Like all analog formats, cassettes also deteriorate over time. In fact, it is likely that your already lost some fidelity. If you want to save these old mixtapes and home recordings, it's best to digitize them right away.
Fortunately, this is a simple process. You do not have to be a computer geek or audiophile to follow this simple guide. And you should not spend more than $ 25 on this project (it will probably cost even less).
You have two options
If you want to digitize your cassettes, the process is much easier than it is for VHS tapes. You do not have to know much about computers or cassette decks. Just follow a few simple instructions and you'll get the job done right.
There are two ways to accomplish this. One is relatively simple and gives high-quality results, while the other is more time-consuming (but not necessarily difficult) and gives higher-quality results:
- USB Cassette Converter : The cheapest and easiest way to convert digital files to tapes , Simply connect the converter to your computer and the associated software will do the job. Note that the audio quality does not match that of a more expensive tape recorder.
- Digitizing from an old tape deck : If you have a tape deck and your computer has an audio input (a microphone port or capture card), this option should be a breeze. It also offers better sound quality than a USB cassette converter ̵
Remember that these bands are old and spirited. They do not sound as good as CDs and will always produce a bit hiss. These processes can not work miracles. We just save shots before the slow decay and the annoyance of analog bands.
Using a USB Cassette Converter
USB Cassette Converters are the easiest way to digitize your tapes, especially if you do not want to deal with unfamiliar software or computer cables.
This is a simple process , Let's keep things short and sweet with a nice list:  Buy a Converter : The first step is to buy a USB cassette converter, we recommend either the reshow that stores in iTunes, or the Dansrueus, converts recordings into raw MP3 files.
And that's all! Keep your USB Cassette Converter handy and offer it to friends who need to digitize their old cassettes.
If your USB Cassette Converter does not contain any software or instructions, it should not cause stress. Download Audacity and continue to "Setting Up Audacity" in this article.
Setting Up a Digitalization Tape Drive
If you want to get the best possible audio quality from digitizing, you need a tape deck. If you do not have one, you have to buy or borrow one. You can find working cassette decks on eBay, Letgo or Craigslist, or buy a new one from Amazon. If you find this cumbersome, you can always use a USB cassette converter.
If you have your tape deck ready, follow these steps to set it up on your computer. While this process is time consuming, it is relatively straightforward and worthwhile:
- Make sure the tape deck works. : Play a cassette that does not interest you. Watch for common problems such as excessive noise, strange playback speeds, or wow and flutter (warbling noises). If you notice that one of them (or your tape is devoured), get yourself a new tape device.
- Download Audacity : This free Bare Bones audio editor is easy to use. It is also great for analog-to-digital audio conversion.
- Adjusting Tape Preload and Type : Each of your tapes should have High Bias or Normal Bias Set to the respective tape. Also do this if your deck has buttons for different tape types like metal or chrome. Some decks do not have bias controls – they may be automatic or just old. If you do not have a bias control, test a sample track to make sure you are satisfied with the audio quality.
- Connecting the tape deck to your computer : This way, your computer records and digitizes the audio. It's like connecting your tape deck to a speaker. Since every computer and every cassette deck is different, you may need to buy some cables:
- 3.5mm Microphone Input : You can use a 3.5mm cable from plug to plug to connect the 3.5mm headphone output of your tape deck to the microphone input on your computer (the blueness). If the headphone jack on your cassette deck is not 3.5mm, you can use a 3.5mm cinch cable.
- 1/4 inch to 3.5 mm : If your tape deck has a 1/4-inch headphone jack, you can use a 1/4-inch to 3.5-mm cable. Some cassette decks output audio through two separate 1/4-inch jacks. In this case, you will need a stereo 1/4-inch to 3.5-mm cable.
- Shooting Card : If your computer does not have a 3.5mm microphone input, you can connect a cheap audio device by plugging a capture card into the USB port to expand the microphone function.
Okay, you downloaded Audacity, your tape deck is connected to your computer and you're ready to go!
Well, you still need to set up Audacity, but do not worry – it only takes a second.
Set up Audacity
Open Audacity and locate the microphone icon in the menu bar. Click the drop-down menu next to the microphone icon and select your audio input. It should be listed as a "line in" device.
Play your audio cassette. If your tape deck has a built-in volume control, set it to about 75 percent (cheaper preamps can distort the volume at maximum volume). If there is no volume control, you can fine-tune the input volume in Audacity.
Locate the equalizer above in Audacity. It's an ad that shows if your recording is too loud (you may need to click on it to make it work). If the display occasionally flashes red or orange, your recording is too loud and distorted.
Set the Audacity input volume control (the microphone icon next to the plus "+" and minus "-" tables) to a sweetspot where the visualizer is green. A little yellow is okay, but all green is ideal. (If your tape deck has a volume control, you can adjust it instead of Audacity's volume control.)
<img class = "alignnone wp-image-19971 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https: / /www.reviewgeek.com/thumbcache/0/0/234bd4a5a8b937b273528480dfb85427/p/uploads/2019/08/xe9ccb89d-1.png.pagespeed.gp+jp+jw+pj+ws+js+rj+rp+rw+ri + cp + md.ic.PCQUkdFux2.jpg "alt =" Adjust Audacity's Volume Control Begin Digitizing
Recording and Organizing Your Tracks
We recommend that you record each tape as a whole without pausing and Let Audacity capture even when you turn the tape around, making it easier to break each song down into a single file, which also ensures that volume and quality do not vary from song to song
If you digitize other types of recording, you can follow the steps to "cut" tracks in omit other files.
When When you are ready to record, press the record button and record the entire tape. After recording both sides of the tape, press the space bar to exit.
Now we have to cut this huge file into separate songs. Press F1 to turn on the selection tool, and use the mouse to select the entire song. You should be able to see where each song begins and ends because there is a space between each big blue body of sound.
Otherwise, press the play button to see if a song starts or ends properly. If you want to zoom out, hold down the CTRL or Command key and "drag" your scroll wheel.
If your song is Pressing CTRL + ALT + I on your keyboard Press (Command + Option + I on a Mac). The selected section should now be displayed as a separate audio track.
Repeat the previous step for each title in the Giant file. The tracks do not look right (like stairs), but that's not a big deal. You can cut off excess audio by selecting it (F1) and pressing the DEL key on your keyboard. When done, you can erase the original Giant track by pressing the large X.
Press CTRL + SHIFT + L on your keyboard to save all tracks as individual song files. Audacity prompts you to name and number each track (do not skip this step) and select a location for the file. And done!
If you want to add album art to your songs, read the section on using a USB tape converter.
Conversion of tapes is simple, but can be time consuming. consuming. However, it pays off – especially for family shots, old mixtapes or the rare cassettes you have in your attic.
In rare shots, tons of them have been lost to date. If you have recordings of radio broadcasts, concerts (or other interesting things) at home, you can upload them to the Internet Archive for posterity.
If you're concerned about copyright, check the Internet Archive's Rights page to see if your digitized content is subject to fair or non-commercial use.