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New & need cassette to mp3 help

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by macgm, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Hi everyone,

    I am new to the forum. I have done a search and come up with several threads (older) about conversion from cassette to mp3.

    My problem is I no longer have a cassette tape deck. I only have a small, hand held cassette player (like walkman). One of the threads mentioned using a walkman, but will I get a decent quality doing this?

    The cassettes I want to convert to digital are personal recordings, mostly of my kids (20 years ago).

    I have been searching the web for four hours, and cannot find what I am looking for and came across this forum. Hopefully you can help.

    I have seen (about a year ago) a USB device that you put a cassette into, then plug into you computer, and it will transfer and convert to digital mp3 files. It was used on a PC, but that isn't a problem with Bootcamp. It was simple (which I need), not expensive (also a plus), and got the job done. But I cannot find it anywhere on the internet.

    The closest thing I found was on ThinkGeek, but that was about $100, more than I wanted to spend.


  2. macrumors G4


    Any USB audio interface will allow you to plug in a tape player. There is hundreds of them on the market with prices from $35 to four digits. But many Macs have a Line-In audio jack already. If yours does then all you need is a cable.

    You will have to experiment a little with the volume control on the walkman to see what works best. A fancier interface would have a meter or LEDs to help you set the volume. But a simple cable with 3.5mm TRS connectors on each end should be all you need.

    You will get better quality with a better player, no doubt about that. But if the audio quality of the Walkman when you listen on the headphones is good enough for you then the digital transfers will be good enough.

    Do you really want MP3 files. If I were concerned about quality I'd save them to some lossless format and then make MP3s from that, saving the lossless version is the "master".
  3. macrumors newbie

    Thank you, Chris. I understand lossless format in photography :) but not in audio. Perhaps you could guide me here. This is all new stuff to me.

    I am working with either a Mac G5 (just before Intel) or a MacBook Pro. They both have head phone jacks, and the MacBook Pro has an audio in for sure.

    I'm obviously a novice with all of this. I have read until my head spins. I have worked some with garage band. I have a link saved to the Audio Hijack Pro software. Those I have kind of in place.

    So add cables to the mix, and look for a tape deck to borrow.

    Still looking for that little input device, though, that was USB and you just stuck a cassette tape into it. Again, not the one at ThinkGeek.

    Thanks all.
  4. macrumors G4


    Lossless vs. compressed is about the same thing in audio and with images. JPG images are compressed and so are MP3 audio files. In both cases not many people notice the compression unless you turn the compression up really high. If the source material is a cassette made with a cheap mic the using MP3 is good enough unless you ever want to do a lot of processing to the file. pretty much the same with photographs, you can't process a JPG like you can a RAW file.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Re: new & need cassette to mp3 help

    Thanks for the explanation, Chris. I appreciate your help. I am about to go out to see if I can find cables, stuff to do the job.


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