How to Convert 78 Rpm Records

Written by james clark
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How to Convert 78 Rpm Records
Convert the grooves on an old 78 record into digital audio on a computer. (record image by Pefkos from

Old 78rpm (revolutions per minute) records are one of the earliest forms of recorded media. These thick records were often made from shellac rather than the more familiar vinyl of LP records. Some 78s stored in Grandma's attic may even predate electric turntables, as the early 78 phonographs were hand-crank appliances that ran on a spring-driven motor. Today, the challenge of a 78 record is being able to play the tracks without potentially wearing out an antique phonograph. One solution is to convert the recording to a digital format with a computer. Special turntables are available for this project.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • USB turntable with 78rpm speed setting
  • Computer with USB port

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  1. 1

    Set up a USB turntable on a level surface next to the computer or laptop. Adjust the slide switch on the turntable to the 78rpm speed setting (the other two settings should be 45rpm and 33 1/3 rpm).

  2. 2

    Connect the USB plug on the end of the turntable cable to a USB port on the computer.

  3. 3

    Open the computer's CD-ROM tray and insert the software disc that comes with the turntable. Close the tray to launch the CD software automatically, then click each prompt button on the screen to move through the installation. Restart the computer when the installation is complete.

  4. 4

    Double-click the icon on the computer desktop for the turntable software. Locate the "Record" button along the top edge of the screen.

  5. 5

    Place a 78rpm record on the turntable platter and start playback of the record by lowering the turntable to the outer groove.

  6. 6

    Click the "Record" button on the software to create a digital copy of the audio playing on the 78. Click the software "Stop" button when the 78 record ends.

  7. 7

    Click the "File" folder on the software to highlight and click "Save As," then type the name for the recording in the box on the software screen. Click the "Save" button below the recording name to store the digital file on the hard drive. Alternatively, click the "Save As" button and select "Save as Wav" to store the file in a format that can be burnt to CD at a later time.

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