View Full Version : Audio cassettes to digital format

01-11-2007, 06:29 PM
Is it possible to convert audio cassettes to a digital format using just a laptop, tape deck, and connecting cable?
My sister has discovered a tape recording Dad made (now long since gone) recorded back in the 80's. I would like to digatilise it and keep it on a less corruptable medium (I know tapes can screw up any time)
I am also considering transferring all my music tapes to cd or digital format.
What software can I use, does the end result still have tape hiss/noise, or is it almost CD quality?
Any help/suggestions wanted (within reason of course)

Speedy Gonzales
01-11-2007, 06:35 PM
Should work, if its got line out and u plug it into line in on the soundcard.

Audacity might record it.

If its got an option.

Depends on how it plays back now. If its got hisses etc now, the recorded sound will have it.

01-11-2007, 06:37 PM
It's easy enough to do. Just plug tape deck into microphone/line in jack (use dedicated line in jack if you have it). Software wise, Audacity works very well, and is free.

In audacity, select line in/mic as your input, start the tape playing, and hit record in Audacity...

01-11-2007, 06:37 PM
Don't know if these will help,

But Found This (http://labnol.blogspot.com/2006/06/convert-audio-cassette-tapes-to-mp3.html) and This (http://www.andybrain.com/archive/convert-cassette-to-cd-digital.htm) and This (http://www.smartcomputing.com/editorial/article.asp?article=articles/archive/l0608/27l08/27l08.asp)

01-11-2007, 07:46 PM
There's a utility on the Octber disc that comes with PCUser mag called " Audiograbber". seems easy enough to get analogue onto the PC

02-11-2007, 04:00 AM
Audiograbber is OK..but Audacity has the ability to export the final cut in several formats..MP3, Ogg, WAV...and once you have the recording saved on the screen via Audacity, there's an EFFECTS area where you can filter, change pitch, add clear sound at the front/rear...and do a lot of other things to the version you get.

You can add amplification, change the audio recording curve, add bass, use a custom mixer, paste music on music, add or delete entry or exit by trimming, remove noise and scratches/pops, fade in/out..all kinds of stuff!

All this, and if you mess it up, you can UNDO quite a few layers of changes so you can resort back to the way it was.

ANYTHING that you can actually hear thru your computer's speakers is savable with Audacity...including streaming music, on-line broadcasts and podcasts etc.

The editing capacity is quite amazing for a free program too.
Just be sure to use the correct input (Microphone, Stereo Mix, or whatever other inputs your soundcard and Audacity can work with together) as sometimes Audacity will default to LINE IN when you really want Stereo Mix or Microphone...and you may not notice the change until you get the wrong signal recorded.

Once I have the file saved (I use MP3), then use the Audacity toolbar to OPEN the file you just created...you'll have to drill down to where you saved it, and when you find it, right click and (here's what I do) OPEN WITH>> Windows Media Player.

While it's playing in WMP, just click on FILE>>ADD TO LIBRARY>>ADD CURRENTLY PLAYING ITEM.

Wait for WMP's GUI to reset or blink..and then you'll have the file in the library list in WMP from then on.

You can confirm that you have it listed in WMP by clicking on Now Playing...and it should be there.

If you need to change any info or data about the file name or the artist or whatever, just put your pointer on the actual line where the entry is and right click and EDIT to change anything in any of the fields.

When you go to shut down Audacity, it'll ask if you want to save the file...I don't. It is just another copy of what I have saved somewhere else..but this is valuable as an option in case you want to shut down for a beer or the night and resume where you left off another time.

All in all, Audacity is very kewl and a great sound editing/recording utility. It's free...did I mention that?

02-11-2007, 04:16 AM
Lost the edit time...

I also save in very high bit-rates in WMP10...over 1k. I think having it that high is good (if you have the room on the HDD for it) as you will never lose any details...and you can always make a smaller sized file later for your iPod or Sansa, where they like 128kb files.

Actually, if you want a very good copy and don't mind the files size, you can always use .wav format. Be prepared to gobble up a lot of HDD area though!

02-11-2007, 04:58 AM
Thanks for all that :)

Before I get to the recording of my father, I think I will be experimenting with Audacity on some of my music tapes

Thanks all :thumbs:

02-11-2007, 05:07 AM
Audacity also has the advantage of recording and balancing each speaker, like say if you played one side of a tape over and over and wore out before the other you can balance it up rather easily. And the cut and paste is a breeze to use.

Make sure you get the add ons for exporting, so you can save as mp3 or wav.

Good luck!:thumbs: