December 5, 2005

It’s a bit like Xmas

Posted in Commentary at 4:30 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

Its the that time again, Christmas time. So what do you give the dad who has everything? Why you get out the Mac, the Giffen iMac USB interface and go buy (really? did you keep yours?) a turntable( phonograph for those who dont know what a record player is). In my case, I had to go out and buy a decent record player off Ebay. You know it is a sad statement when the spiffy direct drive Technics record player you wanted as a kid is now a 75.00 give away on Ebay. Oh well, at least I finally got it 🙂

So I had my dad take all his bluegrass and country records and mark up what songs he wanted transfered onto CD. It took a bit of doing to get it all working right. The turntable had some LOUD sixty cycle hum until I figured out to tie the ground wire of the turntable to the UPS. Presto, the hum is gone and all that remains is the clicks and pops.

I tried the software that Griffen includes but it is junk. A much better solution is the software that comes with Toast. It’s called “CD Spin Doctor” and it is very easy to use from the beginning. Once you have ripped thed track, it then offers a three stage “fix it” panel to remove the clicks, pops, hiss along with expanding the sound and an equalizer board to fine tune the rip. This can be important since some of the older records were mono with two channels blended to be a fake sterophonic. With the panels, you can clean this up and get a nice bright sound.

Once you have the tracks all spiffied up, you can use Toast to make the CD. Rock and roll!!! It is alot of work but it does make a nice gift for someone who is technology challenged but doesnt want to lose a record collection.

In my case, I did not need any pre-amps or special widgets that I have seen advertised. I had plenty of volume to drive the mic input for a clean but not distorted sound. I could not hit the red bars but then I really did not want that kind of input.

The Griffen iMic works great most of the time. Sometimes I would have to restart the recording due to the iMic dropping bits and garbling the sound but that was rare.

Now I just need to decide what to do with my new/old turntable once this project is done. Some friends may decide for me since I’ve already been asked if I can transfer their albums next. I really should charge for this, at least to keep the wine bottle fresh 🙂

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