The great vinyl conversion update

I think I have a pretty decent collection of 80s house/dance/techno/rap on vinyl.
Of course, there will always be someone who has more – lots more – like this person:

but thats ok – it’s not a competition.

Now comes the hard part – the move to digital. Taking all this vinyl and converting it to WAVs (and Youtube videos and Ableton tracks)
As I think I mentioned before, when I first started the process and posting Youtube videos, I would:
Record a track, take pictures of the label/cover, edit/normalize the track, make the video, post it.
This got tedious quickly and I went with the production line – all at once approach:
Record all the tracks, take all the pictures, edit all the tracks, etc.
So thats what I did back in 2010 with 4 crates of some of my best vinyl.
And now it’s time to go through the remaining 7 crates (plus the two missing mystery crates – they are either buried in my sisters basement or my parents tossed them out when I kept them at their house for a while. I don’t see how I could have lost them myself the last time I moved.)
And here are the steps:
1 – take pictures of all records – done
2 – record all records – in progress
3 – edit / normalize all records
4 – edit all pictures
5 – make videos
6 – Warp all songs in Ableton

(Here’s where the OCD starts coming in handy.)
So I already catalogued every track on every record I have back in 2010.
I have about 1600 tracks left to record. I’ll take an educated guess and say that the average song length is 6 minutes.
Thats 9600 minutes to record – 160 hours.
Wow – thats a lot. At 3 hours a day, thats still 2 months. I’m too impatient for that. How can we speed this up?
I’ve got my turntable/mixing box going into my ancient but trusty Roland UA-3 for recording.
But (obviously) I have two turntables and I have two laptops – there must be some way to use both.

Hey wait – I’ve still got the M-Audio Fast Track Pro collecting dust in the basement (damn drivers don’t work worth a crap on a laptop with an AMD processor).
It didn’t work for the two outputs that I bought it for, but certainly it can do one input, right? Nope – I only messed with it for a few minutes but I couldn’t get it to work. Back to the basement it goes.
So I ordered a Behringer UFO-202 USB interface. It got decent reviews and looks like it should do the same job as my Roland but without the digital optical input and output (which I never used).
Ok, that will be here Friday (yay – free shipping with my Discover card) and cut my remaining recording time in half – but I should keep working until that gets here.

Now, if you keep making the same mistakes over and over again – well, you’re dumb. But if years pass in between those repeated mistakes, cut yourself some slack.
I’m recording my vinyl on a very old laptop. It maxes out at 512megs of memory. Web surfing is painfully slow and it can’t even play most Flash games / videos.
But it’s more than fast enough to record audio and thats all I use it for.
I’m using Cool Edit Pro – which is about as old as the laptop, but when something works, I stick with it.
I recorded vinyl for 5 hours straight last night. There was a possibility that Cool Edit, being an old program, would get confused after 4 hours once the WAV size went over 4 gigs. It seemed to handle that fine, but something else happened I can’t explain. Once I stopped the recording and it showed it onscreen – the left channel had stopped recording after less than an hour.
It’s not a huge hard drive but I had enough free space for 5 hours of audio. But I didn’t have twice as much free space. I seem to recall a problem I encountered years ago where I needed twice the space for what I was recording. It would first record to a temp file, then copy that to the actual file. But that was long ago and it may have even been different software.
And that still wouldn’t explain it only lost the left channel. Maybe it was just tired and needed a reboot.

Anyway, almost all of last night’s recording are gone. Maybe I’ll take Thursday off and just wait for the second USB interface, or just record them all again tonight.
There were certainly some good tracks I haven’t listened to in years – Colonel Abrams, Ministry, classic Tommy Boy tracks.
For now – recordings complete is at 8 percent. I hope to greatly increase that number by the end of the weekend.

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