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domm (4030)

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Just in case you like to know, I'm currently full-time father of 2 kids, half-time Perl hacker, sort-of DJ, bicyclist, no longer dreadlocked and 33 years old

I'm also head of [], maintainer of the CPANTS [] project, member of the TPF Grants Commitee [] and the YAPC Europe Foundation [].

I've got stuff on CPAN [], held various talks [] and organised YAPC::Europe 2007 in Vienna [].

Journal of domm (4030)

Friday August 21, 2009
03:55 AM

How I convert my vinyl to mp3

[ #39502 ]
(Crossposted from my other "blog" which has a nice photo of the setup, but lacks everything else (comments, RSS, ..)...)

For a lot of reasons I prefer vinyl to CDs as my primary medium for music. But I still want to carry my music around, and not only is vinyl rather heavy, the real killer is the lack of portable turntables that work while cycling...

A few days ago I packed one of my turntable and my old and crappy mixer into my bike trailer and hauled them and a selection of records to my office. Now I can listen to proper music while working, and convert it to mp3 at the same time.

As the setup is kind of interesting, here's a quick rundown through the hard- and software used:

The turntable connects to the mixer, which does the preamp needed to convert the weak signal from the turntable into something line-in can take. The mixer than connects to my USB sound device (rather ancient, I got it when we lived in Berlin in 2000). The USB thingy is plugged into my desktop machine (of course running Debian), where I use Audacity to record the audio signal.

After I recored a whole record, I have to do some manual fiddling to remove the gaps in the recording left when I had to switch records. I than add a 'label track' and add track marks at appropriate places (silence auto detecting just does not work good enough). Then I hit 'Export multiple' and let audacity convert the wavs to mp3.

Now I have a bunch of ugly-named mp3-files lacking proper meta data. I wrote several small scripts and tools to first rename the files to something like '01.mp3'. I fetch the CDDB data from (or if I cannot find it there, I can write up a small file containing the meta data from hand or copy it from wikipedia). Another script then parses the meta data, finds the matching mp3 file, adds ID3 tags, moves it to my music archive and generates a proper filename (which of course is '02_guns_dont_kill_people_rappers_do.mp3').

And that's it!

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  • I've been meaning to do the same for about 18 months, after losing an entire crate of records that were in storage to mildew. It would also be nice to be able to play them in a Live set.
  • I did not know about I've been converting vinyl and putting 01SongTitle1, 02SongTitle2 in the label track marks, and exporting to files based on those names. I did find that I couldn't type "z" in the label text though (??). So no songs with a "z" in them for me :-) (I've really just been using an "s" instead).

    I just did a search on freedb for the last record I converted, and didn't find it. I didn't even find the artist at first, 'cuz I was looking for "Pearl Harbour and the Explosions", and I

    • The "Search" on is really bad, IMO. I usually have to click through some pages until I find the metadata I'm looking for.

      And I'm not sure if submitting data generated from vinyl will work, because the whole point of freedb and all this CD-autometadata-thingy is that they take a checksum of the CD and use it to look up the correct track listings (/me thinks...)