QWe have TONS of 12-inch vinyl records and to replace the music with fresh digital tracks would be costly and problematic. We've all seen "convert your albums to digital" ads and I ordered from one. The device connects from my 25-year-old Sony receiver to my PC using a jack. I downloaded and installed the recommended free Audacity software thinking, "This is going to be a piece of cake." I soon realized it is not a piece of cake at all!

I do not know whether I need a conversion box and if so, which is the best. I do not intend to do a lot of editing but what I would love to do is separate the songs and label them so I can create playlists.

I am hoping to stay under $100 but if there is a device for up to $200 which you think is the primo device, we would consider it.

--J. and L.K., State College, Pa.

AI don't know much about the device you purchased but if it is using your computer's microphone input I doubt it is very good. You are best served with a USB audio device. My favorite low priced offering is the Griffin iMic, available for $40. It works with Mac and Windows computers and can be used to convert almost any analog audio source to digital. If you are looking for a low cost solution I'd get a Griffin iMic and connect it to your receiver's tape monitor output. Connect the turntable to the receiver's phono input to send the audio to the iMic, and then your computer.


Advertisement

I have never been a big fan of Audacity myself. I use Final Vinyl, which comes with the iMic and is Mac only. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.griffintechnology.com/software. It makes recording and splitting tracks a snap! It listens for the blank spaces and separates the tracks automatically. After you save and name tracks you can edit them and add artist and album information. As you emphasize you have tons of vinyl it may actually be worth your while to find a cheap secondhand Mac just for this project.

If you want to try other Windows options there are 18 free audio recording and editing programs listed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List--of--free--software--for--audio. You may find one there that is easier to use. I have not tested them all so cannot comment. If any readers would like to chime in with suggestions, please contact me through my site and I will check them out.

You asked about "THE primo device" for up to $200. If that is what you want check out the $199 Pro-Ject Phono Box II USB at www.sumikoaudio.net. It is a standalone phono preamplifier that has a USB connection for use with a computer. I replaced my iMic with one and could not be happier as it provides great sound with my amplifier and speakers as well as an easy connection to my computer, all in one seamless component.

QDoes the $8 keychain camera you wrote about include the USB adapter?

-- R.W., Cushing, Minn.

ALots of people asked about this! Yes, the USB adapter is included. To start making videos all you need to purchase is a MicroSD card.

Read past columns and product reviews by Don Lindich at www.soundadviceblog.com, and contact him using the "submit question" link on that site.