Convert Audio Cassette Tapes to MP3 files or CD

Audio cassette tapes, once the primary audio storage medium, are now disappearing quickly from the music store shelves to be replaced with Audio CDs. If you still own a pile of audio cassettes, now is the perfect time to convert them to MP3 files or Windows Media Audio before they’re gone forever.

Digitizing analog tapes essentially involves playing the tape on the taperecorder deck, capturing the audio on your computer and finally converting the .wav files to mp3 or wma formats using software like LAMP MP3 encoder or Adobe Audition. The audio cable is connected to the line-in jack on your PC’s sound card.

Now there are various options to transfer your audio tapes to CD depending on your OS platform and budget. Let’s look at expert opinion on the web:

Using MusicMatch – Connect the to your sound card’s line-in terminal with a 1/8″ mini-jack and record the contents of your tape as a WAV file. Just set MusicMatch to record the line-in channel, press play on your tape deck, and then press the record button on the MusicMatch Jukebox.

Tips for better recordings – If your tape of a favorite live concert begins with a few minutes of audience murmuring, delete it. If you’ve recorded multiple songs, split your single recording into separate files. That way, you can make each song or section a separate track on an audio CD or on your iPod. Some software can detect silence between songs and divide them for you.

Using Audacity on Mac – Audio I/O: Recording should be set for 2 channels (stereo) and both the playback and recording devices set at Built in audio controller. Audio CDs sample sound 44,100 times per second. The standard sample format (number of digits in the digital representation of each sample) is 16-bit. Audacity’s defaults are a 44 KHz sample rate, but 32-bit sample format.

Using External Audio Capture Device – Consider using an external audio-capture device such as the plug-and-play USB M-Audio Transit instead of your sound card; it will record a much cleaner signal.

Remember to set your audio software’s volume controls according to the loudness of your tape or record. Proper volume is vital to getting good sound. Set the levels too low, and your audio will be too soft and prone to noise. Set levels too high, and loud portions of the recording will sound horribly distorted.