Is there software that will enable me to use my Mac to record LPs and put them on audio CDs? I would like to be able to record an LP and select each song.
You can’t make a direct connection between your turntable and Mac because of the turntable’s RIAA curve – which reduces low frequencies and pushes higher frequencies. If you directly connect the turntable to your Mac, the sound will be unsatisfactory. Instead, you must channel the turntable’s audio through a device that corrects the RIAA curve. That device could be something as simple as your stereo receiver. String an RCA-to-miniplug cable between an output on the receiver (Tape Out, for example). If your receiver doesn’t have the inputs or outputs you need, consider a phono pre-amp (between £13 and £95). This device boosts the signal from the turntable and deals with the RIAA curve.
You can use any audio editor to capture the sound from an attached turntable or tape deck – Apple’s GarageBand will certainly do the job. Choose the audio input that delivers sound from your turntable, record a side of the LP, and then use the technique we described earlier to create separate tracks. Better still is to automatically chunk your LPs into tracks. To do that you need an application that ‘listens’ for audio gaps and creates new files based on these moments of silence. If you have Roxio’s £120 Toast Titanium (www.roxio.co.uk), you already have such an application in the included CD Spin Doctor. Start the capture, drop the needle, play the side of the LP and when you click Stop in CD Spin Doctor the application will identify gaps. If you agree with its decisions, choose to divide the file into separate tracks. If it missed the mark, adjust the track splits.
While we’ve had good luck with the most recent version of CD Spin Doctor, older versions were unreliable. If you don’t have the latest version and you’re not keen to upgrade to Toast Titanium 10, you have other options. One is Ambrosia Software’s £44 WireTap Studio (www.ambrosiasw.com). Like CD Spin Doctor, it can listen for silence and automatically create files. Alternatively, you can easily insert markers or create new tracks as the record plays. Rogue Amoeba’s £32 Audio Hijack Pro/Fission bundle (www.rogueamoeba.com) is another option. Fission is an easy-to-use audio editor that can automatically split files based on periods of silence. Both WireTap Studio and Audio Hijack Pro/Fission will export files directly to iTunes, where you can arrange the tracks into playlists and burn them to CD.