Is there any way to get something from a cassette tape to my computer?

Because then I could get it onto iTunes and onto my iPod.

I’ve purchased as many of the songs from cassette tapes as I could, but there remain a few that I just love to death and that I can’t find anywhere. These tapes are getting old now, but I don’t want to lose these few songs. I am willing to put up with so-so quality. I just don’t want to lose them.

Is there a way, somehow?

I see a device on that you can connect to the computer to record those tracks to CDs or as mp3s. But I don’t know how you’d do it without that.

Easy Peasy!
Line out from the tape deck goes to the audio input of your computer.
I just used Audacity and Sound studio to dump my old “Kaptain Kopter and the Fabulous Twirly birds” tape to my Mac. It worked like a charm. Things are a bit different in the PC world, but there are numerous ways to get the data onto your HD.

Lots of computers have audio-in jacks, so you may not need to buy any hardware. All current Macs do.

I only thought of that after I had posted. :smack:

But that information is useful to me as well, as I have old tapes I would like to get the songs from too, and I already use Audacity for recording.

Ok, I’m going to try it this weekend. The worst thing is, these are Indian songs, so I’ll never find them. The band is defunct, iTunes is getting better on “World” music but not great, and there are millions and millions and millions of Indian songs - it’s almost impossible to find one or two or five.


Like Squink said, it’s remarkably easy.

You can go nuts and spend hundreds of dollars on high-end audio equipment, but the truth is, most cassette tapes just aren’t up to high-end “high fidelity,” so truthfully, even a pretty inexpensive tape player will work for most cases. I’ve used incredibly cheap Walkman-like devices and gotten pretty acceptable results.

Assuming you’ll do likewise, you’ll need a male mini stereo to male mini stereo cable (Radio Shack still carries these). This has a 1/8-inch “headphone” type plug at both ends. Plug one end into the headphone jack of the Walkman and one end into the line in audio jack on your computer. This usually is indicated with a symbol like this: (( )) with an arrow pointing in toward the center. It has a standardized color code, but I can’t remember what it is and don’t feel like crawling under the desk to look.


Oh, all right.

Light blue. You happy?

Now you’ll need software. You may already have something to use. Most CD burners come with Roxio or Nero and those packages usually have something that will work to record line-in audio. If you don’t, I second Squink suggestion of Audacity, which is a very powerful tool. If you’re looking for simple, try HardDisk Ogg. For either, if memory serves, you’ll need to locate a copy of the lame.dll if you want to make MP3s. This is not hard to find online, but I had mine because I had a copy of Nero Burning ROM.

If you’re using a real tape deck rather than a Walkman, you’ll need Radio Shack’s male mini stereo to male stereo phono cable. Just remember that you do not under an circmstances want to send an amplified signal to that line in jack on your PC, so do not ever connect anything that wants to be connected to loudspeakers there.

Good luck!

As the others said, it’s easy. Just plug the line-out of your tape deck into the line-in of your computer should work fine. Then press ‘record’ on the audio-recording software of your computer, followed by ‘play’ on the tape deck.

Or you could get a cassette drive for your computer. :slight_smile:

I was thinking of getting one, but then my tower died and I bought a laptop, so now I have no room.

I mean, I’ve done this from TV to tape deck, (VCR really) so I am not unfamiliar with it. But my SO has somewhat crippled me with the computer. He never lets me fix it anymore or do anything with it, and I used to be fairly good at figuring out things. I’ll figure it out.

Oh. My.


Yeah, 1980’s Apple II cassette technology for the new millenium! :smiley:

Maybe I can use that for data backup, like I used to do with the Penney’s in the 70’s. Ah, the good old days.

The cassette drive is a nice idea in theory, but in practice, I have every reason to believe that it would be somewhat of a letdown. The problem with every cassette deck is that the azimuth of its record and/or playback head is aligned slightly differently from every other one, and that its motor speed is slightly fast or slow of every other deck. A tape made on one machine will most likely sound different on another deck, due to these speed and alignment variations. If there’s Dolby NR on the source tape, it may not decode properly on another deck, owing to the same kind of calibration variations.

To do proper tape transfers, you have to be able to sum the output to mono. This way, you can hear if it swishes and swirls, these are phase cancellations, which means the head must be adjusted with a precision screwdriver to match the azimuth of the head that recorded the tape. The problem with this is, that once you change the head alignment of your deck, you’ll have to adjust it again for every tape you play on it. And then there’s the issue of pitch correction, which is its own ball of wax.

It’s why I gave up doing tape transfers, and haven’t used my cassette decks for anything more than a few dozen times in the last ten years.

Actually, I would think the biggest problem with that cassette deck drive would be the distortions introduced by the inherent vibrations of the computer all around it, but it’s still coo-ul.