Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How to Make Your Own Backing Tracks and Transfer LPs to mp3 Format

I tend to fixate on using readily available technology to drive maximum results in minimum time for my guitar playing. This post is to close some of the gaps I’ve left in previous posts along with a new approach to vinyl archiving I recently stumbled on.

I have included a simple (not to scale) diagram of the gear and signal path. As in my previous post on creating a simple home studio I’m showing the HP Laptop I use (dv6000 Pavilion) along with Ableton Live version 6 for recording and mixing. The important piece of this diagram that I glossed over previously is the M-Audio Transit USB audio interface.

I use this unit in the mix because it supports 24-bit/96kHz audio. That combined with using the ASIO protocol (Audio Stream Input/Output) I get a high quality low latency interface between Live and the Transit USB.

The TASCAM Guitar Trainer as discussed in previous posts is connected to the external soundcard (Transit USB) so the backing tracks I create sound as good as possible. I glossed over the importance of this in the previous post. The new entrant to my setup is the ION USB Turntable.

If you are anywhere near my age (baby boomer), you have a stack of LPs and 45s in your closet, garage, and or storage facility; or ideally, properly stored and displayed. Transferring LP to mp3 was so laborious that I would just download the ones I wanted to hear again from iTunes or go out and buy the CD version. The ION turntable made it easier because it offers a line level output as well.

My replacement laptop (previous PC crashed) uses Vista and I had just finished getting the drivers working for my home studio setup as well as recovering from self inflicted problems getting the beta Vista drivers for the Transit USB working (the rollback feature in Vista is wonderful!). I was dreading working through yet another set of potentially conflicting audio interface drivers that came with the turntable.

Then, I discovered that the ION turntable features a line level output in addition to the phono and USB outputs. I already had a connector for RCA jacks to mini jack. Voila!, I just plugged the turntable into the external sound card and off to the races with high quality transfer of LPs to mp3 using Ableton Live.

I will go through the steps I use with this setup for vinyl archiving in a future post; they sound great!

>>Related Articles:
Backing Tracks: How to Make Your Own
How to Measure Your Progress
Touch and Go Practice Rig
Guitar Training Shortcuts for Baby Boomers


Gary said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! (I began guitar at age 9, but now I'm 48...). So, in a sense, we both are rather "vintage".
The Vinyl to Mp3 labor (in my case vinyl to Compact Disc) was already accomplished two years ago, so now I'm free to do other things, such as recording my own music...
It's simply great that you succeeded in making the guitar such an important issue in your life!
Concerning the Jaguar, look at the video "Dig" by Incubus (it's a Jazzmaster, though, but it looks and sounds just the same)!
I also published a post "Vinyl" some months ago...
See you!

VintageP said...

Thanks for the tip, gave the video a look and these are great looking guitars. The Stratocaster's appeal seems to overwhelm everything else so the Jaguar and Jazzmaster do not get much attention.

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