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What Are the Best Tips for Going from Turntable to CD?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The two main ways of transferring music from old records to new compact discs (CDs) involve either direct transfer or using a computer as an intermediary. Going directly from turntable to CD is typically easier and faster, but using a PC to create digital music files can result in a better finished product. One way to go directly from turntable to CD is to have both a record player and a writable CD player hooked up to the same sound system. Another option is to locate a unified player that accepts both records and CDs, since these often have an automated transfer function. The best audio quality is typically achieved by hooking a universal serial bus (USB) turntable to a computer so that the resulting audio files can be cleaned up before burning them to a CD.

Vinyl records are sometimes preferred over more recent formats due to the quality of analog sound, but repeated usage can cause a record album to wear out over time. Traditional record players use a physical stylus that contacts a groove on the face of the album, so even normal use can abrade material and cause wear. One solution to this issue is to use an optical record player that has a laser stylus, but the process of transferring from turntable to CD can preserve the music for a much longer time period.

One way to transfer music from a turntable to CD is to hook up both a record player and a CD player able to record audio tracks to the same sound system. In this case, the output from the turntable can be transferred to the CD player. The process can differ from one setup to another, but it typically involves routing the output of the turntable to the input of the CD recorder, then activating both devices.

An even simpler method makes use of a special music player that includes both a turntable and a CD recorder. Some of these devices also include radio tuners and cassette players. Since the unit has all of the components included in one case, the process of recording from turntable to CD can be very simple and fast. The audio quality of direct transfer methods can suffer, and any hisses or pops generated during playback of the album will be recorded along with the music.

A more complicated process of recording from a turntable to CD involves using a computer. To accomplish this process, a computer needs to be hooked up to a USB turntable. Software on the computer can then record the audio signal from the turntable and convert it into a digital file. That file can then be altered to fix the sound by removing any undesirable crackling or other artifacts, after which the music can be burned to a CD.

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Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Jun 14, 2011

I purchased a Jensen USB turntable to make copies of my old record albums. This model is not a turntable cd burner. You use a USB flash drive or smart card when playing the album to store the music on. Once this is done, you can put this in your computer and listen to the music from the smart card, or go ahead and make CD's from that.

It is really very easy to do, but it you expect great quality, you will probably be disappointed. You will have an easy way to listen to your music, but it also picks up the sound of the needle and every little scratch that might be on your album.

By Mykol — On Jun 14, 2011

I have stacks of records that I have saved through the years and take with me every time I move. I have been meaning to get all of these transferred to CD or MP3 for a long time. It would be great to have an easy way to listen to those old songs again instead of relying on turntables.

My record albums bring back such nostalgia that I still don't know if I would be able to get rid of my favorite ones even after transferring the music. You can move the music from one place to another, but the album covers are still fun to have around.

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