Recording & Editing Software

The king of CD burning software in the Mac world is Roxio’s “Toast.” The full version includes a very nice piece of software called “Spin Doctor.” It’s extremely intuitive and super easy to use. The software will capture your recording as a single stream for up to 2 hours of recording time. Once you stop a session, you can either save to a file or edit it down into tracks on the spot. The interface allows you to send the mix to Toast for a CD copy.

Spin Doctor allows you to adjust the track lengths easily. This is where you want to find an accurate reference for the track lengths of the published CD. If you have matched the track lengths perfectly, then the disc will be recognized by Gracenote. iTunes will fill then in all the artist info, titles, year and other disc info. You may have a bit of editing to do there. I, for one, despise the genre name “Alternative.” To what? The CD will often have a different year from the vinyl, etc… Still, you will be assured that you have set the tracks correctly if everything matches.

After you open “Spin Doctor,” you will want to set the levels, check the turntable speed, and make any EQ adjustments. Listen with monitor headphones to verify the sound. Hit record and play the disc(s).

A few practical notes:

If you’re recording a double album, you will generally have one CD for each LP, as the standard CD holds only 80 minutes of audio recording. Look at the reference docs for the CD to see if you have the same track order, etc.

If making a mix of 45s, you can hit pause in between flipping discs to make sure you don’t extend beyond the two-hour session limit.

Set a timer if you’re going to walk away from the disc. Most LPs are about 20 minutes a side. 

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Doo Wop & 50’s Pop Playlist on 8Tracks.com

 

Tops #R266 featuring "Black Denim Trousers" by Ken Otte

Tops #R266 featuring “Black Denim Trousers” by Ken Otte

Doo Wop & 50’s Pop Playlist on 8Tracks.com

There are both well-known hits and obscure numbers here, but all are fabulous tunes from the 50’s. Best song you’ve never heard before: “Black Denim Trousers” by Ken Otte — awesome motorcycle rebel/tragedy song!!

“Jack’s Doo Wop & 50’s Pop”  is Part 3 of a Series of five playlists that are all digitized from a box of 7″ singles from eBay. The final two are Country/Honky-Tonk and Humorous/Holiday — both coming soon.

Jack Thompson’s Box of Records – List 2 “Lounge Lizard”

The setting is a quiet, upscale lounge in the late 50’s with big, cushy seats and a warm jukebox that pipes out all the faves. Soothing and serene voices like Bobby Darin or Dean Martin, or big bands like Perez Prado & His Orchestra. This is part of a series of playlists that are all digitized recordings from a box of 7″ singles from eBay. Find “Jack’s Lounge” on 8tracks.com.  More coming soon.

http://8tracks.com/toekneereid/jack-s-lounge/editCherry Pink Alan Dale

“Just The Girls”

“Just The Girls”

This one is just the girls… Female vocalists from the golden era including Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, Connie Stevens, Georgia Gibbs, and more. This sugar pop is so sweet that your teeth will hurt, but you’ll love it all the same. All of these came from a box of 7″ singles that I got on eBay. A Country mix, 50’s Pop and even a comedy mix are all yet to be posted.

Box Set of 45s to be Uploaded to 8Tracks.com

Over the next couple days, I’ll be uploading a few playlists to the streaming site 8Tracks.com, which all came from a recent eBay purchase. The discs were sold in a single 7″ storage box. All told there are 6.5 hours of recorded material that I have digitized on 70 discs. Only a few duds in the entire set, and some really amazing and rare discs too. Even though there were extremely dirty, they all cleaned up to VG -> VG+ standards. You’ll hear some pops and noise on a few discs, but most sound absolutely flawless. I hope you enjoy them and I’ll post more about the workflow for a large project too. I hope you enjoy what you are reading (and about to hear). 

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Splitting Tracks — Check the speed

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Something you need to do every single time you plan to record an LP is to verify the turntable operation to assure that it is running at the exact right speed. Direct drive turntables have a knob to adjust the speed, and this will always need adjustment when switching from 33.333 rpm to 45rpm.

Why check it? You’re making a digital copy of your analog sound input. If the disc is spinning too slowly, the track will run too long. It won’t ever line up with the published track length (and it will also sound different from the original). This is usually the biggest problem when your track lengths are not matching in the editing process.

Why will digitized recordings from vinyl often sound better than modern manufactured CDs?

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Music should be dynamic, and full of changes – high and low waves that are filled with intrigue and surprise. However, take a look at the files from a manufactured CD on your waveform editor sometime. If it’s a disc that was manufactured sometime after 2004 or 2005, you will find something shocking. It is noise… The waveform bars will run the full height on nearly every note. Somewhere along the line, some artists got the idea that we should hear something at full volume for every single second we are listening to the disc.

By 2005, the average CD was playing at -9db, which means that it is, on average, twice as loud as the discs that were manufactured leading up to this phenomenon, one that has been dubbed “The Loudness Wars.” Sure, there are also poorly mastered phonographic records too. Bad mastering will any kill variation and subtlety, which is what makes so much music worth the listening effort. It sounds okay and kind of normal if you are listening to the radio, or to background music.

You can use your waveform editing software to emulate this same type of file by compressing it over and over again until it’s all mushy just like theirs. So, take pride in the craft and take care not to clip your recordings. Watch the post-recording filters and compression BS. Again, there is a certain aesthetic charm to the way vinyl sounds.

Wiring directions for connecting your turntable to the mixer, with output to the computer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The jpeg below gives nice BIG arrows to show the basic connections. 

1) Connect the ground cable of the turntable to the grounding nut on the DJ Mixer. This eliminates the hum that you will otherwise have in your recordings. 

2) Connect the RCA plugs with the left output on the left channel of the mix and the right output on the right channel (White – left; Red – right). This way you can easily control and adjust for variations in phono disc mastering.

3) If you plan to record from line level devices (Cassette decks, reel to reel, iPad, laptop, anything that has a plug and makes noise…), add a line input cable. You don’t need to split the signal like for turntables.

4) Connect an RCA to 3.5mm plug to the Record output and connect the 3.5mm plug to your computer. 

5) You’ll want a nice pair of headphones to plug into the mixer’s headphone jacks so you can monitor the sound mix. Other than that, you are ready to start playing around with your home recording studio.

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