So you have some old cassette tapes that you want to copy or transfer to your computer? There are many gadgets and software you can buy that will make the process as easy as possible, however, since I’m a techie and my blog is about easy-to-understand computer tips, I’m going to try to teach you how to transfer audio tapes to your computer for free!
I’ll also mention a couple of such gadgets at the end, for those of you who don’t have the time or patience, follow the instructions below.
Use audacity to convey the voice
What you need before you can copy tapes to your computer or PC:
1. Audacity – Free software for recording and editing
2. Cassette deck with RCA outputs or tape recorder with mini plug 3 , 5mm (I hope you already have this if you have a lot of tapes)
3. RCA stereo mini jack cable or mini plug to stereo cable with mini plug
4. Soundcard with line-in (usually blue)
Step 1. Connect the tape recorder to your computer
Step 1: Connect the tape deck to the computer
The first thing you need to do in order to record audio from a cassette is to connect a cassette deck or tape recorder to the computer itself. To do this, you need a stereo RCA mini-jack cable or a mini-plug-to-mini-plug cable.
Connect the RCA plug of the cable (red and white) to the RCA jacks on the recorder. Make sure the tape recorder’s RCA jacks read “Line Out” or “Audio Out”.
Now it’s time to connect. the other end of the cable to your computer. If you’re using an RCA cable with a mini-jack on the other end, simply plug it into the Line-In jack on the back of your computer (blue of the three). However, if you have an RCA cable with red and white RCA connectors on both ends, you will need to purchase a mini-male to 2 RCA adapter as shown below.
However, if you are going to buy this, you can also buy a mini plug cable already on the other end! Using an adapter may result in poor sound quality.
If you are using a desktop PC, it should be color coded, which makes it much easier to determine where to plug it in. This is essentially the blue connector, which is your line-in.
Step 2. Record audio from tape with Audacity
Step 2: Record audio from cassette tape using Audacity
Now that you have a cassette deck connected to your computer, we can use the open source audio recording and editing software Audacity to record audio.
First, open Audacity and click Edit and then the Preferences way at the bottom. If not already, click Audio I / O in the left menu. Here you can select the input source from which you want to record audio. You should see a heading for the Recording section, and below it a Device drop-down menu.
Make sure you DO NOT select Microsoft SoundMapper if you are on a Windows computer. It should be something similar to what you see above, or something like â€œLine-In: Realtek HD Deviceâ€ etc. You can try all of the options in the dropdown until you get audio to record. one of them will work.
Now you just need to adjust the recording volume by clicking the down arrow on the right (red) VG recording level bar.
Now click Monitor Input or Start Monitoring. Now, when you start recording by clicking the Record button, if you see the sound 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 (i.e. slightly below and to the left of the recording level meters.
When you’re done recording, click the Stop (yellow) button, go to File and select Save Project As. This will save it as an Audacity project so you can go back and edit it later.
To export the final edited version of your recording to MP3 or WAV format, click File and select Export As. Then you can take these MP3s and burn them to CD or import them into iTunes. You can choose to export WAV, AIFF, OGG, FLAC and MP2 formats.
Remember that you can always pause the recording at any time if there are parts of the tape that you do not want to transfer to your computer. If not, you should now have a digital version of your cassettes!
Other ways to transfer audio tapes
If you don’t mind spending some money, you can purchase some handy gadgets that will make the translation process easier.
USB Cassette Player
USB cassette player
My favorite and cheapest option is a USB cassette player like the one shown below on Amazon for $ 22. Simply plug the device into a USB port on your computer and use the supplied MP3 audio recording software.
Tape recorder with CD recorder
Tape deck with CD recorder
A more expensive option is to buy a cassette deck, as I showed in the guide above, but buy one that includes a built-in CD recorder instead. A regular tape deck will cost between $ 50 and $ 150, while a cassette deck with CD recording option will set you back $ 200 to $ 350.
Teac is a popular brand that has one model that allows you to play and record a directory on the device itself. It’s a bit more expensive at $ 335, but it might be worth it if you have hundreds of cassettes that you want to digitize.
Hopefully, this information is enough to convert your cassettes to digital format without any problems. If you have a question, please leave a comment! Enjoy!