The process of producing an audio disc from an LP, audio cassette tape, or from any other source, is divided up into 3 stages. These are :
Audio capture or recording :- there are a large number of programs available that will carry out this operation successfully, and most are quite easy to use. The best CD burning program is Nero 6 which will do the job fine. A better option though is Musicmatch (free download), which offers much more control with greater choice of settings and is also easier and quicker in use. You can add artist and track details as you go, no switching from one program to another to add names to files.
Whichever recording software you choose, follow the 'connecting up', 'settings' and 'recording' help given on the page that applies to your originals format (tape or vinyl). There is nothing too complex involved in getting your tracks onto the computer.
Do however make sure that you record each track with the same level settings. You will not want the volume level to keep jumping on playback. Take your time and experiment with a couple of tracks taken from different LP's or tapes to give an acceptably constant volume level on playback. Once set don't change the input levels until the job is completed.
WARNING setting the volume level on you playback equipment too high WILL lead to distortion. Best to set it as low as possible here, and then use the volume control on the computer to raise it to the required level.
You can now proceed and fill your hard drive with all your LP's and/or tapes, remembering to create a 'raw audio' folder first. Tracks transferred on to your computer from CD's will probably not require any cleaning, and therefore can safely be placed directly into your 'clean audio' folder a whole disc at a time. Then rename each individual track.
Audio Track Cleaning :- this is the less than easy part of the operation. While there are dozens of programs about that claim to do this job 'at the click of a mouse', be wary of any that make such claims. It has proven less than easy to produce a program that can provide a completely satisfactory noise removal and clean-up solution in one operation. Don't get me wrong, some are quite good compared to others. Which is best? That's a matter of personal preferences. Better to seek the opinion of as many experienced users as possible before making a decision and parting with your cash. Ask in the DV Forum for the views of others on this subject, and for their recommendations.
That said, very reasonable track cleaning results may be obtained using Audacity (free download), which is also the preferred choice of many professional audio engineers and sound labs. It is fairly easy to use, but you are advised to be prepared and take some time out to become proficient with it and get to know it's capabilities. The time you spend on this will more than repay you however, many times over. Remember, audio track enhancement is a skill to be learnt by 'trial and error', do not think of it as an ability everyone has built in.
CD Production :- This is both the last and also the easiest stage. Open your disc burning program and choose either music or data CD to produce either a regular audio disc or an MP3 disc. Now simply drag each required track from your clean audio folder to create your desired playlist. Once assembled hit the go button after loading a blank into the CD writer drive. It's that easy !!