View Full Version : Transfering music from cassette tape to hard drive ?

the Flea
2005-05-25, 01:41 PM
As the title states how do you take music from a cassette tape and place it on the hard drive?

Simple question, let's hope it's a relatively simple answer

2005-05-25, 03:12 PM
The simplest answer I can think of is to go to Radio Shack and buy an IDE-RCA adaptor cable and plug your hard drive into the output of your tape player. :D

Since they don't make that, You need:

A computer capable of running something like Cool Edit Pro with a big enough HD to hold the length of the tape in WAV at 44.1kHz 16bit 2ch. You can find time conversions with Google, depending on the sample rate you plan to use.

Once you have the computer and software nailed down, you need a good audio card, though you can also use the built-on sound on a cheap motherboard if you wish. An example of a good sound card for capture might be an Echo Mia card. An example of a built-in sound option would be "AC97" or something like that.

The last thing you need is an audio cable with the correct plugs to match you tape machine and your audio card. If you use the on-board, you'll probably need an RCA to 1/8" male phone plug cable. If you use an Echo Mia, you'll probably need to buy their breakout pack or make your own cable since it's 1/4" phone (like a guitar cord plug) and it'a also a tip-ring-sleeve balanced connection - which you'll most likely be connecting to an unbalanced consumer type tape machine with RCA outs.

Get all that plugged together and double click the little silver speaker in your sys tray (next to the clock) and under "Recording", change the input to LINE IN or some such external channel. Set the level at 75%, start your audio program, play your tape and look for levels.

When you get levels to show up set them so you don't ever get above 100% on the meter (find the loudest parts of the tape) and record a few seconds. Play it back and see if it sounds right (no hum, loud hiss or buzz, etc).

Then capture away.

2005-05-25, 03:37 PM
^^^what he said

i'll add tho, its been my experience that unlike analog [where you can let yer levels hit up to -2db and -1db without clipping] with digital its best to have yer peaks hitting NO higher than -3db [and even maybe a little lower--say -4 or -5db]...again, thats just been my experience...

i would also recommend getting a hold of a higher-end cassette deck for transfering, as most consumer level decks will give undesirable results...just a recommendation tho...

the Flea
2005-05-25, 03:48 PM
Thanks to both of you for the excellent info, much appreciated :clap:

2005-05-25, 04:30 PM
^^ :thumbsup

How to record a show from cassette to your computer by Cryptic Tate..

First get yourself an old school pioneer or sony DUAL cassette deck (or reel to reel) that has auto reverse that can be set on two way only function.

Get a 6 foot RCA male to male pair (red and black tips) these are connected to a ¼ inch headphone jack that you will also need and to your tape deck unit.

Tape deck >> RCA OUT >> ¼ headphone style adaptor jack from radio shack >> computer (line in) or (mic in)..

Deciding line in or mic (I had this headache before!)

Line in should be used when available and mic should be used say on a laptop computer that does not have a line in.

If you open your volume control by double clicking it go to options>>properties>>click recording>> make sure the “line in” “microphone” and “stereo mixer” tabs are all checked at least.

You can only select one at a time so this will be trial and error on a desktop. Select “line in” on the soundcard there will be at least 3 holes for sound use.. choose the black one with the symbol “i” or at least it looks like that.. That will be “line in” have that selected in your volume control.

Next you will need a program for ripping and I use a free program I enjoy called “audacity”… http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Fire that up and click record.. while watching the wavelength you can adjust the sound level higher or lower using BOTH the master record control in volume properties and the Line in or MIC control in Audacity..

When you are finished you may highlight songs and “export selection” if you have time or “export” as wav files.. It is time consuming and lots of fun.

Sneak a recorder in a show or just ask for permission printing off your shared torrent page to show a musician or manager and get board access! Thanks and good luck

Any typos of lack of communication is due to lack of sleep! I hope this was helpful

EZT ID Tape_Trader

I really like this meat-and-potatoes tutorial that was posted many times on EZT. I have a couple things to add:

First, set Audacity up like this:
file > preferences > quality
http://img183.echo.cx/img183/6774/audacity16bit44100pref18db.th.gif (http://img183.echo.cx/my.php?image=audacity16bit44100pref18db.gif)

while we're in settings it is a good idea to set spectograms to show the higher frequencies:
file > preferences > spectrograms
http://img183.echo.cx/img183/7733/audacityspectralpref15hd.th.gif (http://img183.echo.cx/my.php?image=audacityspectralpref15hd.gif)

Now with a bit of trial and error you should be ready to record. Make sure the highest spikes don't clip (hit the top). Ideally you're looking for as strong a signal as possible before clipping.

after that you just trim blank tape at the edges and middle and cut the show up. you can cut on sector boundaries or even easier just encode with FLAC frontend with "align on sector boundaries" enabled. Then you name them, figerprint them, maybe even tag them and write the .txt file and put everything in a folder with the same name as you want on the torrent.

2005-05-31, 03:48 PM
or you can get one of these bad boys



2005-06-01, 12:14 PM
I happen to have a lot of experience in this area. I have transferred probably over 3000 tapes to various hard drives over the years. Two software packages that I would highly recommend are goldwave, www.goldwave.com, and sound forge. I would recommend getting sound forge if you can get your hands on it. You can eddit your audio files, and much more. Also you can get a noise reduction plug in that will remove tape his, and the like.

2005-06-01, 12:30 PM
just wanted to interject "use noise reduction with extreme caution. it takes some time to master. better no nr than bad nr."

2005-06-01, 12:49 PM
just wanted to interject "use noise reduction with extreme caution. it takes some time to master. better no nr than bad nr."


unless you have "engineer"-level knowlege...stay away from noise reduction