Q: I have about 50 LP bluegrass albums that are not available in any other format. I would like to download them onto my iMac or an external hard drive or CD-R. Is this possible?
A: There are a couple of ways that you can approach this problem, with the most basic method being to attach an existing turntable that you already own into the audio inputs of your Mac and simply record the audio stream. Due to the nature of turntable output, you’re probably best advised to connect through a stereo receiver/mixer of some kind that has proper “Phono” inputs on it, but otherwise you’re simply connecting the output from the turntable into your Mac and recording it manually.
There are a number of software packages available that can be used to record an audio stream into your Mac. If you already own a version of the iLife suite, the included GarageBand tool is probably the obvious choice since you would already have it installed on your iMac. Other suggested options include Sound Recorder (http://www.monkeybreadsoftware.de/Freeware/SoundRecorder.shtml, donationware) and Audio Hijack Pro (http://rogueamoeba.com, $32, trial available).
A more elegant approach can be found in the Numark TTi turntable (http://www.numark.com/tti), which includes an iPod dock and USB connection for recording your LPs directly to either your iPod or iTunes itself. At a suggested retail price of $450, however, it’s not necessarily the most inexpensive solution, particularly if you already own a turntable of your own.