Transferring LPs into computer (not!)

  Pineman100 17:34 01 Feb 2011

Apologies for this long explanation, but it's necessary to explain my problem!

I've been trying to help a friend copy his LP collection into his computer, so that he can burn the music to CDs.

His computer is a laptop running XP.

We connected his turntable deck to his amplifier in the usual way (it played fine through the speakers). We connected a phono lead to the two ports on the the Tape 1 Out ports on the amp. On the other end of the phono lead we connected the two plugs to an adaptor which converted them to a stereo 3.5mm jack. We plugged this into the laptop's mic input socket (the only audio connections it has are the mic jack socket and the headphones jack socket).

We downloaded and installed Audacity and in the Preferences we selected the appropriate devices in the Playback and Recording options. There was only one choice in each list other than Microsoft Sound Mapper, so these are what we used (the Audacity instructions state that MS Sound Mapper should not be used).

No matter what we did, we couldn't get Audacity to recognise an incoming music track. The input level meters remained steadfastly flat - nothing shown at all.

In order to check that the input phono lead and adaptor were working, I unplugged it from the Tape 1 Out ports on the amp and plugged it into the Line Out phono ports on his CD deck (which normally plays through the amp). This time, Audacity successfully "heard" incoming music from a CD, but it was very loud and terribly distorted. But at least this proved that the lead and adaptor were not the problem.

On the back of the amp I tried plugging the amp-to-computer leads into every available choice of output port (all phonos) - Tape 1, Tape2, Aux and something called Pre (which I took to be a direct output from the pre-amp). Nothing worked.

In deperation I downloaded a free trial of some LP-to-Computer software called Spin-It-Again. Same result. No incoming music was registered by the software.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong, please?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 18:19 01 Feb 2011

Make sure Line in is not muted in Volume Control.

  eedcam 18:38 01 Feb 2011

The Mic socket is way to sensitive for the line output from theamp you need the output from the amp to be way down low even then you might still get distortion.I take it you have selected Mic input on audacity

  eedcam 18:41 01 Feb 2011

Forgot to add it is often not worth the effort doing this anyway unless you cannot get good quality mastered Cd's often quite cheap.You will not equal them

  Pineman100 18:43 01 Feb 2011

Which volume control should I searching for? Will it be in the audio device management on the computer, or in Audacity?

Does the fact that we got a result when we used the CD deck line out suggest that it's not muted?

  Bris 18:47 01 Feb 2011

If the laptop has built in speakers i.e. you can play a CD in the laptops drive and hear the sound then you should hear any output from a device connected to the laptop, the MIC socket is fine if thats all its got. The problem as Fruitbat suggests is down to the settings in Windows and not any software you are trying to use. Until you can hear the LP thru the laptops speakers then no amount of tweaking of Audacity will make any difference.
If you need any help with Windows settings please come back.

  Pineman100 18:47 01 Feb 2011

Yes, I selected mic input in Audacity. If the mic socket is far too sensitive, then presumably there's no way of getting LPs recorded into the computer, since there are no other audio connections?

So should my friend buy a USB sound card?

I take your point about the cost of CD's, but this guy has a huge LP collection - many of them quite rare. There's no way he could buy CDs to replace them all.

  Pineman100 18:49 01 Feb 2011

My problem is that my pal has XP, and I stopped using it about 3 years ago, so I've forgotten much of it! And I'm now at home so I can't investigate it.

Any guidance would be much appreciated.

  Bris 18:51 01 Feb 2011

If you have problems with the sensitivity of the MIC input and the amp has a headphone socket you could try that.

  Pineman100 18:55 01 Feb 2011

Just to be sure I understand you, Bris, you're suggesting that I take an output from the amp's headphone jack socket instead of the phono sockets on the back?

  Bris 19:22 01 Feb 2011

Yes thats right.
I am in the process of converting a load of cassettes to MP3 and always get the sound correct coming out of the PCs speakers before loading up Audacity. I also have an old laptop that just has a MIC input and can plug an MP3 player into that with no probs but as eedcam suggests you could be overloading the MIC input. Windows has sliders for all the inputs and you need to locate the one that relates to the MIC input and drop it down while listening via the speakers (or headphones).
When you say that the CD output works what do you mean by "works"? If you can hear the CD input OK then that suggests that the output from the CD port is lower than the aux out and that the latter is overloading the MIC input.

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