Digitizing those old vinyl LPs with a SONY PS-LX300USB turntable and Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0

Following is a description of how I’ve transferred LPs to MP3 using the SONY PS-LX300USB turntable (purchased off-the-shelf at the local Best Buy) and Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0 software (included with the turntable).

I purchased the turntable specifically because it has a USB output in addition to the usual audio output cable. Like many people, I rarely listen to CDs, records, or (shudder) tapes any longer, so I was looking for a turntable that would allow me to convert my old vinyl albums into a digital format. As it turns out, the out-of-the-box information for using the turntable is limited at best; perusing message boards for information about the turntable and (especially) the software shows that I’m not the only one who initially struggled to produce quality recordings.

I hope that this tutorial will be helpful

The operating system that I used to prepare this tutorial is Windows Vista. The following procedure should be almost, if not exactly, the same for Windows 7. The Windows XP experience may be slightly different due to differences in the Sound and Device Properties dialogs.

1) Start by plugging the turntable into an open USB port on the computer. You must do this first! When you run the software (step 2), it expects to find the turntable attached to the computer.

2) Start the Sound Forge Audio Studio application.

3) Choose Options/Preferences from the menu.

4) Select the Audio tab of the Preferences dialog.

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5) On the Preferences dialog, choose Windows Classic Wave Driver as the Audio device type.

6) On the Preferences dialog, make sure the USB Microphone is chosen as the Default recording device. Depending on the other peripherals attached to your computer, this choice may be different for you. You may have to identify which is the appropriate microphone device for the turntable.

7) The settings you have just changed should ensure that you will be able to hear the audio through the speakers attached to your PC. Click OK to close the dialog.

8 ) Choose Tools/Vinyl Recording and Restoration from the Sound Forge Audio Studio menus to open the Vinyl Recording and Restoration Tool dialog.

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9) Click the Device Properties… button to open the Sound dialog to the Recording tab.

10) Select the appropriate USB microphone device on the Sound dialog.

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11) Click the Properties button on the Sound dialog to open the Microphone Properties dialog, and then select the Levels tab on the dialog.

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12) Reduce the microphone level to 1 or 2. This will make the sound output from your computer speakers very low, but will greatly reduce distortion in the recording.

13) Click OK to close the Microphone Properties dialog.

14) Click OK to close the Sound dialog.

15) Click Next in the Vinyl Recording and Restoration Tool dialog.

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16) Start the turntable and click the round Record button on the Vinyl Recording and Restoration Tool dialog to begin the recording. The record button will become a Pause button.

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17) When finished recording, click the Pause button.

18) Click Next. The application will attempt to detect the tracks in the audio you’ve just recorded.

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19) The next page of the Vinyl Recording and Restoration Tool dialog will allow you to specify the name of the album and artist, as well as the names of each track that was identified. However, with the recording level set so low (1 or 2), it is unlikely that any tracks will be discovered, so simply leave everything blank and click Next.

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20) Check the Audio Restoration and Peak Normalization boxes and click Next.

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21) The application will work for a minute or two, removing hiss and pops, and increasing the sound level of the recording.

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22) When the processing is complete, click Next. Don’t worry about the options for burning a CD or saving tracks to your computer.

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23) Check the “Leave underlying data window open” box and click the Finish button.

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24) The Sound Forge Audio Studio window should now look something like this.

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25) Choose File/Save As from the Sound Forge Audio Studio menu.

26) Pick a folder into which to save the audio file, give the file a name, choose a file type (i.e. MP3), and template (i.e. 192Kbps, CD Transparent Audio), and click Save.

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27) Once the save is complete, you can use the audio editor of your choice to break the saved file into individual tracks. Audacity is a great free utility for editing audio which I recommend. You can also use the Sound Forge Audio Studio application itself to do the editing, though I found its interface to be anything but intuitive.

Using this process I have been able to produce nice digital copies of my old vinyl records. I’m not an audiophile by any means, so I can’t give precise metrics on the quality of the transfers. I’m satisfied with the results, and I’m thrilled to be able to conveniently access music in my collection that had been relatively unavailable.

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18 Responses to Digitizing those old vinyl LPs with a SONY PS-LX300USB turntable and Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0

  1. Tom says:

    My kids bought me the LX300 just before my computer died last year. I just bought a new laptop, but it came with Windows 8. I can’t seem to find a USB codec for it on the Audio Preferences tabs. While the software does not appear to be supported by Windows 8, can I still use the turntable on the new laptop? If so, any idea where I can download the correct codec?

    • mlichtenberg says:

      I am sure you can use the turntable itself with the laptop, but the Sound Forge Studio software might need to be upgraded. I assume the turntable shipped with version 9.0 of Sound Forge Studio? The current version is 10.0 and http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/audiostudio indicates that it is compatible with Windows 8. Furthermore, http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/buy/upgrades shows that an upgrade from 9.0 to 10.0 is available for as little as $26.21.

      If you would rather try to get the software you have to work (rather than spend the money to upgrade), I suggest directing your questions to http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/support/. Let me know what you find out! I haven’t made the jump to Windows 8, but I will at some point.

    • Tim says:

      Will not work with Windows 8 at all!

      • mlichtenberg says:

        Interesting that it is not working for you. I have Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0 installed and working with Window 8 on my laptop. I had worried that the software (and possibly the turntable) might not be compatible with Windows 8 when my old laptop died and I was forced to upgrade, but everything works fine for me.

  2. fred says:

    In my system Win XP The USB codec doesn`t show up as a choice until the turntable USB cable is plugged into the computer

    • Tom says:

      Thanks. It turned out that the turntable was faulty. I needed to send it in to Sony to be repaired. Since it was under warranty and I do save my receipts, they fixed it at no cost. Although, I had to pay for shipment to their facility,but they paid the rest. Thanks for the comments. I actually have recorded four albums already. Pretty easy once the turntable was fixed. Thanks again, though, for commenting. I was at wits end. I didn’t need any additional files or upgrades for Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9. It works just fine on Windows 8.

  3. DENNIS DAVENPORT says:

    FOLLOWED YOUR INSTRUCTIONS. ITEM 24 NEVER SHOWED. BURNED A CD, BUT HAVE NO SOUND.

    • mlichtenberg says:

      Hmm, regarding Step 24, did you choose exactly the options shown in Steps 22 and 23? If you chose one of the checkboxes in Step 22 or did NOT choose the checkbox in Step 23, I imagine that the window shown in Step 24 may not show up. This may be ok. You do not need to follow the steps exactly as shown, but I prefer to do it that way because it allows me to preview the results of the recording before saving anything to a file (or burning to a CD).

      As far as getting no sound from your CD, were you able to hear the LP playing through your PCs speakers during recording? If not, you may have gotten the selection in Step 6 wrong. What you are doing in that step is selecting the output from the turntable (which the computer generally seems to identify as a USB microphone) as the input for the recording software. You may have selected the wrong device. The capabilities of your PC and the devices attached to it may affect the selections that are available to you, so the trick is finding the listed recording device that corresponds to the turntable.

  4. Peter says:

    Hey, so I read that you got the turntable to work on Windows 8, did you mean that you can play the records through the computer? And also could you list out the steps on how you got it to work on your computer? Thank you

    • mlichtenberg says:

      Unfortunately, it has been more than nine months since I installed the software on Windows 8.1, and I did not record the specific steps that I took. I do not recall that there was anything unusual about the install. And after examining my current configuration, everything looks like a standard installation.

      This is complete speculation, but I wonder if there is a difference between Sound Forge versions and Windows 8 compatibility. I have Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0. That is an old version which is officially unsupported on Windows 8.1 Despite that, it works perfectly. (Yes, I can play and record LPs via the computer.) A comment from a visitor to this blog also reports no problems with version 9.0. Likewise, this thread on the Sony customer forums reports success with version 9.0. On the other hand, another thread on the Sony forums suggests that there are problems with newer versions of the software.

      In any case, it seems that some people have success and others do not on Windows 8.1. While I speculate that it might be related to Sound Forge version, it really is not very clear why it works in some cases but not others. I guess in the end all I can say is follow the steps that I originally described, but that your results may vary. Good luck!

  5. Chris says:

    My SONY PS-LX300USB turntable came with Sound Forge Audio LE and i have lost the disk. Need the software for my new computer. Any idea where I can get the free version that came with the turntable?

  6. Jeff says:

    I got A LOT of background noise. What do I do to get rid of that? I’ve followed all your instructions.

  7. Jeff says:

    I’ve followed all your instructions, but there’s a lot of background noise when I played the mp3 track. What can I do?

  8. Michael says:

    My problem with recording my old records is that individual songs get broken into 4 or more separate files rather than 1 file per song. Can anyone tell me what the problem is and how I should fix it?

    • mlichtenberg says:

      I have found that the Sound Forge Audio Studio software does not do a great job of detecting individual songs. That is why in the post I recommend saving the audio as one large file and then using a tool like Audacity to edit it into the individual tracks (see steps 22-27 in the post). That is more work, I know, but it has produced the best results for me. Maybe someone else reading this can recommend a different approach.

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