Technical brainstorming: cassette tape copying needed

To make a long story short, one of the partners at the law firm where I work needs to figure out, by tomorrow, how to make a copy of a cassette tape of an old hearing before she files an appeal brief…which has to go out tomorrow, so I need to figure this out tonight.

I have the following at my disposal:

  • A small portable cassette player
  • At home I have a single-cassette boom box, which I haven’t used in so long that I don’t remember what kind of connectors it has, if any
  • A regular garden-variety desktop computer with CD burner
  • I probably have at home some blank cassette tapes, and/or some ones with stuff on them that I wouldn’t mind copying over

I just need to have a copy of the hearing; it doesn’t necessarily need to be on a cassette tape (and in fact it would preferably be in some kind of digital format that might be less of a PTA to deal with). The partner needs to send out the tapes with the appeal brief, and so she wants to keep a copy for herself in some usable format. What do I need to do? Would I need any special software if I want to make some kind of digital file? Alternately, do any of you folks in Chicago know a place that can copy cassettes (maybe on Devon Ave. or something)? She seemed to think I could just pay it on full volume on one deck and have the other recording, but I don’t even know that the result of that would be intelligible…

Yours in solidarity with the Huddled Masses,
Eva Luna

There’s scads of places that do that sort of thing around here, I can’t imagine that Chicago isn’t littered with 'em.

This is a pretty trivial thing to do if you have a sound capture card (or line-in on your computer).
But, if you’ve never do this before, it’s probably best to find a friend or colleague to help you.

Yeah, but with such a short timeframe and critical issue, I’d rather pay someone to get it right the first time then spend time dicking around trying to figure out how to do it myself and maybe get it maybe not. It’s not THAT expensive. YMMV, of course.

The Radio Shack web site says that the Radio Shack at 6170 N Lincoln has the following in stock:
ION Audio iTR04 Tape Express
Never believe the Radio Shack web site. Call and ask before making a special trip.
And, yes, it’s overpriced, but you need it today.

Theoretically, you should be able to take any cassette player that has a headphone-out jack, plug in a male-male cable, and attach the other end to the microphone-in jack on your computer and use free software such as Audacity to capture the sound.

But the problem is that it’s after 5:00 pm in Chicago and you may not find very many media duplicating studios open today.

True enough.

I shoulda known RS would have a gadget. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s not very high tech but most smartphones have decent built in microphone and dictation recording applets. If you just need an audio copy of the conversation you could play the audio from the cassette player and let the smartphone record it. If you do it in a quiet environment and make sure the devices are close enough and the levels are adjusted correctly by doing a test run this should suffice. The audio file created can be saved or emailed as necessary.

Thanks guys - I am home now, and the boom box only has a headphone jack, and why on Earth would I have that kind of cable? My computer repair joint will do it in a pinch, and they are open until 8 pm, but I’d rather not have to schlep there and back (probably half an hour each way). So I will take both cassette players into the bathroom and try the seriously low-tech route, and then the smartphone route, and see how it goes.

Why do (@%@( attorneys never think about these things until the last minute? I’m sure she didn’t just receive the cassette today.

You are a genius - I am playing it back on my smartphone right now and have e-mailed it to the attorney. I think it actually sounds clearer than the original recording.