How to Convert cassettes to computer file

Posted on 2004-11-18
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Hi Experts,

Is there any special cable or software for converting cassettes to computer file, and how to do it, thank you very much
Question by:bram_code
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 12622317
General Description:

Standard RCA cables from audio out on tape player or receiver to a RCA-minijack converter to plug into the linein jack on soundcard.

Nero, Roxio CD Creator, and most CD Burning softwares have a Option to rip sounds to HD or straight to CD.

I like to save to HD because it makes less coasters that way. Make sure you have plenty of room on the HD, as files are large.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

ID: 12623031
you will have to use a sound recorder program, as the standard one let's you save only 1 minute

try audacity    :   http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Expert Comment

ID: 12626076

I use the standard RCA cables from my stereo to the sound card as coral4 stated. The software I use is Cakewalk Pyro 2004:

http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/Pyro/default.asp (very easy to use)

They also have a Plus version:

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Expert Comment

ID: 12661393
If money isn't a problem, and you have a lot of cassettes to transfer, you could try the link below.

It's a hardware solution, not software.  I just thought you might want to take a look at it anyway.
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 12743198

Do you by any chance have Roxio Easy CD Creator CD-Burning software installed?

If so, you have a ready-made program that allows you to input an old record player or cassette deck and convert it to a .wav file (uncompressed and large file with no loss in quality), .mp3 (compressed, small file size, and little loss in quality) or .wma (windows media audio - compressed Microsoft format).

You are, as stated above, simply recording the input source just as if it were a microphone, but instead of outputting to the speakers, the software takes care of the conversion.

The only thing that you need to watch for is that you don't overload the system with too high a level of input, or it creates distortion.  On the other hand, if your signal is too weak and you boost it too much, you get hum or hiss.

There are usually different input sockets on your sound card referred to as "LINE In" and "Microphone".  Microphones have low output levels, and have to be boosted, whereas "line level" outputs are much stronger and have to be cut down.

The utility found in Roxio Easy CD Creator is known as "Sound Stream", and hoepfully you have a more recent version with this included.  If it doesn't appear on your start menu under the Easy CD Creator folder, you would find the Sound Stream program file at:
"C:\Program Files\Adaptec\Easy CD Creator 5\SoundStream\sndstrm.exe"
and a double-click would open it.

Hover your mouse over the buttons towards the bottom of the program interface until you see the one that opens the "Options Drawer". Once opened, you will see a utility on the "drawer" named "Spin Doctor".  Open it.

The "select source" choice doesn't refer the the actual device that is generating the OUTPUT (cassette), but rather the computer device that is converting a line signal to a digital format that can be used by the computer (ie. your sound card).

Below it, you will see a graphics display showing "Input Levels".  Too high goes into red, and too low goes into green.  Red will distort, whereas somewhere at the end of green where it turns yellow will be the best level (volume).  Click the "Preview" button to hear the output before committing it to a live record mode.

Although it is pretty simple looking in layout, it has a fairly effective method of removing unwanted "noise" such as pops, clicks, and hiss, and is nicely set into 3 "presets".  CD, Cassette, and Record Player.  Click the ? at the top right for a comprehensive help file.

As far as cables are concerned, it all depends what diameter of jack plug socket is on your sound card.  It will more than likely be a stereo input, whereas your cassette deck will most likely have separate outputs for left and right.  So, all you need is 2 RCA "phono" jacks at the cassette deck which then combine into a single mini stereo jack for inputting into the sound card.



I'll never understand how American people can mix metric with imperial.  One eighth of an inch x 0.75 Metres.  What's that all about??  Tsk, tsk.  Make your minds up, we had metric forced on us in the UK, but we still drive im Miles per Hour :-)

Check what outputs your cassette deck has.  You want to use a "line out" and NOT the speaker cables.  Also check if the sound card's stereo line-in is 2.5, 3.0, or 3.5 mm.

You can use in-line adapters if you don't have the right cable, but you lose quality with each adapter you add.  Get a decent shielded cable and gold-plated plugs for the best quality.

Note: Record Decks output a very low signal which needs to go through a preamp (pre-amplifier) which is usually in the main amplifier section of a hi-fi system.  You can't just plug the output from the back of the record deck right into a sound card and expect to hear it without cranking up a huge amount of hiss.

Note: Recording WAV files requires a substantial amount of hard drive space because it is an uncompressed audio file format.   Approximately 10 MB is required for each minute of sound recorded.   Something like 14 standard tracks from a cassette could take up  approximately 750 MB of hard drive space.   Recording to MP3 files does not lose much quality and the file sizes are something like 10% of the file size.  When added to a new CD "project", MP3 files create a quality that you would be hard-pushed to discern from a .WAV file, but it all depends on the quality of the cassette and the deck used to output the signal.

Experiment first.  CD-R's are cheap  :-)

LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 12743206
Whooops, soryy coral47.

Actually, I believe I might owe you credit for the discovery of "Spin Doctor".  I'll find my original question.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 12743215
Yes, it was you coral47.

Lookie here at this old question of mine:

bram_code, you might want to check out that question also.
LVL 32

Expert Comment

ID: 12746736
: )

I remember that one. I thought it was your Q, but wasn't sure. Old age, ya know.    : D

Expert Comment

ID: 12887875
You could also try ADS Instant Music RDX-150

Reasonably priced, user-friendly.

Expert Comment

ID: 12899142
If you do not own Roxio Easy CD Creator you can use the free version of MusicMatch Jukebox to record from the line in.  It is very easy to use, but the newer versions require you to buy the full version to unlock this feature.  You can download version 6 which I know gives the feature for free from http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=mmatch.  You can also burn audio CDs from MusicMatch, although the recording speed is very limited unless you buy the full version.

Hope this helps.
LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 12921631
Thank you, bram_code

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