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I have quite a few cassette tapes with recorded music. I...

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Question by Pearlhouse
Submitted on 10/20/2003
Related FAQ: FAQ: rec.audio.* Retail 7/07 (part 9 of 13)
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I have quite a few cassette tapes with recorded music.  I would like to convert these tapes to my computer in mp3's or wave files so I may then burn them to discs.  I can play the tapes into my sound card and record them as wave files but I'm not sure if I should be using mp3 files instead of wave files. Most music I get off the web comes in mp3 format, so I am thinking this might be the correct format to use.  Does one of these formats compress the file so it takes up less space on my hard drive? Is quality better with one or the other?  My sound card software recorder will only take them in as wave files. Also is there an easy way to break up the tapes into "separate" songs so I can name them individually. These tapes are all recorded with the 4 second interval between each song. Is there some type of software out there that might do all this easily for me?

Answer by KingsGambit
Submitted on 10/28/2003
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Hi PearlHouse, very good questions you've asked, and many you've answered for yourself already. :)
You already know how to "capture" the music from tape to your hard drive (capturing is the term used for the actual recording of the analogue signal), and so you now have wave files on your hard drive. What you do with them now is up to you, and there is plenty of software to help. I use a program called "Groove Mechanic" which not only lets you capture the audio, but also clean it up, by removing any hiss and crackle from the original recording. It doesn't automatically seperate tracks for you, but it's easy to do this manually. You start playing a few seconds before the end of one track, and when it goes silent, before the next track starts, you place a "mark" at that point. Then you can extract the individual tracks between marks, again into wave format.
Whether or not you compress the files is your choice again, with advantages and disadvantages for and against. If you compress you invariably lose some data, some of the quality, but then if you started with a tape recording this isn't a big problem. The space saved by compressing into mp3 or ogg format for example, is a very significant amount. Once you've burned the wave files to CD as an audio disc anyway, you have a copy in the original quality anyway, so you can keep the compressed files on your hard drive simply for your own convenience. :)


Answer by mlewis73165
Submitted on 4/4/2004
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I do this all the time with a software you can download from http://www.acoustica.com .  The name of the software is Acoustica Audio Mixer.  You can play one side of each cassette as a single wave file, then split the tracks into separate wave files.  After splitting, I use WaveClean to remove the tape hiss and RealAudio Player to equalize and burn the songs.  Hope this helps.


Answer by markatess
Submitted on 6/10/2005
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You can use the Plus Deck 2 to convert Audio Cassettes to MP3 and wave files.  Plus Deck 2 connects to your computer and transfers side A and Side B at the same time.  This company sells them.


Answer by Dave
Submitted on 2/11/2006
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I too have a lot of audio on cassette(s).  I am converting them using Toast 7.  It's very easy, but has to be done in real time ( no high-speed dubbing) so I just run a walkman into my Powerbook and work it via the on-screen controls.  The results have been very good.  What a savings over having to go buy those same audio programs again CD!  And of course, some stuff we have on cassette is no longer available anywhere.  Good luck!


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