Transfer Cassette Tapes to Computer

Cassette Tapes

Do you have a bunch of old audio cassettes that you want to copy or transfer to your computer? Don’t worry! There are many gadgets and programs out there which will make the process very simple. Below are some methods to transfer your old Cassette Tapes to your computer.

Method 1 : Using Audacity to for Audio Transfer

Things you need before you copy cassettes to your PC or computer :

1. Audacity – Free recording and editing software

Cassette Tapes2. Cassette Tape Deck with RCA output jacks or tape player with 3.5mm mini-plug

Cassette Tape
3. Stereo RCA cable with mini-jack connector or mini male to stereo mini male cable

Cassette TapeCassette Tape
4. Sound card with line-in jack (usually in blue)Cassette Tape

Step 1 : Connect tape deck to computer

In order to record the audio from cassette to PC or  Computer, first, you need to connect the tape deck or tape player to the computer itself. You need the Stereo RCA cable with mini-jack or the mini male to mini male cable for connecting both of them.Cassette Tape

Connect the male side of the RCA cable (red and white) into the female RCA connectors on the tape deck. Make sure that the RCA jacks on the tape deck say “Line Out” or “Audio Out”.

Now, connect the other end of the cable to your computer. If you’re using the RCA cable with a mini-jack connector on the other end, then simply plug it into the female Line-In jack on the back of your computer (the blue one). However, if you have an RCA cable that has red and white RCA connectors on both ends, you’ll need to buy a mini male to 2 RCA female adapter. However, if you’re going to buy this, you have to buy a cable with the mini-jack as well. Using an adapter may reduce the audio quality.Cassette Tape

If you’re using a desktop PC, it should be color coded. This makes it much easier to figure out where it has to be connected to. Basically, it’s the blue colored jack that is your Line In.Cassette Tape

Step 2 : Record audio from cassette tape using Audacity

Now you have your cassette tape deck connected to the computer. So we can use the open-source audio recording and editing software Audacity to capture the audio.

Firstly, open Audacity and click on Edit and then Preferences way at the bottom. If it’s not there already, click on Audio I/O in the left-hand menu. This is where you can select the Input Source that you want to record sound from. You should see a section heading called Recording and under that a drop down menu a Device.

Cassette Tape

Make sure that you do NOT pick Microsoft Sound Mapper if you’re on a Windows machine. It should be something similar to what you see above or something like “Line-In : Realtek HD Device”, etc. You can try all of the options in the drop down until you actually get the sound to record, one of them will work.

Now you simply need to adjust the volume for your recording by clicking on the downward pointing arrow on the right hand (red) VU recording level meters.

Cassette Tape

Now click on Monitor Input or Start Monitoring. And when you begin recording by clicking the Record button, if you see the sound is going too far to the right (red bars), then you can adjust the input volume level by dragging the slider to the left in the Mixer Toolbar (which is slightly lower) and to the left of the recording levels meters.

Cassette Tape

After finishing recording, go ahead and click the Stop button (yellow color). Then, go to File and choose Save Project As. This will save it as an Audacity project so that you can come back and edit it later.

To export the final edited version of your recording to MP3 or WAV format, click on File and choose Export As. You can then take these MP3s and burn them to CD or import then into iTunes. You can choose between WAV, AIFF, OGG, FLAC, and MP2 formats for exporting.

Remember you can always pause the recording at any time if there are parts of the cassette tape which you don’t want to be transferred to your computer. Otherwise, you should now use the digital version of your audio cassettes.

Method 2 : USB Cassette Player

Cassette Tape

One of the cheapest options is the USB Cassette Player. You just plug the cable into your computer’s USB port and use the accompanying software to record the audio into MP3 format.

Method 3 : Tape Deck with CD Recorder

Cassette Tape

The more expensive option is to purchase a tape deck, but instead, buy one that includes a built-in CD recorder.

Teac is a popular brand and has one model that lets you play and record directory on the device itself. It’s a bit expensive but possibly worth it if you have hundreds of cassettes to get them converted to digital format.

May the above information is enough to get your Cassette Tapes converted into digital format without a lot of trouble.

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