Do you have this problem? Are you still holding on to loads of cassette tapes even though your cassette player may be broken or even MIA? I know I have quite a few stashed in boxes in my garage waiting for me to find a new tape player. That was until I was recently enlightened by a friend that there is an easy and practically free fix. Go digital! With the use of a really inexpensive cord that you might already have, a working tape player and a computer, you can now listen to all those tapes on your computer, ipod or anything else that can play audio, and get rid of those tapes!
This is part of my tape collection I was recently given… a set of Children’s Books on Tape with the accompanying read along books. It is the same set that I used when I was little. I remember going to bed listening to these tapes and their stories and wanted to share them with my kiddos, but then the tape player had an unfortunate accident. So I was excited to do this project. It is SUPER easy to do, it is a quiet project (you are not listening to every tape being transferred) and it is cheap. A perfect project for any budget!
And the end result is some fun reading time for the kids (cough) a perfect distraction for a few minutes, if needed!
Now I just need to borrow my favorite music tapes from my mom’s tape stash, so I can listen to those during the day… Hello, Wilson Phillips! Why buy when you already have it?=-)
What You Need:
- Male to Male Stereo Cable
- Cassette Player
- Computer with audio recording program or download audacity (a free program)
- Cassette tapes to transfer
**Despite the long steps this is a REALLY easy process.
Step 1: Locate your own or borrow from a friend a Male to Male Stereo Cable. You can purchase a cord for less than $2, if needed, but most likely you have one and just don’t know it. I borrowed mine from a friend and discovered later that I had one of my own the whole time. These cables have the exact same end like this picture below and aim for around 6 ft long for convenience, if you are going to purchase it.
Step 2: Make sure your cassette player is still friendly (won’t eat your tapes and still plays well) or borrow a working one from a friend or neighbor. Gather your tapes you would like to transfer to your computer, too, so you are all ready to go. It is a quick process once it starts rolling. Test the volume of your player with a tape in it. Adjust it so you have the right “texture” to the sound…some tape players when they get too loud get scratchy or static sounding. Once you find the right volume setting, you will be good to go for recording at that volume.
Step 3: Locate your audio software. If you don’t have your own on your computer, you can download a free and user friendly software called audacity.
Step 4: Now that you have all your supplies together you are ready to go. Take your stereo cord…
…and insert the ends into the headset jack on your cassette player and on your computer.
Step 5: Insert cassette tape into tape player and open your audio software. If your computer has a built in microphone, you will need to adjust it from it’s external mic to an internal mic (it’s a drop down menu on the main page with a microphone next to it. Easy fix!).
Step 6: Now the action. Push play on the cassette player and the record button on the audio software. You should be able to see the line moving up and down once the sound starts. Note: you will not be able to hear anything since the sound from the player is going to the headset jack to the computer, but know it is working fine if the line is moving on the recording.
Step 7: Now walk away and do whatever else you need to get done. Make sure to set a timer (or not) and come back later to stop it recording. I rarely had a recording last longer than 23 minutes a side. Sometimes I got side tracked a left it for over an hour, but that is okay because I just cut off the dead sound at the end and a little at the beginning (an easy highlight and press of the delete key).
Step 8:Once the recording is finished, click the “File” tab and click on “Export”. Give it a name and be sure to check “MP3” (or whatever else you would like) for your file type before saving. It will probably ask you for detailed info (Edit Metadata) for categorizing it on a new pop up and then click “OK”. Now you are done and can click “New” to start a new recording. Note: I did not separate every track, but saved each side of the tape. If you want to, it is possible but takes more editing.
Step 9: Now ENJOY! I know we are loving all our new stories to listen to!
***All these audio transfers were for our own personal use…just in case anybody is wondering! ;-)***
I am linking to these parties!