Converting your records and tapes to digital form is a lot easier than you might think, and of course, once they’re digitized, you can burn the music to durable CDs, download it to a portable player, or even stream it over the Web. If you already have a stereo system and a computer, you need just a handful of items to make the conversion.
The hardware connection is pretty straightforward—you connect your turntable or tape deck to your stereo receiver, then connect the receiver to the sound card in your computer with the appropriate audio cable (see Chapter 3 for details). Naturally, your computer also needs software that can capture analog audio and remove noise.
Some “audio restoration” programs can do everything, from recording the audio to removing noise and splitting an album into separate tracks. However, many advanced users will prefer to use their favorite audio editor for recording and rely on a dedicated audio restoration program or plug-in just for noise removal.
Any of the audio editing programs covered in Chapter 13 can also capture and clean up analog audio, but if you have vintage records that are worth saving you should bite the bullet and get a dedicated audio restoration program, or a plug-in for your sound editor. If you want to test the waters before you shell out a lot of money, you can start with any of the programs described below. (We cover the dedicated audio restoration tools later in this chapter.)