From Vinyl to Digital
When, many years ago, we purchased our favourite music on vinyl and magnetic tape, little did we think that this type of media would not last for ever? How wrong we were. As new technology introduced new methods of storing and distributing the music that we love, so more traditional methods were consigned to the scrap heap with the result that devices required to play vinyl and tapes went the way of the dinosaur and were not longer produced. Those of us with collections of vinyl and tapes, that we were loathed to lose, are left with the problem of transferring the content to another media if we hoped to continue enjoying the music that brings back fond memories of our past. Fortunately MAGIX, a company well versed in the audio field, has a possible solution for this type of situation.
This solution is entitled “Rescue Your Vinyl and Tapes” and consists of hardware and software elements. Now up to version 3, the hardware element of this product has remained the same as that found in the previous editions. Central to the hardware set-up is a line pre-amplifier.
With dimensions of 85 x 60 x 28mm (D x W x H), this small black and silver device has two input RCA sockets on one side and two output RCA sockets on the other. An on/off power switch and a power socket are located at one end. However no mains power lead is provided. Instead you can use the supplied 9v battery which requires you to remove two screws from the pre-amp to reveal the compartment into which you can slot the battery. Leads are provided for linking the pre-amp to the music source (record player or cassette tape player) and a computer. You also get an adapter to turn two RCA plugs, featured on both leads, into a single, standard 3cm jack plug if the need arises.
Some changes have been made to the supplied software. For a start, MAGIX no longer includes the bonus PC Check & Turning 2010 software. This item was included with the previous version of this package as part of the company’s 15th birthday celebration. Quite frankly you are not missing too much by its omission. You do get the latest version of MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 17 and Mufin Player 1.5.
The Audio Cleaning Lab 17 provides Record, Edit, Restore and Burn features when transferring content from vinyl, tapes and MP3 devices. After installing the product, and deciding whether to accept the offer of an Ask toolbar or not, you will need to enter a 30-character serial number when you first run the software. The program’s opening screen gives you the choice of restoring vinyl sound, cleaning tape sound, optimising voice and audio book recordings or editing digital files from disc, MP3 devices and web radio. Whatever your chosen option, there will be a four stage operation to work through as you import, clean, master and export content.
Brief instructions on how to set up the hardware is supplied in a small Getting Started booklet. More detailed instructions are available in a PDF file plus the program’s Help feature.
When importing content you may need to make adjustments to the volume level using a displayed dialogue box. Prior to recording from vinyl, I would recommend using a micro-fibre, anti static cloths to remove any surface dust. Once you have imported data, it will be shown in a waveform display ready for you to carry out any further work.
Six effects are available with the clean section of the program. In most cases it is fairly obvious as to the purpose of effects named DeClicker, DeCrackler, DeClipper, DeNoiser, DeHisser and Spectral Cleaning. A slider bar can be just to make adjustments to all these effects apart from Spectral Cleaning. If you are unsure as to the facilities offered by each effect then by clicking in its box you will be provided with relevant information.
A similar approach is used with the Monitoring section. Slider bars let you make adjustments to StereoFX, Equalizer, Brilliance, Sound Cloner, Dynamics and Multimax effects plus select Energizer and Chroma effects using drop down menu options. You can also remove any sections of the audio that you do not want.
When satisfied with the audio quality of your project, you then need to decide what to do with the content. There is support for burning content to audio CD, audio DVD and data discs. The program can handle MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC3 and OGG formats amongst others.
Rescue Your Vinyl and Tapes 3 is more than capable of producing the means to safeguard your vinyl and audio based music. The product takes over the hard work, leaving the user to make minor adjustments. Available from Amazon, PC World and Currys, Rescue Your Vinyl & Tapes 3 is priced at £39.99 which is a £10 less than the previous version. System requirements call for a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 500MB hard disk running Windows XP and later.
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