Article, March 2007
Review of Spin It Again
Written by Rod Rakes, APCUG Advisor;
President & Editor, Gwinnett SeniorNet PC Users Group, Georgia;
Editor & Webmaster, Huntsville PC User Group, Alabama
Convert vinyl records and cassette tapes to MP3’s and CD’s
What is it? Spin It Again by Acoustica is a software program that will make it easy to convert your collection of cassettes, 33’s ,45’s and even 78’s to MP3/WMA/WAV files or directly to CDs. Some folks have even used the program to rip 8-Tracks. Remember those?
Cost? $34.95 retail, but $27.96 for User Group members. This 20% discount is available online from the link above. You must use the code “CLUB2007.” You will receive a registration code via email. But, you can try it free for three times. (3 albums).
Where do I get it and/or read more? http://www.Acoustica.com The program is an 8+ MB download.
System Requirements: If you have a Windows computer with a soundcard you're ready to use the software!
How good is it? REALLY GOOD! First off, I was impressed by the voice instructions when the program starts. There is a Hookup Wizard with photos of how to connect to your amplifier, cassette player or turntable. Songs are automatically divided into files based on the lull between songs. A Level Wizard sets the volume level automatically based on playing a portion of your loudest song in an album.
You can save the files as MP3, OGG, WMA or WAV files. A variety of choices are available to clean up the recordings, e.g., Damaged Record, Damaged Tape, Tape clean with Equalizer, Tape Noise Begone, Warped record, even a No-preamp blues setting, etc. Someone referred to this as a Mikey cereal eater that eats Snap, Crackle and Pop. Accept the defaults and it’s very easy work.
I recorded three record albums and two cassette tapes of music using a stereo amplifier, cassette player and turntable. The result was free of any clicks, pops and hiss of the original recordings, at least to my ears. The only “problem” I had was a song by Judy Collins that had long silent passages which fooled the software into thinking there were several songs. But, it was easily fixed with the Merge options. (Be sure to read the tutorial.) I chose to save the songs in MP3 format and gave each a name in the chart before actually hitting the Save/Convert button. You can embed in the files the Artist, Title, Genre, Year and add comments. On the last test I chose to record an album directly to CD using the Spin It Again software. It worked like a charm with no need to make a later recording from the MP3's using Nero, Roxio, etc.
I had a priceless cassette tape of family nonsense that had been re-recorded from reel to reel tapes from long ago when my children were small. The volume varied greatly. I placed the cassette tape in a small inexpensive hand held player (Walkman type) and connected a cable between the speaker jack and the Line In jack in the back of my computer. This meant I could adjust the sound during the low and high volume sections of the tape by using the player’s volume control. That worked satisfactorily since the tape was not perfection in the first place. The recording was even better than the original with little or no hiss and a more consistent volume level! There is an option for auto-leveling the volume for a given song to eliminate distortion on high peaks.
An MP3 file of LaPaloma had a loud click at the 51-second mark that could not be cleaned properly even with the special peak click filtering after manually isolating the click. I was finally able to eliminate the click but each side of the original click had a warble that was worse than the click. The Help file said if this happens, try to make a better recording somehow. Since it was only one click, I would guess there was a spot of something on the vinyl surface or a pin point gouge. You can’t make a purse out of a sow’s ear, huh?
One of the fun and useful features is the ability to adjust the speed of a recording. I recorded several old 78 RPM records using the 45 RPM speed of my turntable and increased the speed accordingly using the drop-down menu until it sounded normal. I’m trying to find my 78 RPM copy of Roy Acuff’s “Sixteen Chickens in a Frying Pan.” Everybody needs to hear that.
For the tinkering types out there, many tweaks are available including a change in sampling rates, sensitivity of track detection, recording levels, etc.
Highly recommended. Rod Rakes
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