I purchased a Tascam handheld recorder about a month ago so I can record my live sets, environmental recordings, and for digitizing records for listening to in the car. The model is DR-40e. The E is the “enhanced” processor feature according to the Guitar Center rep I talked to on the phone; although there is no real documentation of what this really benefits me anywhere on the net that I can find, and the rep was clueless. It was a good deal, and it is a stellar recorder so far from my limited usage of it. Good battery life so far, although I bought the power supply for it to save on batteries!
I pulled a random assortment of new and old records and have been listening to them in their entirety while recording them. This has been a really fun process. My card had accumulated 25 records so I figured it was time to dump the WAV files onto my computer and process them for digital listening.
Here is my workflow that so far is working pretty well…
- Record the vinyl onto the Tascam DR-40E recorder
- Pull the WAV files over to my computer
- In Sony’s Sound Forge software, load the file and normalize it once (to peak value, so no compression occurs) to get good levels. I go in and mark the beginning and end of each track; delete the unwanted sections
- In Sound Forge, once the tracks’ beginning and ending points are marked, I simply double click inside of that region and it is selected. I then <CTRL><V> (cut) and <CTRL><E> (paste to new).
- Now that I have the track isolated, a scan it for any pops or clicks and take care of those if necessary.
- I then normalize to peak values again. This will give me the hottest possible sound.
- I save in a folder with a standard filename. The folder name is Artist – Title – Catalog Number – Year. The filename is Track Number – Song Title. These go in a wavs subfolder. I get the proper filenames and catalog numbers and images from Discogs.com.
- I delete the original sound file and go to the next one.
- Once I have all the albums edited, I can go in and create MP3s for lossy listening; I typically use MP3s for portable devices to save space and given there is a significant amount of ambient noise in “portal environments”, so lossy isn’t that big of deal.
- I drag the WAV files into CD-EX, a great ripping and encoding software using the LAME encoder. Old school but it works great.
- I then drag the MP3s into MP3Tag, I like this program for consistently tagging MP3s. I select the entire album, use the auto-convert feature to snag the track number and song title, I add the Artist, Album and Year manually (using copy/paste form Discogs if there are special characters). I then drag the cover art into the program and save the files.
- I end up with lossless WAV files (someday I may convert to FLAC, but right now I don’t care about space for lossless) and MP3 files with consistent tagging.
All of this does take a while, of course the recording of the records is real-time; and then I processed 25 records (mostly EPs) in about 3 hours. Not too bad. Now that I have the Tascam DR-40e figured out and a process refined, I’m going to pick some of my favorite records that I have never seen digitized files and continue the process!
Here is the first round of 25 records using this new workflow…