Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recording 16-2/3 rpm Records with a 33-1/3 rpm Record Player

My mother recently found some old records of Bible teaching on 16-2/3rds rpm records. She asked if I could get them to play on something so she could hear them.

I have an old turntable that has all four speeds (16-2/3rds, 33-1/3rd, 45 and 78), but alas when I tried to switch it to 16-2/3rds the gear shift had broken.

I looked up the place we took it to last time to get it fixed, but it was out of business. Well, there's always seeing what youtube has on fixing them. There were some videos on the speed changer and lubricating it. But, before trying to take it apart, I half remembered something about recording at one speed and editing it to another speed.

audio adapters
I also have an Ion usb three speed turntable. But any turntable with either an audio out (earphone or auxiliary) or hooked up to an amplifier/receiver set up with an audio out will work. All you need is the right cords to get the sound to your computer microphone input so that Audacity can record the sound. Actually, I don't use the usb connection or software that came with the Ion. I prefer Audacity.

1. Hook up the audio from the turntable to your computer microphone input. My turntable output and computer input both took a standard 3.5 mm plug. If you have rca/phono jack outputs or a 1/4" stereo jack ouput get an adapter.

2. Download and install Audacity.

3. Open Audacity and hook up your turntable or record player to your computer.

4. Click on the red record button on Audacity, and start playing your record.

5. If you hear sound through your computer speakers and see sound waves on the Audacity screen instead of a flat line, you are good to go. If not, you need to fiddle with settings.
a. If you do not hear sound through your computer speakers, go to your control panel, select sound, and click on the recording tab. Make sure your microphone is enabled/ready. If not click on it, and select properties at the bottom right of the box. Click on the levels tab, and make sure your microphone slider is significantly above 0.
b. If you do not see sound waves recorded on the Audacity timeline, on the top right of the screen, second row, you will see a speaker icon next to a box and a microphone icon next to a box. Change between the options in the drop down menus until you get sound waves on your screen. (Note: you have to be recording to see the sound waves. So you will have to start [red circle] and stop [yellow square] recording as you change settings.) You can also set the input to stereo or mono in the last box. 
6. Record the cut your want or the entire side of your record in Audacity. (After you have stopped recording, you can edit out introductory or exit sound you don't want.) You might want to save it in case you make a mistake in the following steps--though you can usually undo changes under the Edit tab Undo command. You save by clicking on the File tab and choosing Export.

7. When the recording is as you want it, Drag the cursor symbol from the beginning of the recording to the end until the whole thing is selected/darkened. (If it's a long recording, you may want to click on the far right upper magnifying glass icon to have the whole project fit on one screen instead of dragging your cursor over minutes and minutes of recording.) Make sure you have gotten all of it, or part of it will still be at 33-1/3 rpm speed.

8. Under the Effect tab, click on change speed. For changing a 33-1/3 rpm recording to 16-2/3 rpm, enter -50.000 (make sure you include the minus sign) in the Percent Change box. Click on OK. Audacity will render the file to the slower speed.

9. Play part of the recording to make sure it is as you want it then save the file by using the Export command under the File tab.


OregonGuy said...

Of course, if you own a reel-to-reel tape recorder, you don't have the loss of audio.

Yeah, I own two.

T. D. said...

You're right, OG. Back in the day we mostly bought records because they were relatively inexpensive. Not many cassettes and took awhile to go to cds until the cost came down.

Did you buy music on tapes or make the tapes from another source? We have a few professionally made spoken reel to reel tapes, but no professionally made music tapes. (Though my brother may have had some since he bought a rather high end reel to reel recorder back in the early '70s.)

We do have a working reel-to-reel recorder, a low end Arvin, but most of our tapes are spoken material either of family or off the radio. Most of those were done with very inexpensive portables and a mic laying out on the table. So the sound is "hearable" and that's about it. :-/

MAX Redline said...

Interesting how-to, there. I have a Technics adjustable turntable, and periodically consider transferring vinyl to CD/MP3. Then I stop considering it.

T. D. said...

I didn't have much choice, Max, as my mom wanted to hear what was there. Actually, there are about 6 sets of records. I just finished the New Testament Survey set for her. It was 18 records--22 minutes per side at 16-2/3 rpm--about half that amount of time to record at 33-1/3. It fit on 2 cds in mp3 format. She can listen to it on her portable dvd/cd player.

I have only digitized a small portion of my record collection. I did all my mom's 78s for her to listen to (though she doesn't much) and so that I could give a copy to all the grandkids who wanted one, and two did.

Music is so easy and cheap to get digitally that I only digitize records if there is no other way. I could never hear the difference between a $400 system and a $1000 system back in the day. So, digital music is not the step down for me that it is for some. I envy people who can really hear the difference between digital and vinyl. I hear a slightly warmer sound, but that's all.

Saying all that, I am very thankful for the ability to carry around lots of music/audio books and lots of digitized print books via my mp3 player and kindle. It's like magic to bring up pretty much anything I desire on command.

MAX Redline said...

Not denigrating, TD. You do what you need to do to help your family, and if that means digitizing, so be it. I'm simply noting that my turntable's adjustable, and although I could plug it into one of the computers to digitize output, it's not a priority for me.

I have a fairly decent collection of vinyl, all hardened and stabilized, and all in static-free liners. Unlike MP3 and other digital formats, they retain all original sound, without the dropouts. On my surround-sound system - which I built - the differences are pretty obvious. But I'm old-school. I build computers, and I build home theater systems.

I got a free Kindle from Amazon a couple of years ago, for some reason. I read a couple of "books" on it. But I prefer actual books, so it's been sitting unused for quite a while. I just like the look and feel of actual books, and so those are what I buy.

I recently did an assessment of the value of the books in our small library. It was kind of surprising. My first edition copy of "On The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin (a really small book, by the way) seems to be worth big bucks. I doubt that the Kindle version comes close.

Digitized versions may be easy to carry, but they aren't the same as actual books. And digitized music isn't the same as original vinyl.

T. D. said...

As I mentioned, I envy people who can hear a big difference between vinyl and digital.

And digitized versions of either music or books are worth nothing, nada, zip for resale. Whereas a book, record or cd is worth something and sometimes a lot.

Like you, most of my friends prefer print books.

I do too for ease of flipping back and forth between sections or when you're having a discussion with someone or a group about the book.

Also, who knows how long Amazon or Barnes and Noble will support their formats. The print version will be readable for centuries.

But, for most of my reading needs digital is wonderful.

I no longer have the horrible reader's dilemma of whether to get up and get a dictionary and look up a word or muddle on through hoping to get the meaning from the context.

All my digital books are 100% searchable by word or phrase. I recently wanted to see what Stephen Hayward said in The Age of Reagan 1964-1980 about National Review's treatment of the Reagan primary candidacy in 1979-80 was. There was nothing in the 35 page index, and I didn't want to read through the sections in the 770 page text that might deal with it. It was frustrating. I finally found what I wanted online and searched through the actual NR 1979 and 1980 issues. In a digital version it would have been easy as is finding memorable phrases or thoughts in a book that I didn't highlight at the time of reading them.

The big books, like The Age of Reagan, are so much easier to handle physically on a kindle.

I don't need reading glasses for small print books or have to decide whether I might use/read the book enough that hardbound is a better buy than paperback.

Last, but not least, when I'm away from home whether on vacation or waiting at the doctor's office, I can carry hundreds of my books with me including multi-volume reference sets. And they weigh as much as a small hardbound book. Pretty much whatever I'm interested in is available to read.

Saying all that, only in rare cases have I duplicated my print books in digital form except where they were free (via Gutenberg, etc.). Probably 95% of my books are print versions. And, if I'm settling in to read something for pleasure and it has illustrations, the print edition can't be beat.