How To Digitize Your Old Cassette Tapes

Converting Analog Media to Digital Media

Playing cassette tape

You must have been tempted to sell your cassette tape collections to the lowest bidder or have given away some, since you are now using digital music medias. But, wait! Those Journey albums are gems and you can digitize them for your iPod or MP3 players. All you need is:

  • A cassette player.
  • A computer.
  • A line-in, line-out patch cord.
  • A program called Audacity. It can be downloaded to Windows, Mac, and Linux. Download it together with the LAME MP3 encoder (linked to Audacity download page).

Once installed, do some tweaking. Here:

  1. Go to Preferences (from the Edit menu) and put Channels to two.
  2. Staying in the same window, strike the File Formats tab and arrange Audacity for use with the LAME MP3 encoder.
  3. Hit the Find Library button. Then go to the folder on your hard drive containing the file lame_enc.dll.
  4. Choose 256Kbps bit rate for your recordings.
  5. Now insert the patch cord in the tape player’s headphone jack. Insert its other end in your PC’s sound card line in jack -- the one with the microphone label.
  6. Insert a cassette tape in your player and push play. You should be able to hear a sound coming from your PC's speakers.
  7. Check the input level meter and enable Start Monitoring. You will be able to see a live meter. You can then adjust the input volume via the slider.
  8. Push Record in Audacity and save the project as an MP3 (or any file format you prefer).

Voila! You have bridged the great divide between analog and digital worlds. Enjoy!

Greg Quimpo maintains blogs about fatherhood and animal welfare issues

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