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Friday, September 18, 2009

Convert your Cassettes to CDs or onto your Computer for Cheap

Ok, anybody else out there like me who has boxes of cassettes (or records for that matter) who haven't listened to them in forever because they are so less convenient or maybe you no longer even have a tape deck? And you've gotten used to the convenience of skipping tracks etc.?

But you can't get rid of your good music from your childhood!

Have no fear, for about $8 and the cost of blank CDs, you can convert them.

1) You need a cassette player that has red and white audio out jacks. I looked at the few left in my house and none had them. So, I went to my thrift store, in the jumble of out of date electronic junk, I found a Sony stereo cassette deck, fancy stuff for back then, hi-speed dubbing, etc. But most importantly, red and white audio jacks. I got it for $5.

2) You need a "Y" Connector from Radio Shack. On one end is red and white audio jacks, at the other end is a 1/8" stereo plug (the kind that fits into your microphone jack). I got it for $7.49+tax

3)Dowload free software - Audacity

Now it's time to collect up all those cassettes and get all excited.

Here is someone's directions that proved useful for using the audacity software because after you open it, your eyes might glaze over like mine did. "How am I supposed to use this mumbo jumbo?"

1) Plug in your y connector from the player's audio out jacks into your line-in or microphone port.

2)Open Audacity and click Edit>Preferences> and then turn Device to Line-in or Microphone depending where you put the jack and change Mono to Stereo below that button if necessary. If you want to listen to the music as it goes through click the Playthrough button at the bottom of that same window.

3) Push the red dot record button on Audacity and push play on your cassette player and tada! It starts recording.

4)When the cassette clicks off, push stop on Audacity. Then you can export the entire side of the cassette to a file or if you want to separate songs, drag your mouse cursor over the part that constitutes a song to highlight it and then go to File>Export Selection as WAV and now you have a .wav file of your song which you can listen to on the computer or burn to a CD. Or if you are listening to it you could stop it each time.

Caution: These will not play in a regular CD player, but will play in the computer CD player. I read that it's possible to get them to play if you burn them on a CDR but since I only had CDRW I can't tell you if that's true.

5)If you want to convert them to an mp3 for your mp3 player (I don't have one, so can't vouch for this) then you could convert the wav to mp3. I use the free Switch to convert files.

A bit time consuming, yes, but you get to listen to your songs all over again and you don't have to pay for the album a second time. Now technically to be legal, you shouldn't sell your cassette in a garage sale or anything, only one person should own what was paid for once, so either store the cassettes as your back up copy or throw them away.

I got decent quality sound.


Amanda said...

We've done something similar but just used the headphone jack for the output. So if someone doesn't have the dual jacks on their tape player, that's always an option.

KC said...


I have TONS....of audio tapes...Was going to break down and buy one of them expensive converters..( as if I got that kind of money , but it was on my wish list)

Wishing the price was more affordable...HAHAHA

Alexandra said...

Brilliant! I have to repost this, thanks. :)