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Old 06-18-2009, 03:47 PM
Location: Tulsa, OK
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I have about 200 background tracks, on cassette, that I want to transfer to CDs. I have computers with CD burners and sound cards. I also have several choices in cassette decks and enough cords to connect anything to anything. Do I need additional equip to convert analog signal to digital? Thanks for your help.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:15 PM
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There are devices that I've seen on Tigerdirect, which sits in your computers 5.25" front bay, that takes cassettes in, with a front loading slot, like car stereos did - and most likely comes with the software you need to convert it to digital formats.
I'm sure one of the following posters will give you an exact link to it.
Short of that, you could use a program like Sound Forge to master the digitized track. Hope that helps.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:20 PM
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If you have a sound card it will have a MIC/AUX jack, assuming the deck/receiver has RCA outputs which are the most common you can run that directly to RCA to mini plug adapter which you can pick up at just about any electronics store for about $5. As long as you have a way toconncet the deck to the mic jack that's all you really need.

Audacity can be used to record to whatever format you want. If you have the space use WAV or FLAC with are uncompressed but make really large files. If you need to conserve space use a high bitrate MP3. For most people a high bitrate MP3 of 320kbps is more than adequate.

This method should be "good enough" and since it's only going to cost you $5 at most no sense not giving it try.

The decks the previous poster mentioned (at least the good ones) take the analog transmission over the RCA cables to the mic jack on your computer out of the loop and can create a better quality file. They directly convert the audio to a digital stream. As I said most people will find the previous method more than adequate, these decks for most people are really unnecessary expense unless your audiophile and looking to get the utmost quality out of the conversion.

Last edited by thecoalman; 06-18-2009 at 07:30 PM..
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:27 PM
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I agree with the coalman. You don't need any special equipment, as long as you can connect your cassette player output to the 1/8 inch stereo jack for your sound card. Your sound card will convert the analog audio signal to digital. How well it does this depends on the card. The range of frequency response of most sound cards isn't all that great, and the last time I looked into this (trying to set up a computer for a home recording studio) I found you had to pay quite a bit to get a sound card that was much better in that department.

As you try to do this, you will want to play around a little bit with levels. I assume you can't change the output level from the cassette deck, so you need to adjust the input level from your sound card so that the signal doesn't come in too high, which will cause distortion, or too low, which will leave your digital files with some hiss. If you ever recorded an album to cassette, you probably adjusted the input level, and this is pretty much the same thing.

I'm not sure if your sound card and operating system works the same way as mine, but this is how I would do it. If you use Vista, you can right-click on the volume icon, and select "Recording Devices." This will bring up a list of all the devices that can be the source of an audio signal. On my laptop I have two - a front mic, and the microphone input. I highlight the microphone and select "properties." This brings up a dialog box that has tabs for "levels," "enhancements" and "advanced." I go to levels and turn down the microphone boost all the way, then adjust the mic level. If you do this while the cassette is plugged in and playing, and Audacity is open, you can adjust the level this way so that it's just right. If I wanted to, I could go to "advanced" in the mic properties to adjust the sample and bit rate. My default is good enough for CDs, so I don't mess with that. If you have XP, you can also adjust the audio properties for playback and recording, which lets you adjust the mic volume slider to the right level.

Sorry this was long, but I hope it was a little helpful.
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