New workflow for Digitizing Records.
tags: #records #vinyl #carlistening #recordcollection #digitalrecorder
I purchased a Tascam handheld recorder about a month ago so I can record my live sets, environmental recordings, and for digitizing records for listening to in the car. The model is DR-40e. The E is the "enhanced" processor feature according to the Guitar Center rep I talked to on the phone; although there is no real documentation of how this feature benefits me anywhere on the net that I can find (including Tascam's site), and the rep was clueless other than it was "enhanced processor specifically for Guitar Center". The manual has no reference to it either. Regardless, it was a good deal, and it is a stellar recorder so far from my limited usage of it. Good battery life so far, although I bought the power supply for it to save on batteries!
Here is my workflow that so far is working pretty well...
Record the vinyl onto the Tascam DR-40E recorder
Pull the WAV files over to my computer
In Sony's Sound Forge software, load the file and normalize it once (to peak value, so no compression occurs) to get good levels for editing (note if there is a pop or loud sound like the needle hitting the record, you won't normalize to maximum potential, I'll deal with this later). I go in and mark the beginning and end of each track; delete the unwanted sections
In Sound Forge, once the tracks' beginning and ending points are marked, I simply double click inside of that region and it is selected. I then <CTRL><V> (cut) and <CTRL><E> (paste to new).
Now that I have the track isolated, a visually scan the waveform plot for any pops or clicks and take care of those if necessary.
I then normalize to peak values again. This will give me the hottest possible sound without any compression or change to the original sound.
I save in a folder with a standard filename. The folder name is Artist - Title - Catalog Number - Year. The filename is Track Number - Song Title. These go in a wavs subfolder. I get the proper filenames, catalog numbers, years and images from Discogs.com (damn those young artists who like to print REALLY small on their record, or don't include information at all, someday they'll get old too!!!).
I delete the original sound file and that record is done, now repeat...
Once I have all the albums edited, I can go in and create MP3s for lossy listening; I typically use MP3s for portable devices to save space and given there is a significant amount of ambient noise in "portal environments", so lossy isn't that big of deal.
I drag the WAV files into CD-EX, a great ripping and encoding software using the LAME encoder. Old school but it works great.
I then drag the MP3s into MP3Tag, I like this program for consistently tagging MP3s. I select the entire album, use the auto-convert feature to snag the track number and song title, I add the Artist, Album and Year manually (using copy/paste from Discogs if there are special characters 'cause I'm lazy). I then drag the cover art into the program and save all this new meta-data to the files.
I end up with lossless WAV files (someday I may convert to FLAC, but right now I don't care about saving disk space for lossless) and MP3 files with consistent tagging.
Curious if you have any recommendations or software you prefer?
All of this does take a while, of course the recording of the records is real-time; and then I processed 25 records (mostly EPs) in about 3 hours. Not too bad. Now that I have the Tascam DR-40e figured out and a process refined, I'm going to pick some of my favorite records that I have never seen digitized files and continue the process! Can't wait to be able to listen to these in the car and load them onto my phone for non-home listening! Of course, I'll still put the wax on the platter whenever I'm at home, as there is just no better way to listen to music than vinyl!
Here is the first round of 25 records using this new workflow...can't wait for the next 25!