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How to copy cassettes to computer? Any tips?


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charlie6067 charlie6067 is offline
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18-Nov-2004, 12:53 AM #1
How to copy cassettes to computer? Any tips?
I have very old cassettes with relatives' voice and some music recorded 20 years ago that I'd like to transfer to computer to burn onto CD before tapes are too bad to play. Sound was recorded with low price equipment years ago so I'm not expecting stereo quality, just keep for historical value to me. I've been warned that 1 minute of tape = 10 MB of space on a CD.

The RCA radio jacks on my stereo are for incoming signal only. I ran a patch tonight from the headphone jack into the Line In jack on my sound card but still can't hear or receive any signal to record.

What am I doing wrong or what do I need to purchase to transfer the tapes to the computer. New sound card? XP came with Creative Recorded and Wave Studio but neither registers any incoming signal. Local company will transfer tapes to CDs at $30 a tape but I can't spend that much on a large number of tapes.

Many thanks,
Charlie
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18-Nov-2004, 01:54 AM #2
Your patch cable should work. Open the volume control and make sure the line in setting is not muted. Open the creative recorder and choose line in for the source. It kind of goes without saying, but make sure the signal is actually coming out of the headphone jack on the stereo. Some of those older stereos need to have the speakers off before it sends a signal to the headphones, or there is a switch to activate the headphones.
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18-Nov-2004, 03:41 AM #3
This may be obvious, but when checking your 'Line in' settings, be aware that you can select two sets of audio controls, playback and recording.
Your software probably records in .WAV format, hence the 1 minute = 10MB. If you compress the .wav to .mp3 or .wmv, you'll get about 1MB/minute without losing quality.
For a recording alternative you may want to consider audacity (freeware, http://audacity.sourceforge.net) and for compressing CDEx (http://www.cdex.n3.net) is a good choice.
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18-Nov-2004, 07:15 AM #4
i've done exactly what you want to do with nothing more than a straight through cable with a headphone jack at each end (available from any audio store) and a cassette walkman. quality was fine, and I just recorded it with the soundblaster software and then shopped it into tracks, before burnign to CD.

it takes a little bit of trial and error to get your volume levels right, but the results are quite respectable.
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19-Nov-2004, 12:54 AM #5
Thank you all for your suggestions.

Vibe - you give me hope not to give up on this. I verified that the headphone jack is putting out a signal but still can not get a signal into the line in jack that is picked up by the computer. When I play a wav file in the Media Player, the sound bars on the Creative recorder dance to the music. When I switch to line in on the recorder and the stereo is on and connected by a patch cord, the sound bars are dead. I'm now wondering if it's the sound card and maybe replacing that will solve the problem? I connected 3 different microphones to the microphone jack and could not hear/record my voice. Had to replace the modem a while back due to a lightening strike. Maybe it got part of the sound card?

Thanks again,
Charlie
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19-Nov-2004, 05:33 AM #6
possibly. it might well just be a setting in the recored though. you may need to check that it is set top record from the line in, or mic option, but as I don't have the software, I can't say for sure.

it was a lot easier for me because my line in is reguarly used to carry sound from my TV card in my PC to the sound card, but I remember initially having trouble setting everything up.

make sure when you double click on your speaker icon by the clock in properties that you have 'adjust volume for recording selected, and that your 'line in' option in those settings is ticked. then click okay, make sure that the mute box isn't ticked, and that the volume for it AND your main volume is at about 85-90% and try again. if you are playing something into your line in then you should automatically hear it come out of the PC speakers. If not, check your connections and make sure you really do have the cable into the line in (try some of the others maybe, just to be sure).

failing that, assuming that you're sure that the recorder is set to record from the line in you may want to try another sound card, maybe see if you can borrow one off a friend to test.
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19-Nov-2004, 11:21 AM #7
Also make sure that you are using a stereo jack into the line-in. I was trying to record some old mono disks and thought a mono jack would be OK but nothing happened until I switched to a stereo jack!
I also use the free Audacity recording software from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

johnni
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19-Nov-2004, 01:49 PM #8
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19-Nov-2004, 01:50 PM #9
You may be able to find a old/cheap car stereo that'll fit in a 5.25 drive.
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20-Nov-2004, 02:23 AM #10
How would one go about conecting a car stereo? It sounds kinda cool.
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21-Nov-2004, 01:01 PM #11
Just use the yellow and the black wire from a spare molex power connector to give you 12v to power the stereo. You'll also need a power supply that can handle the additional amperage on the rail. Connect the speaker out to a stereo pin connector to the CD input on your soundcard useing a spare CDrom-to-soundcard audio cable.

You can attach a automotive cigarrette lighter or almost any other automotive accessory in a similar fashion. I have a cigarrette lighter on a 5.25 faceplate on a shelf here. It's not hooked up at the moment.
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22-Nov-2004, 08:51 AM #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotrootdude
now that's a retro-cool piece of kit!

shame about the price.

I'd have gone to $50-60 for it, but that's about it.
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