Nostalgia...... The NYT has published


Nostalgia......

The NYT has published a detailed how-to for converting vinyl LPs to MP3s or CDs. When Napster started, it solved two distinct problems. The obvious one was that you might not have the CD handy that you wanted to listen to (either because you hadn't bought it or because you'd left it somewhere else, i.e., at your parents' place while you went to college), but the more subtle one was that ripping CDs used to be really hard. You needed specialied software, tons of hard-drive space, and you had to title all those tracks by hand.

This meant that once one person had gone to the trouble of ripping a disc, it made a lot of sense not to replicate that effort: better to download someone else's rips from her Napster share than to go through that fooforaw on your own.

Today, ripping CDs is literally a one-click operation, but ripping vinyl is still very freaking hard. Newsgroups like alt.binaries.sounds.78-era often get nice payloads of ripped wax, shellac and vinyl, but the general attack on P2P means that this stuff is getting harder and harder to find on demand, which means that more and more of us are having to individually rip our music, one side at a time, in order to transfer and preserve it (80% of the music ever recorded isn't available for sale -- if you want to hear the song on that groovy LP through your iPod's headphones, you're gonna have to get ripping).

Some LP restoration software suites, including Pinnacle Clean Plus ($100), come with an external preamp that plugs into a U.S.B. port and works with your existing sound card. (Clean Plus and other software choices are described in more detail in the accompanying article.) There is also the iMic from Griffin Technologies ($40, www.griffintechnologies.com), a small input device that converts analog signals to digital outside of the computer, eliminating the possibility of electronic interference from other computer components...

You also need lots of hard-drive space, because sound files occupy about 10 megabytes per minute; that would be almost a gigabyte for all 77 minutes of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band's "Trout Mask Replica."

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