Converting audio cassettes to CD....

 

 

 

Using two freely available softwares called Audacity and FreeSoundRecoder, you can easily convert your old audio cassettes into CDs. Here are some tips on how to this.

 

Both these softwares are extremely powerful to carry out the task we have on hand. The beauty of these programmes is that both these are available in the free versions. You can download the first one, i.e. Audacity from here. The second one, called FreeSoundRecorder, can be downloaded from here.

 

You will need a shielded cable for connecting your cassette player to the LINE IN pin of the sound card of the PC. A two core shielded wire with audio jacks soldered at both ends as shown in the picture below can be easily made at a very small price of around Rs. 70/-

 

 

 

 

 

Shown below is a cable made from a piece of 2 core shielded wire available at any electronics hardware shop.

 

Recording through a cable is a must. Otherwise the surrounding  sound in the room will get recorded rendering an useless piece of recording. Shielded cable over ordinary cable gives an added advantage of reduced electrical noise and Supply Frequency hum in the recording.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The second image here shows how the shielded cable with two plugs get connected to the “Line Out” of the cassette recorder. It is important to note and not to misinterpret that yellow and green plugs are shorting Left and Right channels to each other. It is for the convenience of making the joint that the wire from the green plug has been brought inside the yellow socket.

 

 

 

 

The third image shows how the stereo pin connects left and right channels inside the pin. The ground or the shield is connected to the innermost ring of the pin.

 

 

 

 

The following steps describe the procedure in details assuming you are new to Audacity.

Here is a video,Part-1and Part-2 with commentary in Marathi, showing the steps you will follow for recording the Cassette. If you are comfortable in reading the steps rather than viewing the video, here is the sequence you should follow.

 

a)     Put the cassette in the Cassette player

b)    connect the LINE OUT terminal of the cassette player to LINE IN terminal of the sound card of your pc using   the cable which you made yourself.

c)     Do not run the cable over electrical power wires. It may pick up Power Line ‘hum’ during the recording.

d)    Start Audacity and go to Edit/ preferences/

e)     set the tracks as Stereo.

f)      Go to Control Panel and select Sound option and Double click it.

g)     Under the tab MIXER, choose LINE IN for the sound card and close the Control Panel.

h)     Keep the volume level to a very low level, on the cassette player as well as on the recording tab of Audacity.

i)       Click the red button on Audacity to start recoding.

j)       Start playing the cassette with some delay of few seconds.

k)     You should see the waveform being recorded in the Audacity window.

l)       Adjust the volume control on the cassette player to minimum possible level while looking at the clipping   taking place in the Audacity window.

m)  Stop the cassette player after the volume adjustment has been done.

n)     Click on the “goback” symbol on Audacity.

o)    Rewind the cassette to the beginning.

p)    Restart the recording by clicking the red button of Audacity

q)    Start the cassette player again without touching the volume controls

r)      Allow the process to continue till the cassette finishes playing.

s)     Click Stop button on Audacity

t)       Save the raw file recorded in Audacity by going to File/Save as/ option and giving  a name indicating that it is raw recording. e.g. mysongRaw. The file will be saved as a project with aup extension.

u)     When you view the entire waveform of the recorded file, you will find some gaps indicating start of a new song and end of an earlier one, or pauses in the recording.

v)     Select the entire  portion of the song by Right clicking in the silence zone and dragging the mouse till end.

w)   Now start FreeSoundRecoder after minimizing the Audacity.

x)     Click record button and fill in the details of the file name asked by FreeSoundRecorder. Give some unique name say mySong1. The extension will be automatically be mp3.

y)     Maximize Audacity and click on Play.

z)     Audacity will play only the selected portion of the raw recording and stop.

 

When this happens, stop the FreeSoundRecorder also.

 

Now, try listening to the mp3 file generated by double clicking it. FreeSoundRecorder records whatever is being played through the Computer speakers. Therefore, if you generate more tracks in Audacity and play all, the FreeSoundRecorder will record all of them in a single mp3 file. This feature can be used to add your voice comments to beginning of any song. Audacity has got nice features of fading in and fading out the selected portions of the waveform. Fading In is increasing  the volume in the beginning of the waveform gradually. Fading Out is gradual decrease of volume at the end of the waveform. This creates a professional sounding effect on the voice commentary, as the song in the background can be selectively faded.

 

Thus, going through Audacity, you will be able to split the contents of the cassette in different mp3 files which will be easy to play selectively.

 

Audacity can generate mp3 file directly also. However, you need an additional DLL file for this. It is called lame_enc.dll.

 

You can download this file and keep it in the same directory as that of the main programme audacity.exe. In the option under File, you can see an option “Export Selection” when you run Audacity. If lame_enc.dll is present on your pc then exporting the selected portion as mp3 file is possible.

 

Once you have collected desired number of mp3 files, you can make a CD out of these using a software like NERO express  or CDburner.

 

Questions are welcome at cas2cd@yahoo.com

 

For more on Audacity with examples, click here..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

( These programs are freely available from their official sites. Please visit official sites for latest versions and terms of use .. ) 

 

download lame.dll required for Audacity

 

 

 Download Audacity for Windows

 

 Download FreeSoundRecorder

 

Download CD Burner