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  #1  
Old 03-29-2013, 12:19 AM
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Default Convert to MP3

I have some old cassette tapes I want to convert to MP3's. Amazon has several converters to output to USB and use free Audacity software. The cost is around $20 or so but the reviews on them are all over the place. Any recommendations on which one to use?


Thanks.

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Old 03-29-2013, 11:45 AM
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I had to convert a cassette tape to MP3 for a coworker a couple years ago. What I did was borrow a cassette player with a 3.5mm line out jack and used a 3.5mm cable to hook up the cassette player to a normal desktop computer via line in.

Using Audacity - set it to record as the cassette player is playing and wait until the cassette is finished playing. That got me a digitized file which I then did some basic cleanup with in Audacity to remove static and white noise (this was a interview recording that was like 30 years old). If one wanted to, you could also chop up the one large MP3 file into smaller "tracks" as well in Audacity.

Didn't cost me anything but time since the cassette player was borrowed and I have male to male 3.5mm cables.
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  #3  
Old 04-03-2013, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Einstein View Post
I had to convert a cassette tape to MP3 for a coworker a couple years ago. What I did was borrow a cassette player with a 3.5mm line out jack and used a 3.5mm cable to hook up the cassette player to a normal desktop computer via line in.

Using Audacity - set it to record as the cassette player is playing and wait until the cassette is finished playing. That got me a digitized file which I then did some basic cleanup with in Audacity to remove static and white noise (this was a interview recording that was like 30 years old). If one wanted to, you could also chop up the one large MP3 file into smaller "tracks" as well in Audacity.

Didn't cost me anything but time since the cassette player was borrowed and I have male to male 3.5mm cables.
^^^ This and let me explain a bit more...

Converting from TAPE (analog) to a digital format will bring some noise with it. Just using ANY tape recorder is not good enough.

Case in point is when transferring a VHS tape to DVD format you can not just use ANY VCR, you need a VCR with a TBC built in or a TBC that is inline (TBC = Time Based Corrector). A TBC outputs a stronger cleaner image and bypasses macrovision and other garbage soemtimes. For AUDIO I am uncertain as to what you would need but one thing is for sure- you need to use premium stuff or stuff that will generate top notch results or else your digital files will sound like you recorded vinyl records.

It might be possible that you can get a decent audio software package (DART comes to mind) somewhere that would be able to eliminate some of the hiss from the audio cassette. Keep that in mind. Those usb devices are cool but once you are done with cassettes then what good are they? Spend hundreds of dollars on them or just look for a old PRO cassette deck for a stereo like a pioneer or something that a professional would use, they prolly still make them, so look for a cheap one. The old VCRs that are PRO cost about $400+ brand new but they have decent TBCs in them. As far as audio eq like that, I am uncertain without checking.- But I DID purchase a Professiona Super VHS Tape Deck for $75 (used but like new with no remote) and brand new it would have cost me $362 + shipping. This was just last year.

BUT, one thing is for certain, despite ALL that I said, if you can live with the results, then just get a cassette player and a double ended stereo cable and plug the output/headphones from the player into the LINE IN on your sound card and see where that takes you.

Have a look here:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/22078...our_music.html

"If the above-mentioned Audacity is a little too geeky for your taste, you can find a number of affordable recording/editing programs such as Cakewalk's $40 Pyro Audio Creator 1.5 and Bias's $50 SoundSaver that are designed specifically for digitizing analog music. Both of these products also offer easier, more-effective noise reduction than Audacity.

Noise Reduction
The biggest problem with analog audio is noise, which gets digitized along with the music. Vinyl suffers from clicks, pops, and scratchiness, while hiss plagues tape. Recording apps such as Audacity include restoration features that can help remove the noise, but they're difficult to use and can kill the dynamic range of your music if you use them improperly. Most commercial high-end sound editors such as Adobe's $349 Audition 3 provide effective noise removal. If you want the best restoration software, however, you should look to either Bias's $129 SoundSoap 2 or iZotope's $349 RX 2. In my tests, I found SoundSoap 2 simple to use, and the audio files that I created with it sounded great. Nevertheless, I got even better results from RX 2, which created audio that blew me away, especially during quiet passages."
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Last edited by stilly; 04-03-2013 at 10:40 AM..
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:03 AM
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For about $80 bucks I buought a record/cassette player that also has a cd writer in it. Works fantastic. Still trying to get all my old albums done. If you have other stuff to transfer, this is the way to go. No hassels.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:55 AM
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I bought a "Hype" brand cassette to USB player for $15 off of WOOT.com. I have used it to convert some old cassette audio books to .mp3. It worked fine fore me. I may never use it again, but for $15 I was able to get some audio books that aren't available in any other form but cassette to use with my iPod. $15 well spent.
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Old 04-03-2013, 1:09 PM
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I would weigh the options of just purchasing the mp3 from amazon music or itunes over the time invested and quality issues with doing a cassette to mp3 conversion.

Just my $0.02
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Old 04-03-2013, 2:43 PM
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Any decent tape deck with a decent output will work fine. You will need a good amplifier to amplify the signal before it goes into the DACs on the USB device.

Any readily available commercial USB recording device should work fine. You will get tape hiss. I would recommend against using noise reduction software like DART etc, unless you want to lose fidelity.

If this is commercial music, you may want to just rebuy a digital version. It will sound a lot better.

If this is for nostalgia, then don't worry too much about sound quality. The most important thing is to amplify the signal from the tapedeck as cleanly as possible, and go in to the input on the USB/recording device as hot as possible without clipping.

-Freq
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:17 PM
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your $20 converter + audacity software should be good enough. I would of done that also if i didn't already buy the roxio converter. I used my converter for almost 6 months now and i love it. Read more about it here at http://www.hopreviews.com/reviews/roxio-easy-lp-to-mp3/ and see for yourself with one to get.

Last edited by TechnoNinja; 04-08-2013 at 11:18 PM..
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