How to transfer and convert your cassettes to CD, and the software you’ll need.
By following this guide you can easily achieve excellent results even using cheap and free software – maybe not quite the standards of the professionals, but reasonable never the less. Incidentally, this procedure would be the same should you want to transfer your reel to reel tapes.
The first thing to do is to connect your tape/cassette tape deck to your computer…..
For this you will need a stereo lead with phono plugs at one end (sometimes referred to as RCA plugs) to connect to the ‘Line Out’ of your cassette or tape deck, and a stereo 3.5mm Jack Plug on the other end to connect to the ‘Line In’ of your soundcard. It may be easier to get a lead with phono/RCA plugs on both ends as shown below. (A few sound cards use Phono Sockets so check this before you buy a lead)
The socket on your computer will probably be labeled ‘Line In.’
Sometimes jack sockets are colour coded and Blue should be the ‘Line In’. It may have a symbol next to the socket, or it more usefully will be labelled ‘Line In’. Some people use the microphone input, but this isn’t recommended as this input can easily be over-driven resulting in a badly distorted sound.
Rear View of a Typical ‘On Board’ Soundcard (below)
Now you are connected you will need some Software to Record your Cassette
There are quite a few to choose from, some are very good, some are awful! Here are my personal favourites for performance and ease of use.
In the market for a Cassette Deck? There is a comprehensive explanation about what to look out for, the terminology, and gives you some great advice should you be looking out for a use deck. See our article about Buying a cassette deck here
SPIN IT AGAIN by Acoustica
A dedicated Software Package that will Record, Restore and Burn and Print to CD
Screen Shots from Spin It Again Software
Restoration tools with Spin It Again software are very effective and very easy to use. A great bonus with Spin It Again is that you can load an audio file into spin it again and convert it to MP3, OGG or WMA formats and to any ‘quality’ (file size) you choose, so you can transfer your LP’s and Cassettes to your PC and convert them ready to use with your MP3 player or IPod.
Setting up the software is quite straight forward. ‘Spin It Again’ takes you through this process, plus it’s well explained in their ‘help’ files. You can burn your transferred audio file to CD in a format that will play both on your computer and a normal home CD player. The process is all included in the wizard and is very easy to do.
There is also a CD label printing option so if you want to make a professional looking as well as sounding CD, use this option too.
Very Impressive – More Information on Spin It Again
Record your old 78s and then just change the rate with a simple Recording Speed Adjustment drop down. No need to buy a record player that supports 78 rpm. Just record it a 45 rpm and use the adjustment.
Automatically look up album information and track times over the Internet.
Hear what you are recording! If you have a USB or other sound device that does not let you hear what it is recording, just click the Monitor checkbox and no more guessing!
Type in track information during recording! Waste even less time during recording. Even if you are a slow typer, you should be able to type faster than it takes to record an album. This results in more saved time! It also aids and helps in track detection!
Change the volume for each track!
Improved track detection for live recordings or hard to detect song transitions.