ART USB Phono Plus
Easily transfer audio from your vinyl records to your computer
The ART USB Phono Plus ($79) lets you take the audio from a turntable and plug it into your laptop so you can rip your vinyl.
I was home for the summer visiting my mom and I have all my vinyl there with her because I live in Manhattan and my apartment is too small to have a few thousand records, mainly LPs and seven inches. When I went home for about a week I said, “Y’know what I’m going to do? I’m going to rip my vinyl.” Well, a little bit of it because you have to do it in real time. It’s not like a CD where you can crank through a stack of them really quickly. The first thing I did was I bought a USB turntable on Amazon and it was terrible. The gain was too high and everything sounded really awful and there was no way to adjust the gain.
I did some research and realized two things. One, I had a turntable at my mom’s house that I completely forgot about. So I said, “If I have a turntable already which is pretty good, I just need the pre-amp.” So I did some research and I found the ART and basically what it does is it lets you control the gain input at exactly the level that you want then you just use Audacity to do the recording, which is amazing software.
It takes a long time. You have to sit there and flip the record and then clean up the files to reduce some of the hissing or popping, but I was able to rip a bunch of record that are never going to be on Spotify or iTunes but meant a lot to me. I also had seven inches from my own bands from when I was younger that I had put out and I didn’t have any of those so I really wanted to make sure I had that for myself because you never know what happens.
Vinyl is pretty robust if you store it properly, but again, you never know so I wanted to make sure I had that stuff as well. It was a really fun experience for me and the only regret is that I wish I had more time to sit and rip the vinyl.10/9/18
(This review was excerpted and edited from our podcast interview with Peter Rojas in 2015. — editors)