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5 steps to digitizing your old vinyl collection

Listen up kids, before the digital revolution the typewriter was your word processor, and the record player was your music center. But doing away with your typewriter was always a lot easier than parting with your records. What to do with your collection of big black disks is a question that some have never got round to answering. Some threw them away, others kept their record players, or bought new CDs. These options don’t work for me as I am much too attached to the old records and the memories that accompany them. The answer, of course, is to digitize the whole collection. But how? Because after digitizing, you need to store them and play them over your amplifier and Dolby Surround Sound system in the den.


Digitizing records is easy with Ion Duo Deck. It is a turntable and a cassette deck, and has a small built-in speaker. The Duo Deck uses USB to connect to a Windows computer and to get power. The output is an MP3 format and is stored in the iTunes folder on the computer. A nifty feature is that during digitization each track on the record is automatically translated into a separate MP3.

You don’t want all these audio files on your computer though, so you buy a NAS (Network Attached Storage) for audio, video and photographs or computer back ups. The Western Digital My book Live is a good choice and available with 1, 2 or 3 terrabytes of storage. Power up the NAS and connected it to your LAN router.

A small piece of software helps you to find and install the NAS in your network. The web page of My Book Live on your network gives you admin rights to control settings, your various shares and the access to them. Now you have a personal cloud. From any computer in the house, music, photos or video can be accessed, either wirelessly or wired, depending on your router. Of course you want to listen or watch from your phone or tablet too; Western Digital has created two apps for this, one for audio en video named WD2go and one for pictures, called WD photos.

Internet TV
I don’t want to sit on the couch with a computer or tablet to listen music or watch a video, I want it on my wide flat screen TV and listen to Dolby surround audio system. The solution is simple: connect your TV to the internet, so you have a connection to your NAS from the TV. Next take the audio from your TV and plug it into your audio system.

Western Digital TV live will do the trick. When you power it on and connect the small box with a HDMI cable to your TV, your TV will be wireless connected to the your network and the internet. It has a build-in menu to access video and audio and photos stored on your NAS. The extra is that you have internet services running on your TV as well; watching YouTube on TV for example is fun.

Controlling your TV live box works with a remote, to select and start your audio or video. Of course there is an app for your phone or tablet; WD remote controls your box nice and easy. Typing, for example when searching the YouTube service, is a pain in the ass on the remote. Take a keyboard and plug it into the USB connection of the box. Setting up the box can be done from a web page running on local network.

You can buy the whole system for around US$300, and setting it up is less than an hour. But digitizing old records is not that easy. Not only do you have to play them, but also you have to type in name of the artist and name of the songs. However it is worth it, the sound is good and it is fun to go back in the history of music. Finally this also makes clear that the battle over what will be the main device in the living room has not ended yet.

Author | Peter Verweij

Peter Verweij
After 30 years of lecturing and training at the School of Journalism at Utrecht in journalism, politics and new media, Peter Verweij, started in 2005 his own company D3-Media, which focuses on the following areas: Production of journalistic content for multimedia media and blogs; Research in the area... More
  • Beatrix Pauw

    Apparently vinyl is making a big comeback in America and Europe. Many artists are now releasing their new albums in vinyl as well, so why bother to digitize if you still have a good record player? It sounds like a very expensive option anyway.

  • ellett

    The quality of the audio you get out of the Ion Duo Deck is mediocre at best, and the stylus is a cheap model set to put high pressure on your records, damaging the grooves. There is much better equipment out there with a little more of an investment, or a bit of work shopping for used quality audio equipment at garage sales, auction sites etc.

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