And the fundamental rule of thumb applies with any analog-to-digital conversion work...
If the source is available in digital commercial formats already, don't waste your time unless it's rare and hard to find stuff. Buy a copy (even a cheap CD off Discogs.com, and convert to file!).
You'll simply never achieve the quality off a cassette tape, compared to that of a commercially produced release, most of the time.
Of course, most do this conversion for person stuff, so bare that in mind.
Beg to differ on this rule.
Low demand, small run stuff may use poor source material and basic digitization (no remaster) just to make a quick buck.
Always that small, tiny, quantity of media you can do better at home with a great source.
...most of the time.
Any good way to digitise personal VHS tapes?I have a few boxes of old cassette tapes up in the attic, both home-made and commercial. A couple years ago I decided to digitize them. I still had a high quality deck up in the attic too, so I just plugged it into my audio interface.
Anyway, I was surprised by how terrible most of those tapes sounded. I didn't even bother with most of them. There were a few with sentimental value, like recordings of live concerts and my daughter when she was a kid so I saved those. Then there were about 3 or 4 that sounded really good for no obvious reason. I think print-through is a big problem with old tapes, where the signal from one part of the tape bleeds into the section wrapped around it on the reel. Also, I re-used the same tapes over and over and listened to them a lot, so that didn't help either.
If you want a real shock, take a look at your old videotapes - I have boxes of them too. Thought it would be cool to digitize some of them - until I watched a few. VHS quality just doesn't cut it today, I was shocked that we used to think these looked so good! Didn't waste my time digitizing any of those.