Tranfering LP/Cassette to CD

My girlfriend uncovered a ton of her old cassettes and a few LPs. Where would I go to get these transferred to a CD so she can play them in the car. Just so you know, I could probably do it myself with a record player, cassette deck, and cables but it’s worth a few bucks to me to have a pro do it.

-Saint Cad

Unless these are private recordings it might make a lot more sense to simply DL the songs from iTunes at .99 a pop and burn CD from them vs taking a (comparatively) crappy sounding tape to make a crappy CD + the expense and effort involved in the conversion.

If you want a simple process all you really need to do is to take the “line out” feed from your receiver to the “line in” jack of your soundcard. A simple cable from Radio Shack is usually all that is necessary for this. All you need at that point is a simple sound recording app that will capture the tape input as it plays. There are dozens out there that will do this and there may even be freeware versions.

I recommend the Crosley Songwriter.

Try Audacity, a neat little sound editor. It’s available for download here. It’s free.

You can also try Adobe Audition, which has a free 30-day trial period, but it’s a little much for the casual user. I’ve used it to convert cassettes and vinyl and the results are pretty good.


Thanks for the help. The problem with the download idea is that some of these LP/cassettes are obscure and are
a) not available on CD
b) not available as MP3
for example, no one has The Fabulous Krush’s Misty as an MP3 (not even iTunes)

As for doing it myself over on the computer, I could do it myself (and I may have to), but are there any ideas for a place I could go that would do it for me? General ideas would be good, but a specific place around Los Angeles would be fantastic.

-Saint Cad

a pro wont do it for “a few bucks”. It takes a lot of time, and costs a lot.

I did it with the a couple of freeware programs --one called Audiograbber, and the Audacity program mentioned by MsRobyn, and got good enough results for me. But to do it well takes a LOT of time–you basically have to sit alongside your cassette player while it plays each song into the sound card.
My problem was keeping the songs organized, with each song given the right file name. I was recording from my old cassettes that I had recorded from vinyl records, and the gaps between the songs were not standard.
The program can be set to recognize silence as breaks between songs, and then create a separate mp3 file for each song, and give it the name that you perpared in advance from a list. But sometimes it would get confused, and connect two songs into one file, because there wasn’t a long enough gap of silence on the tape.

But it is still worth doing…the songs bring back memories. …

Any recording studio should be able to do it, but it’ll cost you. It’s vastly cheaper to just pay the couple bucks for the cable from Radio Shack. You might also post to Craig’s List to find someone who’s got the setup to do it.


I can tell you from personal experience, it is a time intensive process.
You need a turntable, a pre-amp and an RCA to USB cable, and a conversion app.
I used an iMac™ and iMic™ in SpinDoctor™.

The LPs must be input to your computer in real time. Then you have to do sound clean up, and conversion, which takes, maybe, 20 minutes. Each LP runs about an hour, give or take. Two LPs (generally) to one CD. So, you invest nearly three hours for each CD.

I don’t know how much a sound tech makes per hour, but I’m guessing it’s more than minimum wage.

Sorry I don’t have time to post/search but…

I completely understand your reluctance to the time commitment. Just doing the math for a relatively small collection shows the year-long process to make a dent. Anyway…

Within the past year, news had one of their filler items about a company that specializes in what you’re (we’re, actually) looking to do. By streamlining their setup and focusing on that, they are able to take a massive collection of CDs or LPs and burn them down. Of course it’s for a fee, but their business model worked because it wasn’t an exorbitant one. Again, sorry for the micro-post, but the information is out there somewhere, as are the services your looking for.

If I were to do it, it’d cost around $20 an hour or so, and the equipment is owned outright.


There are devices like this, but I am told the sound quality of the CDs you create is less than wonderful.

Found what I was thinking of. It was an article from January, 2004, and mentioned a company called Rip Digital. Unfortunately, it dealt with CD - MP3 conversion, not LP/tape. Good luck.

If you have enough rare LPs to justify the expense vs buying clean copies from iTunes or even buying the albums on CD from your favorite used record store and ripping those, you can buy a USB turntable. These things do the digitizing so you can use something like Audacity or Garage Band to record MP3s. Prices are in the $150 - 200 range, and you can find them at places like Circuit City and Amazon.

These devices can also be used as a traditional turntable as most of them have line-level outputs that you can plug into pretty much any stereo system.

I’ve got the same problem. Not lps, but some cassette tapes that are unavailable now - some Dylan bootlegs with songs not on the official bootlegs, and some rare items recorded from WBCN 35 years ago. My laptop’s sound card does not have an external input port, so that solution won’t work. I’ve got an old machine, but it is way too slow and doesn’t have enough disk to be useful.

I found this which looks to be only $50, and sould seem to fill the bill. I haven’t tried it, but I haven’t found any negative comments so far. This on the other hand, got a whole bunch of very negative reviews.

Ive used Magix audio cleaning lab with generally good results and you can pick up copies on amazon or ebay for 8$ or so. It comes with the cables and burning software and plugs straight into the turntable. It has had the odd negative review I note