Friday, 3 April 2009

Converting your old cassettes to MP3 files

If you are like me, you will have a collection of ancient records, cassetttes, CDs and now MP3 files.

A while back I decided it was high time to get all my audio recordings into one format, namely MP3.

OK, but how do you do that? That's a good question, but converting an analogue audio signal to a digital one isn't as difficult as I'd first thought.

What you need is:

  • a cassette recorder
  • a computer with a sound card
  • a cable to connect the cassette recorder to your sound card
  • a free program like Audacity which can be used to record and edit sound.
  • Plug the cable into the 'Line out' socket of your cassette recorder and stick the other end into the 'Line in' socket on your PC's sound card.

    Open Audacity and select the input type 'Line in'. This tells Audacity to record from the 'Line in' socket on the sound card. To do this, open the 'Edit' menu and then select 'Preferences'. A new screen appears - click on the "Device" selector to chose your input (in this case, soundcard) and change the "Channels" selector mono or stereo recording as appropraite.

    Next click on the red record button in Audacity and press the play button on your cassette recorder.

    After you have recorded the cassette or the tracks you wanted to record, press the yellow stop button on Audacity.

    Easy, wasn't it?

    Now all you have to do is convert your file to an MP3 format. To do that, go to the 'File' menu and select 'Export as MP3'.

    The MP3 file you have saved to your computer can also be converted to WAV file and burned to a CD.


    Anne Hodgson said...

    Dear John, this is really great. I've used Audacity for recording, but never tried to convert anything. I don't have a regular taprecorder anymore, but it should work with a walkman too, right?

    gail said...

    My listening center tapes are almost shot and the player itself has been replaced TOO often for some serious $ as it allows 6 kids to listen at once. I'd love to move all my tapes to mp3 and get the gadget for hooking the headphones up to the computer.