Is there anyway an old record deck can be plugged into a sound card. The problem of course is that it needs a pre-amp. Would it work through the mic socket? I know I can connect it to the hi-fi, but it would be so much easier for me (due to space) to connect it to the pc somehow.
Know what you mean. My Hi-Fi is at least 30ft away from my computer. What I do is record the vinyl to Cassette then use my walkman from the headfone socket to line in on my computer and record on the hard disk. From vinyl to cassette to PC is not a lot of detioration, good enough for what I want it for. Most of my records are old and scratched anyway. As most record decks have an output to the amp they are almost always phono plugs. You could try and get a 2 phono to 1 stereo 3.5mm jack and plug it into your line in on the sound card. I reckon that would work.
It can be connected to the mic input on your sound card, but the results will probably be unsatisfactory due to insufficient output from the cartridge -- depends a bit on what type of cartridge is in your pickup.
The best way is to use a pre-amp, or the line-out sockets on a hi-fi, into the line-in on your sound card. Huggyg71's link looks like something that wouldn't take up too much space on your desk.
How old is old?! If it is very old (say earlier than 1970's) it may just work. Newer and it probably won't. As stlucia says it absolutly depends on the cartridge type. An old crystal type may be OK, but the new ones (i.e. only 30 odd years old!!) will almost certainly be moving magnet, or possibly moving coil. Not only will you have the problem of them not having enough signal power, but the frequency response is very very non linear. Even if you got an output, it would sound absolutly awful!
Dabs.com are selling Steinberg Clean!4 including a usb pre-amp for £45.82 I bought one a cpouple of years ago it was version 2 then but it works a treat and the pre amp is essential as an input to the mic socket will be utterly usless(tried it). The software will remove hisses clicks etc for you. The item is manufacturers code 202042350. If you input this code 27Y2WS in the quicklinx box here click here it will take to the item.