Tag Archives: early years

The Early Years Part 3

If you have fallen asleep we are now at the creation of MK vinyl 2 CD in 2003 and the digital age is moving on at a fast pace so I decided it was time to down size my music collection by unpacking some of the cardboard storage boxes we had in the loft, both me and my wife Julie had our own vinyl records and audio cassette tapes as well as I had still remaining a couple of old Reel to Reels (they keep cropping up don’t they).

I had a fairly good hi fi set up and read up on how I could link up the hi fi system to my computer to be able to record from the vinyl records and the audio cassettes and transfer them to the digital domain.

The same principles apply when connecting up audio leads know the inputs and outputs and remember the output of a given piece of equipment has to go into an input of the receiving machine and get the left and right channels correct too?

I was easily able to get the RCA phono output from my amplifier to the 3.5mm input jack on my sound card using a simple 2 x RCA Phono male to 1 X 3.5mm stereo male plug this lead was 2 metres long. The audio came through loud and clear and the recording was very good aside from pop and crackle from the playing surface of the vinyl record.

I did a few vinyl records as a test and then began to look at how to lessen the surface noise from the vinyl. There was a few audio editing software packages around at the time so I tried Goldwave it did take a bit of trial and error and the results were pretty good but there seemed to be a dullness to the audio as filtering out pops and clicks really did take the brightness out of the recording leaving a sometimes lifeless piece of music, I did ask a few people to have a listen and some were amazed at how good the audio sounded and others said it was acceptable but not as good as a CD.

Then followed a trial of different audio software packages some offering a bit more than others but like so many packages out there all had good points but the ideal would have been a bit of each so this I did for a while recording on one package, filtering on another and compiling on yet another, I must point out that for me being almost blind I was trying to find software packages that would be compatible with My JAWS speech screen reader from Freedom Scientific made in the USA.

Further searching on the internet I came across www.cedaraudio.co.uk who were based in Cambridge and clearly offered a hardware solution to the pop and click removal but at a price tag of £4,000 wow! That is serious money so I contacted them to get a demo and was amazed at the quality of the products so my plan was to set up my own small business in audio transfer to partly fund the equipment upgrade that was necessary to get professional results.
So I came up with the name of MK Vinyl 2 CD or www.mkvinyl2cd.co.uk the MK relating to my postal code area and the vinyl 2 cd encompassing what I aimed to do, the only reason I went for the number 2 in between the vinyl and CD was the word ‘to’ was already a domain name already in use in the USA.

My next purchase was a professional record cleaning machine and I went for the Moth Pro MK2 a very sturdy not too smart looking machine but would do the business so to speak. I also changed my PC and invested in a custom built beast with on board digital inputs and outputs as the analogue to digital conversion was done by the Cedar Audio hardware before the signal reached the computer.

I have written a short article on how I transfer Vinyl To Digital which gives a bit more in depth information but by no means full of technical jargon so feel free to have a read.

The Early Years Part 2

Leaving home for anyone is a huge step for me it was only a small one ‘Not like Neil armstrong on the Moon’ I was ready willing and able to leave home and get a Milton Keynes Development Corporation one bedroomed flat in Fenny Stratford, bletchley.

It was not that I was unhappy at home but sharing all of my life with either my elder or younger brother does take your tolerance to the limits at times, with an elder brother who had the number one rule of ‘What’s Mine is Mine and What’s yours is also Mine!’ Well clothes, aftershave, hi fi, cassettes vinyl records gadgets which I had saved fror and looked after were all fair game to an elder brother! and you know that instance when you go to use a cassette tape and it is broken and you did not do it but you know exactly who did you are powerless in proving it and despite arguements and using the arbitration services of Mum & Dad you get no where. Jackets that suddenly disappear from your wardrobe and appear in your brothers but with an added beer stain or grease mark and guess who has to pay the dry cleaning cost ? yep me.
So in 1981 I got my own flat, so much space, my own kingdom, my own domain, decorated to my own tastes well need I say more? I worked hard and loved it if it meant working 7 days a week I did it to pay my rent and gradually furnish my flat, starting with second hand furniture, cooker, chairs, table, washing machine it did not matter as I replaced those things bit by bit.

I must admit I did not have too much of a social life as I worked many hours at that time working for a large carpet retail / warehouse company called Eastern Carpets they were based in tolpits Lane, Watford I worked at one of the large warehouse stores Millers Carpets in Dukes Drive bletchley, I was an assistant manager so trading over six days with late night Fridays I only had Sunday as a permanent day off but often chose to work with one of our carpet fitters in my spare time to earn some extra cash as when I first left school I was ann apprentice carpet fitter so knew the trade from floor level so to speak!

This also did mean I could afford to buy some speakers a pair of Wharfdale XP2 Lentons, big and heavy costing £95.00, I well remember going on the train to Comets in Bedford and bringing the brutes home on the train, along with a TRIO FM radio tuner and a TRIO Graphic Equaliser this all purchased as hi fi seperates in a stack cabinet this all stood pride of place in my lounge.

I made the next purchase in my hi fi collection a TRIO Cassette Deck so then I had the means of playing all the media I owned and was then able to make cassettes for family and friends for the booming market of in-car cassette players plus now being able to copy some of my Reel to Reel Tapes to cassette.

It was amazing how popular you soon become when you are able to do all this home recording, vinyl records, Reel to Reel Tapes to audio Cassettes.
You did of course get the pop and click of the vinyl record but no one knew any different in those days.

Without boring you all of the in between changes in life moving from my flat to buy my first house and later selling and moving on again, getting married having a lovely daughter losing my eyesight (thought I would slip that one in) quite significant really but will save that story for another day.

We can now get to the birth of MK Vinyl 2 CD, in 2003 living in Milton Keynes in the town of Bletchley.

Part 3 to follow

The Early Years Part 1

Since a young lad I have had a keen interest in hi fi equipment and like many youngsters of the 60s Dad had a Reel to Reel Tape recorder which we did get to use and the most usage that tape Recorder had was in recording the Top 40 on a Sunday eveninghosted by a variety of TV Top Of The Pops DJs alan Freeman, Ed Stewart, David hamilton, tony blackburn and Pete Murray to name but a few. The tape deck was a Fidelity 2 Track with just two speeds 3.75 & 7.5 inches per second.

The recording method was crude by todays standard we had the tape Recorder stood on the table with the microphone plugged in we stood the radio nearby with the microphone near to the radio speaker and that was as simple as it got, daring not to make any noise in the room whilst you recorded the music, and I do remember doing likewise to get songs from top Of The pops from the black and white TV usually with the microphone stood on top of the TV, but you know it was okay, not quality but just okay.

I did progress in 1975 to getting my very own cassette tape recorder a small mains and battery unit with piano type keyss with a microphone built in and also an external microphone, oh and an earplug! not headphones just a single earpiece.

In my early teens I did then realise you could actually record music from the radio or vinyl records via a plug in lead which was fantastic you did not hear any noise in the background from things like Mum hoovering or my brother slamming the door saying oops! forgot you were recording, really.

I much later purchased an Akai 4000 Reel to Reel which would do 2 and 4 track recording in mono format or stereo, I did have a set of stereo huge over the ear type headphones which made me feel like an engineer monitoring my sound levels and playback. I could only record from my radio cassette player and listen via my headphones no speakers!

That is where I think I was getting more serious about hi fi and once I had left school and got my first job and a means of my own money source I could do some saving and buy my beloved hi fi equipment my very first turntable being a JVC LA-11 which cost me £69.99 at Comet’s in Bedford and aside from Mum and Dad telling me I had more money than sense as it represented about 3 weeks wages!

As you can probably appreciate the turntable was only the start as to even be able to hear the records you have to have an amplifier so that was my next purchase a TRIO KA 110 to the cost of £112.00, which then allowed me to plug my headphones in and listen to my vinyl, still no speakers as I shared a bedroom and we had no space but I had fantastic stereo quality sound and could also connect my Reel to Reel up as well.

This was a basic set up I had for a while before the next big event in my life, I left home!

Part 2 to follow