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How to Convert LPs to Digital Files

Don't Throw Your Love Away: Backing Everything Up

OK, you've figured out how to convert your LPs to digital. You've got the files in your computer. Now what? You can listen to them or export them in various forms. You can burn CDs, but part of your goal was probably having your music in a more portable format. And since there are questions about the life span of the CDs you burn, you'll want something that might be more permanent.

One thing you DON'T want to do is leave all that great music in your computer with no backup. You can copy everything into an external hard drive, for starters.

If you are recording large numbers of LPs, you may want to use a compressed lossless output format such as FLAC (Free Lossless Codec) or ALC (Apple lossless). These use about half the space of .WAV or .AIFF output formats. Lossless files are what play on iPods, and their quality is high.

MP3s use lossy files, which take up even less space but lose more data in the compression process. But with copies of old records, most listeners may not be able to tell the difference. One solution is to first record your music as a .WAV file, and store that in your external hard drive. Then also export the music as MP3s that will take up less space in your portable music device.

Increasingly, a popular way to back up your digitized music collection is services that allow you to store it remotely in the cloud, which all but eliminates your need for a hard drive. Companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Spotify offer free or low-cost (depending on how much you're using) storage of your music and other data.

There may be additional options, such as iTunes Match. For an annual fee, iTunes will let you match any music in your digitized collection to content available in its store. Then you can stream that music free to any of your devices. Once you've matched that music, you can access it in the cloud. This can be a good solution if the MP3s you produced when you copied your old LPs aren't good quality – you can match them and listen to iTunes' higher quality [source: Hunter]. Of course, if you go somewhere with more Internet connectivity, you may have to rely on your own devices.

Now you're ready to copy those old LPs, listen to them wherever you go, and save them for posterity. Happy listening!