Best way to transfer cassettes to CDs?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dustin D, Aug 21, 2002.

  1. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got some cassettes and I really want to put them on CD, since I have an awful history with stereos eating cassette tapes. How should I do this? My computer doesn't have a sound card (only a microphone in and speaker out) and I don't have any other CD writers. Is there something cheap I can buy at Best Buy that will allow me to do this? The service I found online was far too expensive (I could buy 8 other copies for its price).

    Thanks!

    Dustin
     
  2. Steven K

    Steven K Supporting Actor

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    Dustin, my advice is this: dont worry about spending money on this right now. Instead, go out and get a cheap computer that has a sound card first! [​IMG] Even if it's only a Pentium or Pentium II, it will probably be alot better than what you have now. Chances are your comptuer is around 8-10 years old if it doesnt have a sound card.
    OK, once you do that, you'll also need a CD burner (CD-RW drive) and some audio editing software (although you can do this in Windows sound recorder, I do not recommend it. Check out "Cool Edit" or "Total Recorder." You will need to run the analog output from your tape deck to the line-in on your sound card... then, simply start your recording software and start your tape deck.
     
  3. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, evidently I should have been more specific about my computer. It's a Celeron 667, but the sound is onboard, there's no card. And there's only three card slots, so there's not enough room for me to add to it. And I have a CD-RW already. My main point of consternation is not having a tape deck with analog output. And even if I get that, I'm not sure if I'll be able to record off of it through my microphone port from another tape deck.

    Thanks

    Dustin
     
  4. DougRogers

    DougRogers Stunt Coordinator

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    My roommate and I did this in college with sub par results. However, it was a Kid Rock concert (don't laugh please) so I couldn't get it on CD. My advice, if you can get them on CD is to just buy the CD you will be much happier. If you insist on doing this, your tape deck will need analog out plugs or a headphone out. We didn't use the headphone out we had a nice Sony tape deck and went from the analog outs to a mini plug to the line in on the sound card. I suppose you could use the mic in not real sure. You will also need some kind of audio software as mentioned above. Cool Edit is good but we used Sound Forge I think. Anyway hit play on the deck and record in the software and start recording. That will give you one big .wav file. Or you can stop at the end of each song to save some steps if you want to sit there the whole time. Then split up the .wav files into songs and burn to a CD. It was a headache and I hope to never have to do it again.

    We got the RCA to mini plug cable at Radio Shack. If using headphone out to mic in you will need a cable with mini plugs on each end. None of the above advice is guaranteed but that is what we did to the best of my knowledge ( I have drank and slept a lot since then though ). Good luck.

    Doug

    Edit: I just realized you said that you didn't have analogs out. I would think headphone to mic would work. Try it and see.
     
  5. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, I think I'll give the headphone out thing a try. I wish I could get this on CD, but it wasn't possible. It's a collection of essays by Michael Thomas Ford read by the author, and I adore his writing. It's been wonderful hearing him reading his stories, and I would really like to have this in a more permanent form so I can listen to it a lot. It's not available on CD, so I had no choice but to buy the cassettes.

    After looking at prices for new equipment, I think I'll try it as you suggest and, if all else fails, I'll beg someone to borrow their equipment. I just do not anticipate having my friends dub a three-hour compilation entitled "My Queer Life" for me. Too much uncomfortableness.
     
  6. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I have been looking on the Radio Shack web site, and I'm completely lost. Could someone please direct me to a cable with phono plugs on both ends? I need it to link my headphone-out and microphone-in. Thanks!
     
  7. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    Here ya go: click me
    If you look at the
    Catalog Home - TV/Audio/Video - Audio - Cords & Cables
    category, you'll find a whole bunch of cables with a 1/8" stereo plug on both ends, various lengths.
    Andrej
     
  8. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    You want the "best way"? Here it is:
    Download Kazaa Lite. Do a search on Google, you'll find it. Then create an account and search for the MP3s. Download each track and burn it to a CD using any CD burner.
    Even though MP3 compression is lossy, it's still going to be a better quality than your old tapes. Make sure you listen to each song after you download it, as sometimes you end up with incomplete songs. If that happens, just download a larger (and thus, likely complete) file from someone else.
    Now, before anyone screams "PIRACY!", what I am advocating is perfectly legal despite what the recording industry would have you believe. When Dustin bought his tapes he bought the rights to listen to that music and transfer it to any medium he chooses. There is zero difference whether he actually transfers the tape to his computer himself or downloads it from someone else who already did the same thing. I've downloaded a number of albums off of Kazaa that I own on tape because the tapes are old, quality has degraded, and I didn't want to spend hours trying to get the transfer "just right".
     
  9. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  10. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, thanks everyone! I'm going to get that wire and try this very soon.

    Again, thanks!
     
  11. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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  12. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    They don't have analog outs when it's a 10-year old sony CD player/radio/tape player. It's more of a boombox.
     
  13. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    Ugh, I got it to work, but Sound Forge keeps on stopping the recording 2 minutes into it! It's because it's not registered. This is totally useless! It took so long to download for me (dial-up) and now I would have to stop the recording, splice 2 minute segments together, and do all of this 90 times or so (it's 3 hours total). Forget that! Does anyone have another program suggestion?
     
  14. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Dustin,

    Bummer. I did not know that Sound Forge's evaluation software was limited like this. Still, it's great software - you might consider buying the inexpensive version so you can get a full 3 hours of recording.

    Do you have a decent sized hard drive? Hope so. If not, you'll run out of space in a hurry. If you're recording at 44100Khz CD quality, stereo sound, you'll use about 10MB per minute of audio. That's ~1.8GB for three hours of recording. Make sure you have a few gigs free before starting.

     
  15. Scott Falkler

    Scott Falkler Second Unit

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    I could do this for you...
     
  16. Dustin D

    Dustin D Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm getting it to work, but it's a little static-y for my taste. Definitely listenable, but I wish I could cut down on the noise a little. I put the microphone volume level at maximum, but I don't know what level to set the player at.
     
  17. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  18. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    Buy TotalRecorder http://www.highcriteria.com/ for $12. It can be used for recording but not the advanced editing of SoundForge. If you have the MP3 codec (ahem...Radium...ahrm), it can save the recording compressed.
    For sound editing I use Syntrillium CoolEdit 2000 ($70). Another thing, you said you had a CDRW. With my CDRW I received a program called Nero Wave Editor that can record from analog source, and do simple cleanup.
    Be careful not to overload your MIC in (it is rated for lower voltage than line-level)
    ...Not to hijack your thread but I want to do the same thing (record old tapes to CDRW). I have the computer side figured out (TB Santa Cruz, TotalRecorder, CoolEdit, TDK CDRW & Nero) but I don't have a component tape deck. I have tape on a minisystem and walkman but these lack Dolby anything (NR, B, C, HX Pro, S). Do these matter for playback of tapes or only for recording? What say $150 tape deck would one recommend?
    thanks,
    sathyan
     
  19. Graeme Clark

    Graeme Clark Cinematographer

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    If you really want too, you can just use Sound Recorder which comes with windows. It's nothing at all fancy, but at least it'll get the wav files onto your computer, and then you could possibly use Sound Forge from there to edit it.
     
  20. Stefan A

    Stefan A Second Unit

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    What about an "over the air" recording? Just play it into the mic. I realize this may not give you best sound quality, but it's worth a try. No need for any other plugs. I have used the windows sound recorder with no problem.
     

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