The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 April 2005

A vinyl solution

Recording one's LPs to CD is not inordinately difficult, but it's not a particularly intuitive task either, and, well, not everyone still has a turntable these days.

Enter TEAC with the GF-350 shelf system, which incorporates a three-speed turntable, an AM-FM tuner, and a Compact Disc recorder smart enough to detect the space between LP tracks (unless it's a really noisy record) and increment the CD track accordingly. The GF-350 records on both CD-R and CD-RW discs, with the usual caveats about rewritables. And there's a pair of RCA jacks for plugging in another audio component — a tape deck, perhaps. (Interestingly, the GF-350 will apparently not record off its own radio tuner.)

I'm pretty handy at doing this the hard way, so I probably don't need this cute little box, but I'll bet it's exactly what someone is looking for.

Posted at 6:31 AM to Entirely Too Cool

TrackBack: 2:02 PM, 26 April 2005
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If you're wondering how to get all those stax of wax onto your CDs, Dustbury found the product for you: the TEAC GF-350 shelf system. It works as easy as ...[read more]

Hmm. Maybe one day we'll unpack all the old vinyl discs. We have a turntable, after a fashion, but CDs (and cassettes before them) are just so much more convenient).

Posted by: McGehee at 9:01 AM on 26 April 2005

Although CDs are much more convenient, there's definitely something lost in the translation. I have copied about a dozen of my albums to CD. They sounded much warmer while playing them into the computer than when playing the CDs afterwards. Also, some stereo effects that I noticed while playing the albums seem to have been lost in the transfer to digital (most noticably, a swirling effect on an ELO album).

This device might make it easier but does it do anything to clean up the sound? Most of my albums are in pretty good condition but they still suffer from pops and crackles that I've been able to remove with various programs under linux.

Posted by: Thomas Pfau at 12:10 PM on 27 April 2005

If I remember correctly, there was a marked difference in approach between the two companies who developed the CD. Philips considered it a convenience format more than a high-fidelity medium; Sony thought the opposite. Labels using European-style numbering systems back then might have reflected the Philips belief: a recording issued on both LP and CD gave apparent primacy to the LP number, which might be something like 987 654-1, while the equivalent CD was 987 654-2. (Sony, after its acquisition of CBS Records, never did adopt such numbering.)

This box, so far as I can tell, does not address the question of cleaning up a noisy disc, although the actual physical cleaning of the disc surface (I still have my Discwasher) is something that should be undertaken regardless of the transfer mechanism.

The audio artifacts, I suspect, are due to distortion products that relate to the limited bandwidth (22 kHz) of CDs; a high-frequency overtone that is theoretically beyond your hearing might still have made it onto vinyl, and chopping it up into bits made hash of it.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:56 PM on 27 April 2005

My guess is that they avoid recording off the radio for copyright reasons.

Posted by: Ravenwood at 9:30 AM on 29 April 2005

Well, the box does include the doofusoid Serial Copy Management System, but radio being an analog medium in the first place, SCMS places no particular restrictions on it. Still, it's as good an explanation as any, since the cost of extending the recording function to the tuner is trivial.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:40 AM on 29 April 2005