Download and install LAME MP3 Encoder and Audacity, an open source audio client program that is basic but ideal for editing and recording cassette tapes without breaking the bank. Audacity and a link to the LAME MP3 Encoder can be found by following these links: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and http://lame.sourceforge.net/
Adjust the settings in Audacity to suit cassette tape recording. Open the application, go to the ‘Edit’ tab and select ‘Settings.’ Set ‘Channels’ to two and click on the ‘File Format’ tab to set Audacity so that it can be used with the LAME MP3 encoder. This is done by selecting ‘Search Library’ and searching for lame _enc.dll. Adjust the bit rate to 256 Kbps (kilobytes per second).
Connect your cassette player to the computer sound card. You can do this with a stereo RCA cable or patch cable that connects from your cassette player’s headphone jack to your computer’s sound card. One end of the cable should have a red and a white connector while the other end needs a headphone input. The red and white plugs go into the back of the cassette, connected to the jack marked ‘AV Output’. The headphone jack is located on the computer sound card. It plugs directly into the blue in-jack.
Start the cassette tape on the cassette player and open Audacity. You should hear sounds coming from the computer speakers. Make changes to the player’s input volume levels by clicking on the input level meter and clicking ‘Start Monitoring.’
Rewind your cassette to prepare it for recording. Click the ‘Record’ button and press ‘play’ to start recording. Let the program record the entire side of the tape, save all editing for later. This is easier than stopping the program after each song.
Edit the recording using the selection tool. Select the song you want and save them as MP3 files. Usually there is a segment of the recording as ‘flatlines’ between songs; use this to distinguish between where each song begins and each song ends.
Edit the song name and album information with a program such as Windows Media Player or iTunes.
Maybe you have stumbled across a selection of your favorite albums on cassette tape for cheap, or you just want to take your old collection and back it up digitally. Anyway, moving your cassette music collection to your computer is ideal and packed with benefits. Along with the ability to listen to your old cassettes on your iPod or MP3 player, you increase the life of your music library and protect it from the typical wear seen by many cassette tapes from the 80s and 90s.