Greg's Tech blog

Album ripping with Linux

Friday 28 of December, 2007
Album ripping with Linux

Getting started

I have a collection of several hundred vinyl albums from back in the day. I've made a couple attempts at recording them with limited success. I received an audio-technica at-PL50 turntable for Christmas and plan to get back on track.

The turntable is actually part of the AT-LP2Da package which is designed to assist the Windows user in recording their albums.

  • The turntable has a built-in preamp so there is no need for an amplifier (most amps provide a tape-out which is provides a 'hot' output usable for recording through your sound card.)
  • The package includes a copy of Cakewalk Pyro for recording under Windows XP
  • Lastly the package includes an RCA-female to mini-plug converter, and a mini-plug to RCA-male converter.


  • My recording PC

I run Slackware 12 on a Dell Optiplex GX620 that has 2GB RAM and a dual core Pentium M processor. Typically it has over 1GB free RAM and the CPU load is typically less than 1. All this says is there is a lot of performance capacity to handle the recording. Slackware 12 runs KDE 3.5.7 so most utilities will be KDE-based.

  • SoundCard

The Optiplex is a business class PC with a built-in soundcard based on the Intel 945 chipset. kMix reports it as Intel ICH7

  • Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-PL50 belt-drive, pre-amp output 200mV at 1KHz, 5 cm/sec

  • Software
    • Audacity 1.3.3

Audacity is a popular open-source audio recording and editing package for linux (and Windows). I figured I start with that. I'm running version 1.33. (Note: I had to compile this version for Slackware 12. I used the build script from SlackBuilds.org. I had a problem from wxGTK, so I needed to compile that first, then recompile Audacity against the latest library)

    • normalize 0.7.7

This tool gooses the volume of WAV files so the play well digitized. Its available from nongnu.org

    • lame 3.97

The quintessential mp3 encoder. I used this command-line to get great quality MP3s (at about 5Mb / 3 minute song):

lame --vbr-new -V2 -q0
To encode a directory of .wav files, try this:

for i in *.wav; do lame --vbr-new -V2 -q0 "$i" "${i%%.wav}.mp3";done

    • Easytag 2.1.4

A great tool for applying ID3 tags. Once the files were split and encoded as MP3, easytag was able to look up the album via keyword and apply the correct tags automagically. (Hint: sort the files alphabetically)

  • The Process

  1. Recording

There is a lot of information on recording with Audacity at the audacity wiki.


I've collected the following links on recording LPs
Another's thoughts on ripping (cache)