I've had several of you request information on how to record vinyl onto your computer. This column will tell you how I do it, and you can take it from there. The great thing about recording your records is that you can turn them into CDs that will work in (most) any CD player for less than you might think.
First thing you want to do is get some equipment together. You're going to need a computer with a sound card, speakers, and plenty of hard drive space -- to fill up a CD you'll need at least 650 megabytes, maybe more. You'll want a CD-burner on the computer if you're going to make a CD. You'll need a decent turntable, and a stereo amplifier or a phono pre-amp. The pre-amp is the better way to go, and you can get one from radio shack for 50 or 60 bucks. You'll also need a stereo patch cord to go from the RCA jacks on the pre-amp to the 1/4" phono plug on your soundcard.
After you have everything together, hook up the turntable to the pre-amp, and use the patchcords to hook the pre-amp to the line-in (not microphone) jack on the soundcard. You should now be able to put a record on the turntable and listen to it over your computer speakers. (If it doesn't work at this point, try messing with the settings on the volume control panel in your computer). This sound will probably be lousy, but that's because it's punk rock, baby (or because you are listening through shitty computer speakers. If you're serious about this, you'll go out and drop some cash on serious speakers like the Monsoon 700 flat panels).
Okay, so you're good to go. Time to fire up your recording software and try recording a song. Some people find that the software that came with their computer/soundcard works great, while I prefer to use Syntrillium's Cool Edit 2000 (http://www.syntrillium.com/). You'll want your record settings to be set up for 16-bit, stereo, 44,100 samples per second recording. Press record on the software and drop the arm on the turntable. You should be recording!
After you are done recording you can use a sound editor to get rid of the gaps at the beginning and end of the recording, and, with some programs, get rid of any clicks and pops that were on the record. If you are saving the files for making your own CDs, you'll save them as .wav files, if you're planning on putting them online, you'll want to save them as .mp3 or .wma files, if you have that option. (If you don't, you can save them as .wav files and convert them to .mp3 later). Easy CD Creator (http://www.adaptec.com), which comes with most CD-burners, will help you with this.
Finally, burn your stuff onto CDs, or upload them online, or stick them on a hard drive, zip disk, or whatever, and enjoy.
I found more information on this topic online at a web site on "Preserving the Music" at http://www.banjo.com/Articles/CD-Vinyl.html and in an article at e-how.com on transferring LPs to CDs (go to http://www.ehow.com/ and type "Transfer LP to CD" in the search box). Have fun and let me know when you have your stuff online!
To finish up this month, I have a handful of web sites for your enjoyment. I should have mentioned it for Halloween, but I didn't find out about it until now. Yep, I'm talking about deathrock.com, "the complete horror goth punk site" at http://www.deathrock.com/. Lots of reviews here, as well as news, live videos, and more. The kicker is the reviews rating system, where they give a number of skulls based on music, lyrics, and death. Good-time graveyard fun!
Next up is the website for Verbal Assault, the early-80's Rhode Island hardcore band. A bit of history, some old flyers, and some live MP3 files make this worth a visit. I love it when defunct bands stick up old and hard-to-find shit online. It makes for enjoyable web surfing. Visit Verbal Assault at http://www.verbalassault.com/.
Speaking of old shit, I don't think I've ever mentioned the official website of the Damned before at http://www.officialdamned.com/. They have show dates, news, message boards, and are planning a history section, a discography section, and a bunch of other stuff. Looks pretty good, if somewhat incomplete.
While perusing the message boards at The Damned site, I ran across the link to Groupie Central (http://www.groupiecentral.com), the "first web site for groupies". This thing is a riot, but only because it is so serious. It's the new millenium, and groupies are as ridiculous now about their rock stars as they were in the 70's. Visit the site, check out the message boards, and feel superior.
Well, as long as I'm stuck in the past, I might as well mention the Punk77 (http://www.punk77.co.uk/) , which focuses on British punk rock of the 70's. This is an excellent source of information on all of those well-known 70's punk bands, as well as a handful of bands you've never heard of. You'll also find a few audio clips, and a shop where you can buy some stuff.
Finally, I've mentioned it before, but it's worth talking about again. The Punk77 mailing list is for folks who are into 70s punk, or, in some cases, are punks from the 70s. You'd be surprised who you might find lurking on this list. In any case, the content is pretty much straight punk rock, unlike the punk-list, where the content is rarely about punk rock. You can get info about subscribing to Punk77 at http://www.geocities.com/punklist/ .
That's all the time I have this month. Remember to e-mail me your websites at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit http://www.diehippiedie.com/netpunk/ for all my past, present, and future columns. Oh, and someone record the first Neos 7" and let me know where I can download a copy, would ya? Thanks.