Download and install GoldWave. Connect an output on your stereo (such as Tape Out) to your sound card's
line input, using the RCA-to-miniheadphone cable. Do not bypass
your amplifier and connect your record player directly to your sound
card, because your amplifier needs to process the quiet, treble signal
produced by your record player before it gets to your computer.
In GoldWave, click the checked radio button, near the top-middle of the Device Controls window. Select the Volume tab and choose Line as the recording source. Then hit OK.
Click the New button at the top left of the main GoldWave window. Leave the Channels setting as stereo and the Sampling Rate at 44,100Hz. (You can also hit the CD button to reset the program to those values.) In the Length drop-down menu, select the playing time of that side of the record. If you don't know, enter 26:00.000 in the menu, since that's pretty much the maximum possible length for an LP.
After the Initializing New Sound bar makes it all the way across to the right, press Play on your phonograph, with the needle in the middle of a song that has reasonably loud volume. Hold down your keyboard's Ctrl button, then hit the Record button in GoldWave's Device Controls window. Watch the levels. If you see the meter jump into the red, turn down the volume on your stereo; if the meter's too low, turn up the volume. Basically, you want the loudest parts of the song to be almost to the red. If the meter goes too high, you'll end up with ugly digital distortion in your recording.
Now that you have the levels set, click Stop in GoldWave's Device
Controls window. Press Ctrl-A, then Delete on your keyboard in order to get
rid of the test audio. Click Rewind in GoldWave's Device Controls
window, then hit Record. Start playing the record from the beginning
again, while GoldWave is recording. After the record has played all the way through, press Stop in GoldWave's Device Controls window and on your record player. Save the file (File Save) as whatever you want (in this tutorial, we'll call the filename xx). Click anywhere in GoldWave's main window, then press Ctrl-A to select the entire WAV file. To normalize the audio, select Effects Volume Maximize. When GoldWave is finished scanning for the maximum volume, enter 0.99 in the New Maximum field and press OK.
Now it's time to remove any hiss, pops, and clicks that occurred on the vinyl version of the recording. (If you don't care about this, proceed to step eight.) With the entire waveform still highlighted (Ctrl-A), select Effects Filter Pop/Click. Leave the tolerance at 1000 percent and click OK. Save the resulting file as xx_normalized_pop.
To remove hiss, go to Effects Filters Noise Reduction. Select Hiss Removal from the drop-down menu and click OK. Save the resulting file as xx_normalized_pop_hiss. Listen to this file by pressing the spacebar. If it sounds fine, continue to step eight; if not, go to Edit Undo and try dragging the yellow line to different levels at different points in the song, repeating the process until you get something that you're happy with. Since different songs and hiss levels require different approaches, we can't specify one setting that will solve all problems--experimentation is the only way. Just keep in mind that the left side of the Noise Reduction graph represents very low frequencies, and the right represents very high frequencies. The height of the yellow line specifies how much volume will be removed at that frequency. For instance, if you have a very high-pitched hiss, you want the yellow line to be higher on the right side.
To chop the long piece of audio into tracks, listen to it by pressing the spacebar. When you find a spot where one song ends and another begins, right-click that point. This will select all of the audio up to that spot. (In GoldWave, right-clicking makes an end point and left-clicking makes a beginning point of a selection.) Select Edit Cut, then Edit Paste New. Save each file as its song title. When you're finished, close GoldWave, remembering which folder you saved the songs to.
Note: Repeat steps three to eight for the other side of the LP.
Run your CD burning software and select Audio CD. Find the folder that contains your recordings and drag and drop them into your burning software's file-listing pane in the correct order. Select Track-At-Once, Close CD, and 2X as your burning speed (unless you know that your stereo equipment can handle CDs burned at higher speeds). Click Write This CD and refrain from running programs that require massive amounts of computing resources, in order to avoid introducing skips into the CD. Voilà!--you now have a CD of that vinyl LP.