First we investigated charities that might accept these albums for donation. As it happens, the local Friends of the Public Library accept albums along with books for resale in their annual fundraiser. Next we sorted the albums into those that went straight to the donate pile, those that might be collectible to be offered on Ebay, and tagged all the albums my friend wanted to download onto her computer. That's when she busted out her latest "gadget"! The ION LP Conversion Turntable.
This cool turntable plugs via USB right into your computer and you can connect it to speakers or a boombox so you can listen to the record you are downloading. The turntable comes with software for downloading and it works really well. My friend purchased her turntable on Xtremegeek.com on clearance for $99. I believe they retail for around $150.00. ION has lots of products for converting vinyl and cassette tapes to your computer or Ipod. Check them out at http://www.ionaudio.com/.
As we discovered, it was important to carefully and thoroughly clean your vinyl records before putting them on the turntable for downloading. The best way to clean vinyl records is with a soft, clean cloth dipped in dishwashing soap and water, rinse and dry with another soft cloth, then wipe down with rubbing alcohol to make sure all the soap residue is removed. Scratches really can't be repaired on vinyl the way they can on CDs, but we found that most of the skipping on old records was caused by dirt and a good cleaning worked wonders.
Once your turntable is set up and the records cleaned, the fun really begins. We spent all afternoon spinning old records... Mama Cass, Marshall Tucker Band, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Striesand and more. I felt like a teenager again, hanging out in my bedroom with my friends, playing records, painting our toenails, and talking about boys.
Thanks to technology, precious memories in photos, letters, documents and, yes, even those dusty old LPs can be preserved for generations to come.