Hi Ishumael:

Probably the simplest solution is get a stand-alone CD recorder. I'm sure
many on this list have specific recommendations. Of course, you need a phono
preamp to go between your phono cartridge and the CD recorder, for instance
the phono section of a preamp, integrated amp or receiver. Or a standalone
phono preamp. Many hardware options and I'm sure others will chime in with
specific recommendations.

There's a lot of voodoo and superstition about disc transfers out there, but
one mantra has rung very true with me over years of doing this and thousands
of discs -- CLEAN THE RECORD AND CLEAN IT CORRECTLY. The best investment I
ever made as far as LP records was a VPI machine. There are other, less
costly solutions out there that work just as well. Some people are brave and
skilled enough to wash LPs with a soft car-wash spong and a solution of
water, ivory soap and alcohol in a slop-sink. I know this can work because
one of the people I most respect as far as great vinyl-to-digital (and
shellac-to-digital) transfers uses this method. But he's braver and more
skilled than I, so I stick with a cleaning machine.

The only other hard and fast rule I can think of is -- use a good cartridge
with a sharp/unchipped stylus. Then you won't damage your records and you'll
get optimum results.

Oh, actually one more hard and fast rule -- in the digital world, 0dBfs on
the meters means absolutely maximum level. Digital ain't tape -- it clips
ugly and doesn't saturate pretty. So watch your levels until you figure out
how to do it right. Don't be too timid or you'll get lousy, thin sound; just
don't be too aggressive like some guys are/were with tape.

Years ago in the U.S., TDK tape had a radio commercial about a guy who said
"all my friends think I'm crazy" because as soon as he'd get a new LP, he'd
record it to tape and then listen to the tape. Well, he might not have been
so crazy and would definitely not be crazy today.  MANY things that were
originally released on LP are not out on commercial CD's and probably never
will be. Or, what's out there is a really lousy remaster. Or, it's a decent
remaster made from a badly-deteriorated tape. Unfortunately, many LPs back
in the day -- at least in the U.S. -- were pressed on noisy vinyl. However,
if you have a lot of LPs, you probably have dozens that fall into the magic
sweet spot: never released or ineptly released on CD, good vinyl,
well-preserved. Those should be treasured. A digital transfer can sound as
good or almost as good (depending on your ears and opinions) as the original
LP, so it's wise to make a good transfer and listen to it instead of the
now-rare, now-valuable LP.

As for CD media lifespans, others on this list have more expertise. My
experience has been that, so far, just about any media I've used that my
Plextor burners will deal with (they have issues with a lot of ultra-cheap
stuff so I just don't buy it) has lasted well for the 7 years or so that
I've been doing this. Ask me in 10 years and I might have a better indicator
as to what will stand the test of time. Any CD media I've burned that's left
exposed to the elements in my truck eventually dies off. If you're running a
library or something similar, what I'd do is make my digital transfer onto
good media, at least a good Japanese brand or even Mitsui Gold archival.
Then make copies of that onto cheaper disposable media for lending purposes.
Obviously, make copies in a computer.

I didn't get into using a computer instead of a CD recorder but that's the
solution I've found best for me. However, others on this list find the CD
recorder solution better. I can see how it could be faster and easier in
some situations, but it's definitely less flexible as far as what you can do
to fix problems like ticks and pops or normalize levels or even fix bad EQ
on the LP. If one uses a CD Recorder, I believe one has to have a very good
LP reproducer chain (turntable, cartridge and preamp) because what comes out
of that chain is it. I find the more complicated computer-recording method
better for me because I like to manually fix ticks and pops -- particularly
the few that inevitably show up on even the best vinyl -- and normalize
levels so a transfer CD plays at normal level in the car or on the home
system (not super-crunched/over-Redbook-max garbage like is being turned out
in some quarters today).

OK, hope that helps. Sorry to ramble but it's early here and I'm only
working on one cup of coffee. One man's opinions, your mileage my vary, etc.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ishumael Zinyengere" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 4:31 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Digitization

> Dear Colleagues
> How does one:
> 1. Transfer music from microgroove records to compact
> disc
> 2. What type of equipment (hardware and software) is
> needed
> 3. Is it a good choice to transfer music for archival
> purposes or only as an access copy to reseachers
> 4. Where can one in Africa get the equipment at a
> reasonable prize
> 5. How do you preserve the Compact Discs if you
> transfer
> 6. What are the temperatures for keeping the Compact
> Discs.
> With Regards
> Ishumael Zinyengere
> ___________________________________________________________
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