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    • littlerock
    • By littlerock 8th Feb 18, 1:27 AM
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    littlerock
    convert old cassette tapes to digital format
    • #1
    • 8th Feb 18, 1:27 AM
    convert old cassette tapes to digital format 8th Feb 18 at 1:27 AM
    I have recently found a small cache of cassette "mix" tapes in a drawer whi,le having a spring clean. I should like to convert them to digital format. what's simplest way? I see Maplin has something called an Ion player which will play them but it says you need iPlayer to convert them to MP3 format on your computer and I have a pc - I am not an Apple user.

    what does anyone suggest?
Page 1
    • A.Penny.Saved
    • By A.Penny.Saved 8th Feb 18, 1:54 AM
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    A.Penny.Saved
    • #2
    • 8th Feb 18, 1:54 AM
    • #2
    • 8th Feb 18, 1:54 AM
    You could use Audacity (freeware) and hook a cassette player up to your PC line in or Mic input depending upon the cassette output level.

    Audacity can use other output plugins such as Lame Mp3 encoder but it does already come with a Mp3 encoder. Ffmpeg addon also allows extra supported audio formats.

    There is a sound activated recording option. You might get some noise when the tape starts so it might be best to begin recording after starting the tape to help avoid any unwanted noises.

    Audacity does also have lots of effects which might help remove the typical analogue tape noise.

    It shouldn't cost you anything to try it providing you have a suitable lead to connect your tape player to your PC. A 3.5mm jack plug lead should be sufficient.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 8th Feb 18, 8:43 AM
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    eddddy
    • #3
    • 8th Feb 18, 8:43 AM
    • #3
    • 8th Feb 18, 8:43 AM
    There is a sound activated recording option.
    Originally posted by A.Penny.Saved
    ...which probably wouldn't be so good for music tapes.

    The 'gap' between tracks would be lost - tracks would run into each other (which would probably make editing into single tracks more difficult). Also, any 'dramatic pauses' in a music track would be lost.

    After recording a side of a cassette, you'd probably want to split the single long recording into a series of individual tracks - so you can access and play them individually on your pc.


    Edit to add...

    If you do want to split a long recording into multiple tracks using Audacity, here's some info: https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/splitting_a_recording_into_separate_tracks.html
    • tonyh66
    • By tonyh66 8th Feb 18, 9:25 AM
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    tonyh66
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 18, 9:25 AM
    • #4
    • 8th Feb 18, 9:25 AM
    why bother, the sound quality from tape to digital will be terrible. Find out what is on the tapes and then find the digital equivalent, chances are you probably already have all the tunes on CD.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 8th Feb 18, 9:35 AM
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    esuhl
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 18, 9:35 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Feb 18, 9:35 AM
    why bother, the sound quality from tape to digital will be terrible. Find out what is on the tapes and then find the digital equivalent, chances are you probably already have all the tunes on CD.
    Originally posted by tonyh66
    As they are mix tapes, they might have been "one offs" that are otherwise irreplaceable. I digitised some old tapes with Audacity, and the results have been disappointing as the tapes has warped and started to disintegrate. But at least I have digital copies for posterity. The ones in my collection were the last in (known) existence.

    Otherwise, it would save a lot of hassle and give much more pleasure to just buy a decent recording of the mixes if they're commercially available.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 8th Feb 18, 11:07 AM
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    Gloomendoom
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:07 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:07 AM
    I use one of these for converting digital to analogue but it works the other way round too...

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-UCA202-U-Control-low-latency-Interface/dp/B000KW2YEI
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. - Mark Twain
    • littlerock
    • By littlerock 8th Feb 18, 11:35 AM
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    littlerock
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:35 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:35 AM
    No some of them are tracks from imported cassettes and not available also I should like the mix tapes in the pre existing sequence. Do you think the Behringer device would work for analogue tapes to digital?
    How would I connect it up?
    • littlerock
    • By littlerock 8th Feb 18, 11:41 AM
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    littlerock
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:41 AM
    • #8
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:41 AM
    No some of them are tracks from imported cassettes and not available also I should like the mix tapes in the pre existing sequence. Do you think the Behringer device would work for analogue tapes to digital?
    How would I connect it up?
    • Browntoa
    • By Browntoa 8th Feb 18, 11:43 AM
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    Browntoa
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:43 AM
    • #9
    • 8th Feb 18, 11:43 AM
    I've used this

    http://www.magix.com/gb/audio-cleaning-lab/

    It reduces noise and re equalises the sound , you can also "tag" the individual tracks so you can jump forward like normal even on a mix tape

    I was greatly impressed by the finished product , some of my tapes were from the early 1970's
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    • tonyh66
    • By tonyh66 8th Feb 18, 2:06 PM
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    tonyh66
    No some of them are tracks from imported cassettes and not available also I should like the mix tapes in the pre existing sequence. Do you think the Behringer device would work for analogue tapes to digital?
    How would I connect it up?
    Originally posted by littlerock
    Fair enough, if the tracks are unobtainable elsewhere, then go for it, the tapes might be degraded though as mentioned above.
    • emptybox
    • By emptybox 8th Feb 18, 2:30 PM
    • 389 Posts
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    emptybox
    No some of them are tracks from imported cassettes and not available also I should like the mix tapes in the pre existing sequence. Do you think the Behringer device would work for analogue tapes to digital?
    How would I connect it up?
    Originally posted by littlerock
    I don't see how that Behringer device would be useful to you? It's more for mixing two different sources together, or for if your PC doesn't have an audio line in or mic socket.
    You'd still need to buy a cassette player, if you haven't already got one.

    That Ion cassette player doesn't need itunes, It connects to the PC via USB, and the included software records the album as a .wav file/files
    You could then use any software such as Audacity to turn it into .mp3 files.

    But TBH if you can just pick up a second hand or cheap cassette player and connect it with a 3.5mm lead from the headphone socket on the player to the line-in or mic socket on the PC, then Audacity is the only software you need. It'll record as well as convert.
    Bit of a learning curve with it, that's all.
    Last edited by emptybox; 08-02-2018 at 2:32 PM.
    • stragglebod
    • By stragglebod 8th Feb 18, 7:04 PM
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    stragglebod
    I did exactly this, connecting the line out from an old hifi to the line in on my PC using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo jack for about 1 on ebay, and recording using Audacity. Didn't use the sound activated recording, manually recording worked fine.


    Quality was fine, there was some tape hiss but it actually made everything sound nice and warm anyway so I kept it.
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 8th Feb 18, 7:34 PM
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    Gloomendoom
    Are the microphone inputs mono or stereo?
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. - Mark Twain
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