Converting Cassettes to MP3's

My father has a large supply of cassette tapes with his music on it, but he says he wants to convert them to MP3’s. Hypotheically, it should be possible, but I’m at a loss to figure out how.

Is there any software/hardware that he could get to do this?

If your sound card has an audio in jack, and you have a cassette player with an audio out jack, you can get an audio to audio cable and record them to .wav files that way. You’ll have to manually break them up into tracks and then convert them to .mp3s with some other utility.

I’ve used this free program in the past for this task - it’ll record the input, let you do the basic chopping up, fade ins & outs, noise reduction etc., and save to MP3.

I’ve done this before. I had a couple of tapes that I wanted to burn to CD-Rs, so I could get rid of the tapes and my old walkman. I connected the Line Out on my walkman to the line in on my sound card. I used SoundBlaster’s recording utility to record the tapes as MP3 files. This took a bit of experimentation, since I’d never done that sort of thing before, but eventually I got it to work. I downloaded a free audio editing program from the internet and used that to break the sound files up into tracks, and to cut out dead space at the beginning and end of tracks.

This is what I do. Granted, it’s low-tech, cheap, and fairly labor-intensive, but it works:

  1. Download a sound editor like Goldwave, which is free.

  2. Go to an electronics store (like Radio Shack) and buy 1) a phono cable and 2)two phone jack adapters, the kind that will allow you to connect a phono cable to a microphone/earphone jack. The adapter should have a 1/8" male plug and female end accomodating a phono plug. You need two, one for each end of the cable.

  3. Most stereos have an earphone jack. Consider this the “output”. Stick the cable (with its adapter) into this jack.

  4. Most computers have a microphone jack. Consider this the “input”. Stick the other end of the cable (with its adapter) into this jack.

  5. Open up Goldwave. It’s better you dick around with it before starting this process. It’s user-friendly but like anything, you need to know all the bells and whistles before using it. And you will need to download LAME, an MP3 encoder, to get Goldwave to save an audio file as an MP3.

  6. Before recording, you need to fiddle with your sound settings. Double click on the volume icon on your taskbar (or wherever it is). You should get the volume control panel. Go to Options and then Properties. Click on “Adjust Volume for Recording” and make sure your microphone is selected underneath.

  7. Now, you should be able to hear your stereo on your computer. Goldwave (or something like it) should be able to record the input audio for you, and then you can save the recording as a wave file or mp3. Without an MP3 encoder, it will save it as a humongous wave file. So getting the encoder is a must.

I’m sure there are other ways of doing it, but this works perfectly fine.

Wow, I’m glad I ran across this message! I have been having a lot of problems recording live tracks to my computer because of some irritating skipping at the end of each track. This’ll let me chop that skipping off super-easy!

I’ve been using WavePad, which GorillaMan recommended, to convert my vinyl and cassettes to cds, and I think it’s a really great program. I’ve been tempted to upgrade to the paid version. If the extra features work as well as the basic ones, it would be well worth the money.

Instead of using the headphone jack, though, we connected the Line Out on the stereo system’s amp to the computer’s sound card. The sound quality has been excellent.

just a little fyi.

its leagal to download any song you have a store bought copy of.

personally there is no way in hell I would go through the effort of converting a pile of cassets to mp3 unless A: the tracks were unavailable elsewhere and B: were some damn amazing stuff.

not to mention the dl’d versions will be cd ish quality verses cassuck tapes hiss filled crap.

I agree with this. The only music I bother converting is out of print. And you might be surprised just how much music is not commercially available anywhere online.

Cites for any of that? Because I really think you’re wrong.

Copyright laws vary by country, but in the US, the legality of downloading a song does not depend on whether you’ve previously paid for a copy in some other format.

(Of course, I have yet to see an instance of anyone being prosecuted for downloading any copyrighted material without permission, only for uploading, but that’s another issue and doesn’t prove that it’s legal anyway.)