Convert a cassette tape recording to digital format

audio recordingcassettemp3tape

Has anyone been successful with transferring audio cassette tape recordings to a digital format? I would like to preserve old cassette tape recordings of my grandparents to some digital format: MP3, WAV, etc… The quality of the tapes are mediocre. I think I can handle the quality restoration but getting the audio from tape to digital is my question.

Below is a list of the hardware that I can work with:

Cassette Deck: I have a Technics stereo cassette deck model RS-B12. It has separate left and right IN and OUT RCA type jacks on the back. In the front it has a headphone phono jack, plus left and right mic input phono jacks.

On the computer side:
-I have a Windows Vista PC with no additional software other than what came with the machine from Costco. No sound editing software that I can see. There is no sound card on the PC. On the front panel there is a mini-phono mic input jack and there are several different types of in/out mini-phono jacks on the back. In addition, USB and Firewire.

I also have access to a new (2009) iMac with a mini-phono input jack for a powered mic or other audio source and GarageBand that has come with the computer. In addition, USB and Firewire.

What are my options for getting these cassette recordings into a digital format? Whats the best format? What sort of wires would I need and will I want to utilize the USB or Firewire or can I simply use the audio inputs on the PC (or Mac) to receive the audio stream?

Best Answer

  • Use a 3.5 mm stereo-to-RCA cable from the RCA out of the cassette tape deck to the Line In jack of the sound card.

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    Select Line In as source for your recordings.

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    Then grab Audacity and record/cut your tapes. Keep the the results in a lossless format (e.g. WAV - or compressed as Monkey's Audio or FLAC to save space) for further processing before converting to MP3.

    Note: Audacity requires the LAME MP3 Encoder for MP3 conversion.

    Note: This would not be a fully digital remaster as you're still using an analog tape player.

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