Audio programs and connections
Audacity is a free audio editing program available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/, select your operating system and download the file to your desktop. Open the file and install it on your computer.
If your tape recorder has only one headphone jack, connect the 1/8-inch cord from the jack to a microphone or line-in jack on your computer. If it has RCA connectors (red and white), connect the RCA cable from the tape recorder output to the computer cable or microphone jack.
Note! If you only have microphone input, there is a good chance that your cassettes will only be transferred in mono. But many line signals are stereo in nature.
Open your computer’s audio settings on your computer. Find the section for ‘Input’ and press ‘Play’ on your tape recorder with an input tape. Look at the input levels and select the one that has activity on the meters, either ‘Mic’ or ‘Line-in’. You should also hear sounds on the computer speakers when the correct input is selected.
Note! If sound does not come through, you may need to test other areas of the sound settings, such as muting and muting different input and output devices until sound or meter is active.
Record the cassette to your computer and create a CD
Open Audacity. In Preferences, select ‘Recording -> Device’, which input worked from step 3, and in ‘Recording -> Channels’, select ‘2 (Stereo)’ if possible. Press ‘OK’.
Finish the tape you want to record. Simultaneously press the ‘Record’ button in Audacity and ‘Play’ on the tape recorder. Allow the track to play all the way by pressing stop on both devices.
Go to ‘Export as WAV …’ in the Audacity ‘File’ menu, name the file, select an easily accessible file folder on the desktop and click ‘Save’. For a multi-track tape, after saving .WAV, click ‘File’ and then ‘New’ to create a new track. Then repeat steps 2 and 3 in this section until you have them all.
Open your CD creation software. Select ‘Create audio CD’ from the movie menu and find your recorded files. Arrange them in the order they were on the tape, insert the blank CD-R drive into the drive and press ‘Create CD’.
Tips and warnings
For the best sound quality, adjust the volume and play volume up and down until you find a balance with a small lift and distortion but still a strong sound level.
Having all your music in digital form is a great way to organize your collection, create CDs and enjoy it on an mp3 player. Converting your CDs to digital is as easy as inserting the CD and making a few clicks into a music program on your computer. However, if you have audio on cassette tape that you want on a CD, it may seem like a more daunting task. Fortunately, there are audio programs that make the process much easier.