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Converting audio cassettes to WAV

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Drew Dockery

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Posted May 07 2003 - 10:18 AM

I've seen plenty of threads on converting VHS to DVD, but nothing on capturing audio cassettes to WAV -> CD. The WAV to CD part I can do just fine, but I know nothing about the capturing. I just want to take a cassette deck, and capture through RCA inputs on a sound card. My current sound card doesn't have RCA inputs. Are these all about the same, or is there a big quality difference out there? What is the best program to capture? Is there an easy filter to eliminate the tape hiss?

Any answers, or just a good link would be appreciated.

Thanks for all of your help,

I'm going off the rails on a crazy train!

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted May 07 2003 - 11:20 AM

Just about every sound card has an input jack. Since it's a 1/8" mini jack you need some kind of adapter.

Posted Image

There's one of higher quality since it has shielding. Link.

Goldwave is a great program to record straight 44/16 WAVs. You can try MS Sound Recorder (Start > Programs > Accessories > Entertainment) but it only records up to 1 min IIRC.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   John Watson

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Posted May 07 2003 - 10:49 PM

As far as I can tell (and I've been asking questions on this for over a year), its not very easy to get music from a cassette onto CD.

The kind of questions I'm still bogged with : Should you find the correct adapters (and ensure they are stereo), how do you record the cassette deck content to the computer. Do you just press play on the cassette deck?. Do you have to select "save track" or something on your recording software? Can you hear this materiel as its being recorded to the computer?

How does Nero or any software see the result (as one long file?) How do you break it up into discrete songs, that as separate files you can then put in any order you want for burning onto a cd?

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted May 08 2003 - 01:08 AM

It's actually pretty straightforward. If you've only got a little bit of cassette material to convert, I don't know if you'll be interested in buying a program, but if you plan to do alot of this, I would recommend buying a program to encode the material.

I use Cool Edit Pro for the conversions I do. That's rather expensive (about $200 - $300), but they have a trimmed version called Cool Edit 2000 that sells for about $70. www.syntrillium.com
Check that one out. It's extremely easy to use.

Once you have your software, you just need a cassette deck with RCA outputs and really any soundcard will work. As long as it has a stereo mini (1/8") input on it. You can get a cable for that at Radio Shack for about $3 or $4. Just dual RCA on one side and stereo mini on the other.
Connect the two, then go into the Windows volume control by clicking the speaker icon in your taskbar. Click "options, properties" and check the "recording" button and click OK. The input you need will be labled "Line In" Make sure the checkbox is selected and run the volume slide up about 1/3 up. Click "options, properties" again and go back to "playback" and make sure the "line in" slide is up halfway or so so you can hear the tape material through your speakers.

You should be able to play a tape on the deck and hear it through your PC speakers now. If you can, then open Cool Edit (or whatever program you decide on) and open a new .wav session. Play your tape and click the record button on the program and you should see the recording progress in realtime.

As for saving it in tracks, you'll have to sit with it while it records and stop the recording between tracks. Save the wav as whatever, and start the process over for the next track.
When you get done, you're left with a folder full of wav files that you can then burn just like ripped CD tracks. Open your burning software, create a new Audio CD project and add the tracks to the project.

If you want to try some recording programs out, I would suggest something like www.download.com
You can get trial versions that will let you play with the program, but most stop short of letting you save the files as wavs. It'll give you a good idea of what's available though. Just run a search for "record wav" or "wav recorder" or something similar. The sort the results by user rating and you should have a good list to choose from.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Drew Dockery

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Posted May 08 2003 - 03:59 AM

So are all sound cards basically created equal for this? Obviously high quality isn't a concern since these are just tapes to begin with.

Also, on breaking up the tracks, another option is to record the whole thing as one long WAV, then break that into smaller tracks within the editor. I've had to do this on a few tracks I've downloaded and it's simple enough to do.
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train!

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Mike LS

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Posted May 08 2003 - 04:20 AM

They're not all equal by any means. I always used a pretty cheap, generic card for this and it always worked fine, but if it's something you do often, I just don't like those stereo mini jacks and plugs. It's fairly easy to wind up with a bad connection over time.

I recently got a Creative Audigy Platinum EX card with RCA inputs. I've noticed a big difference in the quality of the tracks now compared to the integrated or cheap cards. I have to do less clean up on the tracks. For some reason, the other cards seemed to introduce more hiss and noise than the original audio already had on it. Plus it's much easier with a card that has the connections in the front of the PC case or in a seperate rack altogether.
The difference isn't huge, but it is there.

Yes, you can also record an entire side of a tape at once. Just keep in mind the size of the file you'll wind up with. It may end up being a 250 - 300 mb file in the end and working with an audio file of that size, even to simply break it up, takes much more time than creating smaller files to begin with.
Most programs have to scan the file before it will open it, and the larger the file, the longer it takes to scan before opening.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted May 08 2003 - 07:33 AM

I highly recommend Cakewalk Pyro 2003 www.cakewalk.com for this process. You can record large WAVs and author CDs from either many small WAVs or large WAVs with track marks being defined in the CD-Write software.
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