Convert old vinyl/tape recordings to digital?

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/12/2004

I'm hoping that you could help me with something. I have recordings of my grandfather singing that are both on magnetic tape and on vinyl that I'd like to convert to digital. Is it possible to convert these to digital?

I'll forewarn you...the vinyl is not 45 or 33, it's like 65, or something like that.

These recordings have extreme sentimental value for my family members, so I'm willing to do and pay (within reason) whatever it takes to convert these recordings to digital. Ideally, I'd like to have a digital file on a CD so that I could copy it and send CDs to 10-12 family members.

Please let me know if you can help, thanks so much,


Joined: 02/12/2009

Hi E-

This is a popular question. I get calls about this scenario once in a while, and there are two likely paths to get these irreplaceable recordings digitized. You can take this project to a mastering studio, or do it yourself.

Pro "mastering" studios are equipped with every imaginable playback device (including your 78rpm records and dozens of tape formats). These studios take stereo recordings and make them sound great. These days, that almost always means getting it into the computer.

Mastering houses can be expensive, though. If you're only making a limited run of CDs for personal use, it might be prohibitively so. Try a small mastering house in your area. In San Francisco, for professional transfers from almost any format of magnetic tape or vinyl, try Mr. Toad's:


The DIY method involves your own computer. Get an external FireWire or USB audio interface with a phono preamp. Many of these come with software for editing audio. (You might also need a bigger hard drive.) I maintain a long list of these here (search the page for "phono"):

If you already have one of those, the only thing missing might be a turntable that can play 78rpm records, and a phono preamp. The magnetic tape is a bit harder to find the right playback deck. A few articles on vinyl-->computer:

Well, hopefully this gets you going. Best of luck!

Joined: 02/12/2009

Hey, I just found out about the Ion Audio iTTUSB, a turntable with a USB output to connect directly to your computer: