinyl Albums To MP3

Wondering how to convert vinyl albums to MP3 files? Do you have old vinyl albums you wish to preserve or new vinyl you wish to keep clean? By converting the music into MP3 files, the quality will always stay the same, unlike vinyl albums. You will also have the ability to play your files with different technology, like a data CD-R or an MP3 player. The vinyl you have, if properly kept, can then rest on your shelf unharmed.  You can break it out and play it on your turntable when you prefer to hear the original record.

There are two ways to convert vinyl albums to MP3 format. The first is more complicated, but with an older record player (or turntable) you will need:

  • A vinyl album
  • A record player with phono (RCA) outputs
  • A phono extension cord
  • A phono to 3.5mm jack adapter
  • A computer with a sound card and a 3.5mm input
  • Downloadable recording software that can be found online for free    
  1.  Set up and plug in the record player to check the power
  2.  Place the vinyl album (remembering to hold it on its edges) on the record player. Give it a short play to make sure you are playing the record at the correct speed and that the needle is clean of debris. If the sound is distorted, best to buy a new needle to insure optimum sound quality.
  3. Take the phono extension cord and plug it into the outputs of the record player.
  4. Take the adapter and plug the outputs of the phono extension cord into the phono inputs of the adapter.
  5. Plug the 3.5mm end of the adapter into the 3.5mm input of the computer's sound card.
  6. Search for free recording software online and install it to your computer. There are many types of software that can be found for free, many of which can work for Mac or PC. The criteria of choosing software can depend on your computer or just personal preference. Whichever software you are comfortable using is fine.
  7. Make sure the software is set to record to MP3 format.
  8. Start the recording software then play your vinyl album. If you wish to have breaks in the songs, you must stop the computer recorder at the end of the song, save the file, and repeat the process for each successive song.
  9. Once the album has been recorded onto the computer, you can then collect the MP3s into one directory to be played on any MP3 player or your computer. You can also set the software to record in wav. files, enabling you to burn a CD playable on any CD device.

The second way of conversion is a much quicker way to convert vinyl albums to MP3. You will need:

  • A newer record player with a USB output.
  • A USB cable.
  • A computer with USB inputs.
  • The same free downloadable software used in the previous example.
  1. Follow steps one and two of the previous example.
  2. Plug the USB cable into the record player output and into the computer USB input.
  3. Download and install the recording software you are most comfortable or familiar with. For these purposes, the programs available online for free will do the work needed.
  4. Press Record on the program, making sure it is set to record to MP3 format, then set the needle to the desired point on the vinyl album. Do not forget, unless you want all the songs to run together, you must press stop on the software and save before separately recording another song.
  5. Now that the record has been saved onto the hard drive of your computer, you are free to reformat, make a CD, or add the MP3 file to iTunes for playing on an iPod or your computer.
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