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Reel to reel

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by flyswatter, Feb 12, 2007.

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  1. flyswatter

    flyswatter Thread Starter

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    Need some help please> Is there a way to transfer music on reel to reel to the hard drive of a computer? Then after converting the *.wav file to *.mp3, burn it to a CD. I tried connecting the ouput of the reel to reel directly to the line in of the sound card and could not hear any music.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    You may need a preamp, depending on the characteristics of the tape drive. Audacity will solve the issues with software.
     
  3. robomatic

    robomatic

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    I've converted High Fidelity pre-recorded R to R tapes to digital CD. In my case I purchased an adaptor cord that went from the RCA output jacks of the tape recorder to the skinny stereo jack input of the 'line-in' on my music card. I used the Reel To Reel recorder controls to balance the stereo and maximize the signal to noise. I utilized CoolEdit as my incoming music capture software.

    In my experience, a pre-amp has only been necessary for amplifying the output of record turntables.

    I selected 44100 Hz stereo for incoming conversion which gave me music files roughly the size of 1 GB per hour of music. If I wanted to create a CD, I did not first convert the music to mp3, which is a lossy format. I broke the large wave files into smaller files, still using my music editer (cooledit). Then I used recording software which accepted the wave files as input and converted them to the necessary format to make audio CDs.

    I have converted some of my recordings to mp3s for portable players using iTUNES.
     
  4. roupcat

    roupcat

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    I want to do this too. Would I use the speaker output jacks on the reel-to-reel recorder ?
    Can I use the output of a cassette deck also ?
     
  5. robomatic

    robomatic

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    short answer yes, most reel to reel machines have RCA output jacks and that's what to use. There is either a volume control for each channel or a single volume control and a balance control. You want to have a good quality adaptor cord or cords taking you from dual rca out to single stereo mini jack for the line-in port of your computer. You need some kind of computer software for digitizing this signal.

    Reel to reel and cassette tape decks put out the same kind of signal on the same kind of jacks. (Phonograph outputs typically need some kind of preamplifier before they can be fed to the computer line-input jack).

    Start with your digitizer running and your volume control way down, then bring up the volume so that you are getting your maximum signal at the loudest portion of the performance, thus maximizing your signal to noise ratio. You may have to play the tape through one time in order to locate this loudest point.
     
  6. roupcat

    roupcat

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    Thanks for the reply. The output from the stereo reel-to-reel is for extra speakers which is high output. The output from the cassette deck is the same as the turntable ( low ) because they can be plugged in either way to the receiver. This is what has me confused.
    I also have a monoral reel-to-reel ( some tapes are monoral ) which I think would require the output to be split to each stereo channel. One last question, could I use the headphone output from a boombox to the audio in on the puter for recording?
     
  7. MysticEyes

    MysticEyes Banned

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    That's not quite correct. The cassette player outputs a standard line level signal, the turntable (most I've seen) does not, hence the need for a pre-amp or a receiver that has 'Phono' inputs.
     
  8. robomatic

    robomatic

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    Most amplifiers have special inputs for the phono jacks, even if they all appear to be RCA. Thus a cassette deck or a reel to reel deck are outputting the same signal range voltage. Phonographs output a different level. If indeed your cassette deck is outputting in the same range as a turntable, it's a new one on me.

    As for monophonic tape recorder, it still goes to the computer line-in, where if you are using a stereo (2-channel) mini jack, the computer won't know the difference, i.e. that the signal is monophonic. You can select 'monophonic' on the software, which allows the program to avoid wasting memory on 2 channels when one will suffice. If you are using a monophonic jack into the line-in, the program still thinks it's getting two streams, so you have to select 'monophonic' on the software anyway. It's just that the actual sound may be different depending on the jack you are using, and you may have a preference.

    As for using a boombox with a headphone jack, you can output that straight to your computer line-in jack, but start with the volume set very low, than increase it until you are just maxing out your bandwidth at the loudest portion of the tape. Remember that setting, as possibly a lot of your cassettes will be similarly biased.
     
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