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Author's Note: How to Convert LPs to Digital Files
My first reaction upon receiving this assignment was to think, "Why me?" I'm hardly a computer expert, and although I have some cool LPs gathering dust somewhere I'm content to listen to today's CDs or tomorrow's latest thing.
But I realize there are a lot of folks who really care about classic LPs, and they would appreciate some insight into the possibility of converting them to digital files. And who better to write for them than someone who has a similar learning curve when she starts the research?
My second reaction was to seek help. With many subjects, if I do thorough research online and in books and other publications, I feel confident writing articles based on my findings. In this case, I knew I would need guidance from real people. Fortunately, I was able to find two experts who were graciously willing to help me make sense of sometimes-conflicting advice on the Internet.
One of the insights I gained is that for most of us, it's not necessary to tackle such a daunting project. Just buy the music in another form or, if you have an irreplaceable LP, pay to have it professionally digitized.
The other is that for people who do want to try, digitizing is possible, and there are several viable approaches. Purists spend lots of money on specialized equipment and software. But lots of other people use freeware and inexpensive equipment to produce results that please them. As one of my experts kept saying, "If you're just trying to copy old rock or beach music albums, you're not going to be able to hear the difference anyway." Rock on.
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