Do you have lots and lots of vinyl you need to rip to digital files? Then you need to read this.

I once had this fantasy that I was going to covert my entire vinyl library to digital. But then I realized that such a project would take years working 24/7. I’ve since scaled things back to digitizing just the rarest records and the ones I’d like to listen to away from my turntable.

DJ Kippax, a turntablist and blogger out of the UK had similar notions. He, though, wrote down what he was doing with his vinyl. The result is a how-to guide on how to bulk-rip loads of vinyl. Here’s a sample.

I started DJ’ing in the 90’s. And I learned the craft using vinyl. Like many DJ’s who started back then I amassed a large vinyl collection by the mid-noughties.

Around 2008 I decided to make the switch to digital DJ’ing. I wanted to get all my oldskool dance tunes and hip hop onto my hard drive.

This presented me with a few problems which was:

  1. What is the quickest way rip these records to my hard drive?
  2. How do I maintain the sound quality of my vinyl rips?
  3. And how the hell do I complete all this work without going crazy?

I love sound quality. This was one of the reasons why I decided to rip all my own vinyl rather than relying on rips you can download from the file-sharing services.

I’d tried to using the vinyl rips I’d found on BitTorrent, but I was never too impressed with the quality. They sounded dull and lifeless. Especially when compared to the original vinyl’s which I owned.

So, I started the laborious process of recording my own records. After all, I knew I could do a far better job than the vinyl rips which were freely available online – or so I thought.

But, when I started to rip my vinyl collection, I became aware of how poor my recordings were. My vinyl’s transfers were suffering the same fate as the rips I found on BitTorrent.

I kept asking myself: Why do my vinyl rips sound bad?

Anyway, around the mid 2000’s, I became aware that some of the records I owned were being re-released as digital downloads. Surely, these would sound better – I thought. After all, these new digital downloads would probably be mastered from the original tapes.

The sound quality of the re-release was good, but they were over compressed. They’d been a victim of the loudness war. All the dynamics and life had been squeezed out of the tracks. And it pissed me right off.

Besides, I could only buy a fraction of the records I owned as legally downloadable files. I own many rare and deleted tracks, and I was aware that these records would probably never be released again. So, it was back to the vinyl ripping.

And it was back to trying to figure out how to improve my bulk vinyl ripping process.

After 10 years of trial and error, here’s what I learned.

You must keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Do you have lots and lots of vinyl you need to rip to digital files? Then you need to read this.

  • October 17, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Vinyls and leaver? I don’t think so!


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