Features: Audio Technica AT-LP2D-USB Turntable System
You probably remember the name Audio-Technica from the heydays of analog audio. The company was a mainstay in the audio business and manufactured a wide variety of phono cartridges, microphones, headphones and other audio accessories. They’re still around and they’ve just introduced the AT-LP2D-USB LP to Digital Recording System. This cool product makes it easy to convert those old favorites to digital music files or CDs, so you can play them on a portable music player, a car stereo or on your home stereo system. The AT-LP2D-USB is a very useful product and will appeal to many people who still have a ton of records they would like to preserve and listen to again.
The affordable AT-LP2D-USB is a two-speed (33 & 45 RPM), semi-automatic, belt drive turntable with a dust cover, tonearm, and an Audio-Technica Dual-Magnet™ stereo phono cartridge. It can be used as a conventional turntable to play records on your home stereo and can be connected to the phono input or line level input on a receiver, via a two-position switch. The turntable’s built-in phono pre-amp is a handy feature because many receivers no longer include a phono input.
Audio Editing Software for PCs and Macs
The AT-LP2D-USB turntable can also be used to transfer LPs from analog to digital by connecting its USB (Universal Serial Bus) output to the USB input on a PC or Mac computer (great news for Mac users). The turntable comes with software, which must be installed before transferring LPs to the computer. If you’re using a PC (running Windows 2000/XP and now upgradable to Vista) install the Cakewalk Pyro Audio Creator application, and if using a Mac (running OSX), install the Audacity application (which is also compatible with PCs). Both applications offer basic and semi-advanced audio editing features.
You can also use Audacity or Cakewalk for recording and mixing original music, speech or music from almost any source. If you can connect the source to the audio input on your computer, it can be edited and mixed using either application. Cakewalk even allows you to create full-color CD labels and jewel case inserts.
One small downside is that the AT-LP2D-USB does not play 78 RPM records – oh well, it’s still a great tool for converting cherished LPs into CDs.
Four Easy Steps to Make a CD from an LP
I use a Mac computer and this is the four-step process for making a CD from an LP using Audacity. I assume the process is similar with a PC.
- First, play the LP (or 45) to transfer the desired album or individual song(s) to the computer. On the screen you’ll see a graphic representation of the music with time code.
- Second, perform any editing functions, such as removing pops and ticks, re-arranging songs or adding track markers so you can search specific tracks on a CD player. There are lots of other editing and mixing features to learn and use if desired.
- Third, convert the Audacity music file to a WAV, OGG or MP3 file format. When an LP is transferred to the computer via USB, it remains in the Audacity file format (.aup) for editing purposes until it is converted.
- Fourth, export the audio file to a CD burning application and burn a CD. The two most common CD burning applications are Apple’s iTunes and Windows Media Audio (WMA).
The Cakewalk and Audacity applications offer more editing and special effects features than I have described, too many to mention. I found the most valuable feature was splitting each song into individual tracks for playback on a CD player.
Cakewalk and Audacity Music Editing Software
Audacity is a software application that is available as a free download from the Internet. Audio-Technica provides basic instructions, but advanced information for the application is only available on a wiki site, which means that only users who contribute to the wiki site provide instructions. If a user hasn’t posted instructions for a certain function, you’re out of luck. No matter, just experiment and have fun. Audacity and Cakewalk have almost unlimited ‘undo’ functions, so if you make a mistake, just undo it and try again. I found that the basic steps of transferring, adding track markers, converting file formats and burning the CD was all I needed. However, there are plenty of other special effects and functions for aspiring audio and recording engineers.
According the Audio-Technica, the AT-LP2D-USB now includes Cakewalk Pyro Audio Creator, which is compatible with the Windows Vista operating system with new easier-to-use features. Cakewalk also offers a free Vista upgrade for the earlier Cakewalk Pyro 5 software version. Check the Audio-Technica website for more information.