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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Convert Your Old Cassette Tapes to MP3 and CD - A How-To Guide

Have you ever wanted to dust off your old collection of cassette tapes and transfer them all over to CD before the tape gets damaged, or just to be able to play them on your new stereo which no longer has a slot for tapes? No, me neither. However, if this sounds like something you would like or need to do, please read on – it’s easier than you might think!

The items you will need are relatively easy to get hold of and more importantly, they should be fairly inexpensive. Good news all round then.

Cassette Walkmans aren’t really sold in shops these days so Amazon or eBay will likely be your best bet. As of writing this article you can pick one up for around £15.

Next on the list is a male to male 3.5mm jack lead. This will be used to connect your Walkman to your computer. Your local electronics store should stock them but these can sometimes be a little pricey due to being a premium brand. If you fancy a cheaper alternative, try Amazon. They work just as well for a fraction of the price.
The Items You Will Need

You will need some kind of audio recording software for your computer and a free one is all you will ever need for this task. I recommend the popular Audacity due to its straightforward layout and simple to use controls. Did I mention it’s free?

A spindle of blank CDs to burn your cassette recordings onto and a marker pen for labelling is next on the list.

Finally you will of course need a CD burner. Most PCs or laptops will come with one as standard but in case it didn’t, buying an external one and connecting it via USB is cheap and easy to do. I bought mine locally for around £20.

Connecting Your Devices
Setting up your equipment and recording your cassettes is very straightforward. First plug one end of your 3.5mm cable into the headphone jack on your Walkman and connect the other end to your microphone jack on the rear of your computer. This is how you get the cassettes to play on your computer.

Next you need to bring up the sound menu. Do a search in windows for sound and this will bring it up. Click recording, then double click microphone and click on the listen tab. If you tick the box that says listen to this device and apply the setting, you will be able to hear the audio being played from the Walkman you connected earlier. This is useful because you can adjust the volume on the Walkman to make sure the sound is good when you start recording.
Bringing Up The Sound Menu
Bringing Up The Sound Menu

I will base this next stage on the Audacity recording software but if you are using a different program to record, the process will be the same just with a different user interface. Open up your preferred software and you will get something like this:
Audacity User Interface

To record your audio simply hit the record button on your software and start playing your cassette tape. However long the recording is on the cassette is how long it will take to record, so bare that in mind when you start.

When the recording has been completed you will need to export your new audio track. Click file at the top left of your program and select export audio. You can now name your new file and choose where you want to save it.
Export Your Recording










For the final step you will need to use a program such as iTunes, Windows Media Player or similar music playing software. Create a relevant playlist and add the track you exported from the recording earlier. Left clicking the playlist brings up a menu - choose burn playlist to disc.
Burning Your Disc

Burning Your Disc










After a short amount of time the disc will be complete. Don’t forget to label your disc and slip it into a protective case! 



Congratulations! You have successfully converted your first cassette tape. Told you it was easy.


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