Gadget Gary: Audio-Technica AT-LP2D-USB LP-to-MP3 Converter

When I moved into my new house earlier this year, I had hopes of setting up some of my more antiquated gear. One of the pieces is a Technics turntable - state of the art, circa 1985. When people (er, guys) see it, they start waxing poetic about their vinyl LP collections and how, "one day," they're going to get another turntable. (I've been one of those guys, too, for the past 10 years.)

Then I thought, what if I could take songs I have only on vinyl, convert them into MP3 files, and put them on my computer so I could listen to them whenever? Or put 'em on my iPod so I could listen wherever?

Enter the Audio-Technica AT-LP2D-USB LP-to-digital recording system ($229, audio-technica.com). It was very easy to connect to my computer.

I plugged in the USB, the dual RCAs, and a set of headphones and installed the Cakewalk PYRO software (which I found to be a bit difficult to navigate). I grabbed a bunch of my rare 45s (like Graham Parker's take on "I Want You Back"), dropped the needle, and hit the record button. That part worked great, and the tracks sounded good. But I did need a little help figuring out the DeClicker and DeNoiser functions (which get rid of pops, clicks, hums, and hisses) and how to trim the fronts and backs of each song. Those procedures should've been made clearer in the manual.

Overall, this is a good buy, as long as you have enough rare vinyl to make it worthwhile. I later found that some of the songs I recorded are available on iTunes. But I had more fun transferring them from vinyl while holding the sleeves. Remember sleeves?

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