Southern Man has a fairly extensive collection of music; lots of classical, lots of classic rock and blues, a fair bit of gospel, plenty of post-hardcore (thanks to Southern Son) and modern pop (favored by both Southern Daughters), and a scattering of others. It is mostly inaccessible - LPs boxed up in the barn and CDs scattered everywhere. So in an effort to (a) gather his music into one accessible place and (b) free himself from the tyranny of 20th-century rotating storage media Southern Man is gathering his CDs and copying them to MP3s for easy playback.
Yes, these too will eventually become MP3s. At least the ones that aren't already duplicated on CD.
The tools that Southern Man is using to accomplish this task are:
These tools and services are all free and pretty much do all that their authors claim. The Amazon autorip service for purchased CDs is particularly nice. And so is Amazon Prime, which is the best $69 Southern Man spends every year.
- Exact Audio Copy - rips CDs to very accurate MP3s, has good error recovery, uses FreeDB for track listings and AccurateRip to verify quality.
- MP3Tag - to add or modify ID3 tag information.
- Mega MP3 Splitter - to break large MP3s into chunks; used primarily to strip movie dialog from the beginnings of songs on movie soundtrack disks.
- Merge MP3 - to combine two or more MP3 into single files if desired.
- Amazon Cloud Player, in which MP3s for pretty much every CD that Southern Man purchases on Amazon appears automagically after ordering.
- The Southern City Metropolitan Library System, which has pretty fair music holdings on CD.
- Pandora.com where Southern Man's carefully-tuned jazz and blues stations generate at least one new CD purchase per week.
Southern Man hisself is writing a "DJ" program (in Java) that will select songs based on a variety of criteria and playlists and move them to a USB stick for playback in the car. He wrote a "proof of concept" version to prove to himself that he could handle the hard parts; now he just has to finish it. And then he has to get his stereo set up again and digitize those LPs.
Southern Man does not have a "record player." He has a LAB-400 dual-motor direct-drive turntable, which was manufactured by CEC and rebranded by Marantz and Quadraflex as well as Radio Shack. This turntable does not have a "needle" but a hi-fi cartridge that costs as much as your record player. Yes, Southern Man is possibly oversensitive about records and their care and playback. This baby was acquired when he was in high school (indeed, one of his first major purchases with his own money), it's a good thirty-five years old and still plays like a charm; he's very pleased with it. Coupled some decent click-and-pop reduction hardware and/or software, it ought to make excellent copies.
And then he will be able to fully enjoy his music!