Not sure if hobby is the right term, but leisure time activity reminds me of Leisure Suit Larry… yeech! Maybe background task is better? Anyway I set up a vinyl digitising station yesterday, using gear that was gathering dust, so I can start digitising vinyl before it starts gathering too much dust!
When I’m working on things at home (writing/blog/data etc) I listen to music most of the time so I figured I might as well listen through some of the more interesting vinyl I own & record it at the same time. I’m not aiming to do this for the purpose of loading my iPod, I’m doing this for other reasons. Very good reasons. Have I told you about my record collection?
Last time I moved studios I posted the photo below, and that gives a little idea of it, but its the details that are very interesting… See amongst my library of records is an actual Music Library!
So maybe a third of my records I inherited by being the right person at the right place at the right point in time…. And so I received a call on a certain happy day a decade or so ago, that the big collection of records I had kept asking about, were on their way to the dump – was I serious about wanting them? HELL YES!
See this record collection came from a post facility that has existed since the era of silent movies… Accordingly they had collected all of the music libraries that were available, for licensing use in films, video etc… But as times change & technical evolution occurs these unused & unloved LPs hadn’t been touched in decades…
These records are an incredible resource as a reference and source of inspiration (& god forbid…. sampling!) but I am very clear about the legalities of music licensing and of course many of these companies still exist but a quick flick through reveals literally hundreds of music library albums from labels such as KPM, De Wolfe, Sylvester, Impress etc etc…
I’ve owned a copy of this LIBRARY MUSIC book for a while, but to actually have access to the records is a crate diggers wet dream… And yet all I have done with them so far is make sure they are stored carefully & have an occasional listen to some of them… So here is my new digitizing setup:
Technics SL1200 + Vestax PD2000 > Pioneer preamp > Apogee MiniMe > SPDIF into ProTools 002r at 24bit 96kHz > Mac Mini server running ProTools 10…
I know I could use an audiophile steam powered turntable with oxygen free cables in a room with negative pressure air con… but then again I more likely wont – I’m a pragmatist.. and its taken me ten years to get around to starting this process…. But I’ll explain what I plan to do as I haven’t really started yet and I am open to suggestions!
- Digitise each side of LP at 24bit 96k > archive 24bit 96k master A+B sides
- Break each song/track into seperate files > name & tag metadata > output 24bit 96k master individual tracks
- Output 16bit 44.1k and 320 AAC files for easy/quick access/reference
- Shoot photo of album covers & inserts > archive original photos + output real size JPGs
Does this make sense so far?
So one question, before I start digging through google etc – what is the best way to clean records before digitising? I know expensive record cleaning machines exist, but whats a more practical approach?
Here’s a little selection of the first few I will digitize, even the names are genius eg Music for Space and Oceanographic Science by Eric Towren (wow – quick search & not that I would or could ever sell these but the last copy of this LP sold online for US$81!)