What's the Best Way to Convert Audio Cassettes into MP3s?

What's the Best Way to Convert Audio Cassettes into MP3s?

Gregory Han
Nov 19, 2013
(Image credit: anuchit sookseanthaworn/Shutterstock)

Q: During my recent stay and visit with my parents, I was told there was a good chance they were going to be moving out of the country after retiring soon, and that I should check out all of my old boxes for things I wanted to keep before they put it all into the donation pile. I discovered a cache of once loved old audio cassettes, many of them mixtapes I made back in high school and college. What's the best way to get these mixes from analog to digital file format?

(Image credit: Hammacher Schlemmer)

Sent by Arthur Shay

Editor: Hammacher Schlemmer used to sell these clunky but effective looking Cassette To iPod Converters which docked the iPhone directly for transferral from tape to internal storage, but they've since been discontinued. There's also the ION Tape Express Portable Analog To Digital Cassette Converter, which is still available, but forgoes the iPhone direct docking design and instead is meant to be connected to a computer using a USB connection, sending audio through the player for conversion.

But if you've got an old Walkman or tape player laying around, all you really need is to connect the player output to the line-in socket to your Mac or PC using a 3.5mm a cheap minijack to minijack cable. Then it's just a matter of using an audio app like Audacity for Windows or OS X and an accompanying LAME MP3 encoder to convert those cassette tape analog sourced songs into a digital file format. There are several videos available online illustrating the tedious process using Audacity; expect to spend a great many weekends dedicated to converting a large tape collection. But it all might be worth it for the memories connected to curating those mixes way back when!

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