Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Digitizing LPs -- the hidden cost

RCA's answer to BS&T, ca. 1969. Do I really need to
have this on my iPod? (probably)
I own some LPs that are not likely to be available either on CD or (legal) digital downloads anytime soon -- if ever. That was OK - I figured I would eventually get a turntable with USB output and make the conversions myself.

I had an opportunity to do that recently, and on the whole the system worked fine. What I had forgotten about, though, was that the transfer process had to happen in real time. If the total playing time of the LP was 40 minutes, then the transfer time would be 40 minutes.

After doing two or three of the albums, I started to do some serious evaluation of my analog-to-digital project. I have about 100 albums that have no digital versions available (let me stress again, legally). So with an average playing time of about 35 minutes a platter, that's about 58 hours -- or almost two and half straight days -- of transfer time. And then I have to do some work on the tracks, which take about another 30-40 minutes per album, so make that about 116 hours. That's a little over two 40-hour work weeks.

Hmmm. This will have to be an extremely long-term project, and/or I'll need to seriously re-evaluate how many of these long-lost gems I really want to add to my digital library.

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