Copying Cassette Tapes to my Mac

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by ~Shard~, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #1
    My question is a simple one. I have a few old cassette tapes that I would like to edit, remaster and convert into digital format. I have a 17” 1.25 GHz G4 iMac, and was wondering what all I need to accomplish this. Can I use the line-in at the back of my Mac to hook a cassette player into? If so, what type of cables do I need – anything special? Then, how do I record the cassettes onto my Mac? I have Audio Hijack but have only played around with it a couple times – will this do the trick (i.e. will it allow me to record from the line-in)? Is there some other way, through iTunes or a similar program to record in this manner?

    I’m sure it’s not too difficult, but I thought I might as well ask the experts! :)
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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  3. pepeleuepe macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Well the easiest way to go about this if you don't have any other audio equipment would be to use GarageBand. Even though its not specifically designed for this, it should do the job. The pro app for the job would be BIAS Peak, but if you're only doing this once its probably not worth the $$$.

    Anyway, assuming the output of your cassette deck is two RCA jacks (the red and white jacks), you will need an RCA to 1/8" adapter. These are pretty easy cables to find pretty much anywhere, heres an example, but I would suggest just running down to the local Radio Shack or similar store and picking one up.

    From there, plug the tape deck output into the iMac sound input, open up GarageBand, and make sure that the preferences are setup correctly. Under the Audio/MIDI tab make sure Built-in audio controller is selected. Then double check your system preferences by clicking on the sound area in System Preferences and clicking on the Input tab, then making sure Line-In is selected.

    From there create a new track as a real instrument and you should be able to play your cassette deck through your iMac. I can't test this since I don't have a setup here, but it should all work out. Play your cassette, click record in GB and you should be golden.

    Any questions, let us know.
     
  4. King Cobra macrumors 603

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    #4
    I'm guessing that these are audio tapes.

    A simple two-end audio connector should work.

    I know it works for me - one end in the 3.5mm audio out from the tape recorder, to the 3.5mm audio-in/microphone of my iMic. (easy setup)

    Install Sound Studio. Open a blank Sound Studio window, hit record, and start playing.

    You can hear what you're playing from the input levels dialog, under the Windows menu, just select the "Soft play-thru" checkmark from the dialog.
     
  5. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #5
    Great, thanks for the input guys! And sorry for the confusion over "cassette tapes" - yes, I meant audio tapes, audio cassettes, or whatever you want to call them. Those OLD things, in other words! ;)

    Since Sound Studio came with my Mac, it sounds like all I need is the proper connection from my player into my Mac.

    Thanks again! :cool:
     
  6. pepeleuepe macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Yeah, Sound Studio looks like a better app for you. I had never heard of it (which is why I recommended GB), but it looks pretty interesting.
     
  7. gemio17 macrumors regular

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    #7
    hey- could you guys post a pic or description/model of cable that you used for this. I have a bunch of Grateful Dead bootleg tapes that I would love to convert to mp3's for my bf's birthday iPod. I am using the 1.25 ghz PB G4 so I should have all the ports, but also can I use just a walkman, what kind of cassette player will I need to import my tapes into my PB?? Thanks for all your help!
     
  8. pepeleuepe macrumors 6502

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    #8
    You can use a walkman, just set the volume to about halfway, and get one of these cables. Then pretty much follow the instructions above.
     
  9. gemio17 macrumors regular

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  10. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #10
    interesting thread.

    so... how do you separate the tracks from each other? sound studio comes with mac os x?

    really?
     
  11. jackc macrumors 65816

    jackc

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    #11
    I converted some tapes using a Walkman. Got the cable from Radio Shack, I forgot which one exactly. I couldn't find the single cable to do it, so I ended up buying two of those 2-to-1 cables and connected them to each other, they're cheap enough. Worked fine.

    I also used Audacity , a nice little free app. You basically just choose "line in" under System prefs/Sounds, and hit record in Audacity. It lets you easily chop off blank space and some other features.
     
  12. King Cobra macrumors 603

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    #12
    I never heard of Sound Studio coming WITH a Mac...maybe if you bought the Mac from someone who downloaded it to their computer before they sold it to you. Otheriwse, you have to download the application.

    To separate audio tracks, you'll need to pick up some experience using Sound Studio. (I'm implying right now that you know how to copy, paste, cut, and add audio in any Sound Studio window, as well as open, close, and create new windows in Sound Studio, at any given moment someone snaps their fingers.) So cut the part of the audio that is the second track (or at least what you want the second track to be), open a new window in Sound Studio (use 16-bit 44.1kHz stereo, the default settings), paste the content in the new window, and save both the new window and the old window audio content as whatever format you need. I suggest using explicit names for your audio files, so you don't go through hell having to play out some of the audio to find out which track is which, especially if one of your files is an hour long.
     
  13. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #13
    I haven't done it yet, but I'm simply either going to manually begin a new sample for every track, or record the whole thing as one big monster file then edit and chop it up into tracks afterwards.

    As for Sound Studio, it came with my 1.25 GHz G4 17" iMac that I ordered in December - not sure if it ships with all new systems though... <shrug>
     
  14. question fear macrumors 68020

    question fear

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    #14
    it was, i think, on my ibook i bought last may.
    i dont remember, there was some stuff i installed with/at the suggestion of my griffin imic stuff during my "records to mp3s" phase. which failed miserably because there were SO many to do...
     
  15. kaylee macrumors regular

    kaylee

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    #15
    Sound Studio is one of the included pieces of software on consumer-level Apples (iBook, eMac, iMac).
     
  16. vollspacken macrumors 65816

    vollspacken

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    #16
    ahh, good old cassette :)

    nothing beats good mixtapes on cassette (...and making them yourself)

    vSpacken
     
  17. RandomDeadHead macrumors 6502

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    #17

    Don't transfer old Dead tapes to cd.

    Just get some new Dead cd's. Your tapes are most definitely multigenerational, I have have the same shows that you have but from pure soundboard reel> DAT > CDR lineage.

    I would be more than happy to burn you a couple shows for his birthday, free of course.

    Take a look at my partial list and let me know, you will find my email address through my list page.
    http://db.etree.org/darkstar5

    If any one else would like some live Dead, I would be happy to burn you some too.

    PS. Because it is completely legal to trade live Dead cd's, they are not considered "bootlegs"
     
  18. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #18
    How are you going to store/play back your digitized tracks? iTunes and iPod? Burn to CD? Burn to mp3 CD?

    You will need Sound Studio to cut up the recording. It only records and edits the CD format (AIFF).

    However, I prefer to use Audio Hijack to record. It has only recently added the ability to record from Line In, so make sure you have the latest version. I recommend using Audio Hijack to record because it has a very easy yet versatile recording interface that is preferable to Sound Studio, in my opinion. But since you will want to cut up the recordings into tracks with Sound Studio (because it's the only app you've mentioned that does this, and it does it very well), you should record them as AIFF files.

    Then I recommend using Sound Studio to cut up the master file into separate tracks. This is very easy to do. You just look at the waveform of the recording and you'll see white spaces that separate songs. Highlight the waveform between the white spaces, copy, and paste into a new Sound Studio file. Save them all. Then you can use iTunes to convert the AIFF files to mp3 or aac if you want and delete the AIFF's to save hard drive space. Or burn the AIFF's to a CD using iTunes and then delete them from your hard drive. Or if you have an xSAN, who cares if they take up hard drive space. :p
     
  19. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Why not? The sound quality isn't bad, in my opinion. I've digitized tapes before (well, one tape, but it wasn't exactly a high quality one) and it sounded fine to me on my iPod. YMMV, of course, but if sound quality is the main issue, I wouldn't worry about it unless you're a hardcore audiophile.
     
  20. gemio17 macrumors regular

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    #20
    He's got about 200 tapes that have been sitting around our apt. taking up space for years now. Thanks for the offer though! this is going to be a gigundo undertaking between a couple friends - all of whom have got piles and piles of "live" tapes- I guess you could say it also has a sort of sentimental underlying meaning as well. Reminds us of the good ole days of high school- Actually I am eternally "grateful" to them for really semi-popularizing the whole taped live show thing- even though I paid for it, being able to get the cd of the Pearl Jam show I went to last summer at MSG was amazing to me. What a cool way to preserve a great show.

    I have been hoping for years now that the success shown by that community would encourage more bands to start offering or at least allowing high quality recordings of every show they did. IMO most bands are really missing the boat on this one. Either that or they put on a really bad live show- which I think is probably the case with a lot of bands!
     
  21. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #21
    interesting indeed. so it is in one of my original cds, right?
     
  22. Awimoway macrumors 65816

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    #22
    It should be installed on your computer, but yes a backup will be on your original CD's.

    However, I don't think Apple has bundled it with consumer computers for more than about a year, so if you can't already find it in your Applications folder, you probably didn't get it. But you can download it and pay about $35 to license it.
     
  23. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #23
    I'll probably just convert them into MP3/AAC and load them into iTunes/my iPod...

    Yah, don't quite have one of those yet... ;)
     
  24. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #24
    I never checked my original CDs - it came pre-loaded on my system.
     

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