Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
I have, and still use teaching materials on cassette tapes. Some I have replaced with CD's (which I load on to my computer HDD, and then a USB stick to use) but not all is available digitally. Some of my tapes are over ten years old now, and many of the tape recorders at work have seen better days.

One of my tapes was "eaten" recently, and I had "lent" my back-up to someone else.

I did give a tape to a technician at work to transfer to CD using a PC with Windows. I was told that it could be done, but that was long ago, so I doubt that it is going to happen.

Is there an easy way of transferring my tapes (analogue, of course) to digital on a Mac Mini? If so, how?

Any advice would be appreciated.
 
Last edited:

762999

Cancelled
Nov 9, 2012
891
509
DIRECT WAY
Use a RCA to 3.5mm stereo cable (available on monoprice) and plug it in the line-in jack of the mini, the other will be be hooked to your cassette deck.


INDIRECT WAY
One possible way to do it would be to connect a USB mixer (like the Behringer Xenyx 302USB).

You take the analog outputs of any tape player/turn table and plug it in the mixer. Then you hook the mixer via usb to your computer.

Either way you can use garageband or Audacity to record.
 

opinio

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2013
1,171
6
I have, and still use teaching materials on cassette tapes. Some I have replaced with CD's (which I load on to my computer HDD, and then a USB stick to use) but not all is available digitally. Some of my tapes are over ten years old now, and many of the tape recorders at work have seen better days.

One of my tapes was "eaten" recently, and I had "lent" my back-up to someone else.

I did give a tape to a technician at work to transfer to CD using a PC with Windows. I was told that it could be done, but that was long ago, so I doubt that it is going to happen.

Is there an easy way of transferring my tapes (analogue, of course) to digital on a Mac Mini? If so, how?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Just run it through your line-in port and get a recording app that allows you to record the line-in into an mp3.

I am not sure of a Mac app but I did the same years ago in windows with Jet Audio Basic.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
Thanks for the responses

DIRECT WAY
Use a RCA to 3.5mm stereo cable (available on monoprice) and plug it in the line-in jack of the mini, the other will be be hooked to your cassette deck.


INDIRECT WAY
One possible way to do it would be to connect a USB mixer (like the Behringer Xenyx 302USB).

You take the analog outputs of any tape player/turn table and plug it in the mixer. Then you hook the mixer via usb to your computer.

Either way you can use garageband or Audacity to record.

I'll give the Direct Way a go in a week or two, after I have tidied up grades for the past semester, and have a bit of time available to locate a suitable cable. I have never used Garageband, so a bit of learning curve to climb there will take a bit of time too. Let's see how that goes.

The Indirect Way looks to involve equipment I don't have access to.


It looks to be the sort of thing that would do the trick, but getting hold of it is not easy where I am...... Not having a credit card means I cannot just order on-line.

Just run it through your line-in port and get a recording app that allows you to record the line-in into an mp3.

I am not sure of a Mac app but I did the same years ago in windows with Jet Audio Basic.

Good idea, but what recording app...?

Then what about getting it getting it paid for and installed without a credit card and the slow internet speed I have here complicates what people in more developed parts take for granted. The local Apple outlet could offer no advice.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island

jg321

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2012
311
10
UK
Literally just done this with an old Sony Walkman, 3.5" to 3.5" cable, and a MacBook Pro. I used Audacity, which is free, and not at all difficult to use.
 

gobsmacked

macrumors member
Jul 7, 2013
36
0
Alberta, Canada
DIRECT WAY
Use a RCA to 3.5mm stereo cable (available on monoprice) and plug it in the line-in jack of the mini, the other will be be hooked to your cassette deck.
... you can use garageband or Audacity to record.

The technician that was going to transfer using a PC should have the cable you need. It's the same for PC or Mac. Then use Garageband.
Here's a link to one set of instructions:
http://www.ehow.com/how_6501615_use-garageband-copy-tapes-cd.html
Once you have done one you'll find the process pretty easy.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
Literally just done this with an old Sony Walkman, 3.5" to 3.5" cable, and a MacBook Pro. I used Audacity, which is free, and not at all difficult to use.

Thanks for this. I just downloaded Audicity. I'll let you know how it goes in a week or two after I have located a cable to connect to my Panasonic boom box.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
The technician that was going to transfer using a PC should have the cable you need. It's the same for PC or Mac. Then use Garageband.
Here's a link to one set of instructions:
http://www.ehow.com/how_6501615_use-garageband-copy-tapes-cd.html
Once you have done one you'll find the process pretty easy.

I doubt that I would have much joy getting anything out of the technician. Better to acquire my own is the way to go here! I do have one somewhere, but it is a while since I have had to connect anything to a PA, so it should be just a matter of locating it.

Thanks for the link to the instructions; they look fairly straightforward. As you say, having sussed it once it should be easy enough.... I have quite a few tapes I would like to get done.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
Resolved

The technician that was going to transfer using a PC should have the cable you need. It's the same for PC or Mac. Then use Garageband.
Here's a link to one set of instructions:
http://www.ehow.com/how_6501615_use-garageband-copy-tapes-cd.html
Once you have done one you'll find the process pretty easy.

Thanks for the instructions.

I have been transferring successfully using a cord with 3.5 mm plugs.

Of course it does mean that the sound is switched off on the source tape recorder. To hear what is being transferred it is necessary to click the GarageBand monitor setting to on, and change a couple of settings in preferences. Not covered in the instructions, but GarageBand Help put me on the right track there.

Using a tape deck with the red and white RCA connectors, as described, would allow use of the sound system speakers to monitor recording.

It is gong to take a little while to complete the process of transferring each track individually..... the tape I am working on now has about 60 tracks. But it should be worthwhile. The tape players at work have seen better days.
 

gobsmacked

macrumors member
Jul 7, 2013
36
0
Alberta, Canada
Thanks for the instructions.

I have been transferring successfully using a cord with 3.5 mm plugs.

Of course it does mean that the sound is switched off on the source tape recorder. To hear what is being transferred it is necessary to click the GarageBand monitor setting to on, and change a couple of settings in preferences. Not covered in the instructions, but GarageBand Help put me on the right track there.

Using a tape deck with the red and white RCA connectors, as described, would allow use of the sound system speakers to monitor recording.

It is gong to take a little while to complete the process of transferring each track individually..... the tape I am working on now has about 60 tracks. But it should be worthwhile. The tape players at work have seen better days.

Great! It's good to hear you got it working. Can I suggest a change to what I'm assuming is your workflow now? Rather than working on each of the 60 tracks individually just transfer the entire side of the tape to one file in GarageBand. When that is done you can split it into the 30 or so tracks still using GarageBand.
Replace vinyl with cassette tape in this article.
http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_easily_split_ripped_vinyl_tracks_garageband

Doing this means that you won't have to sit there monitoring the entire transfer and can split the file at your leisure. When I did this to my tapes I just set up a semi-production pile of them and changed it over every half hour (60 min tapes). I didn't even bother to monitor after the first couple reasoning that I could always just re-tape any that weren't right.

I'm not sure how the split in your tracks is indicated or if they are all the same length but you may be able to use Audacity (other programs can do this as well) to find the split points.
http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=5391
I've found that the automatic method doesn't always find the correct split points and that I did it manually anyway but it may work for your tapes.
As was mentioned by another poster you could use Audacity for the import/record process as well.

Whatever method you use remember backups and try not to edit your only copy. Let me know if I've just confused the issue with these further comments - if you have that much editing to do it may be worth the time investment to learn to use Audacity.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
Great! It's good to hear you got it working. Can I suggest a change to what I'm assuming is your workflow now? Rather than working on each of the 60 tracks individually just transfer the entire side of the tape to one file in GarageBand. When that is done you can split it into the 30 or so tracks still using GarageBand.
Replace vinyl with cassette tape in this article.
http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_easily_split_ripped_vinyl_tracks_garageband

Doing this means that you won't have to sit there monitoring the entire transfer and can split the file at your leisure. When I did this to my tapes I just set up a semi-production pile of them and changed it over every half hour (60 min tapes). I didn't even bother to monitor after the first couple reasoning that I could always just re-tape any that weren't right.

I'm not sure how the split in your tracks is indicated or if they are all the same length but you may be able to use Audacity (other programs can do this as well) to find the split points.
http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=5391
I've found that the automatic method doesn't always find the correct split points and that I did it manually anyway but it may work for your tapes.
As was mentioned by another poster you could use Audacity for the import/record process as well.

Whatever method you use remember backups and try not to edit your only copy. Let me know if I've just confused the issue with these further comments - if you have that much editing to do it may be worth the time investment to learn to use Audacity.

More useful info, thanks heaps.

With 40 to 60 short tracks on a tape used in class, I do need a more efficient way of splitting tracks. I have the one I need for the coming term done now, but will be archiving a good few more when time allows. If I can do it in the background, while doing other things, so much the better.

I'll give Audacity a go some time too, but right now as a new term is about to start, now is not the time.
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Aug 31, 2012
2,077
2,938
a South Pacific island
I had a go at making a CD from one of my digital conversions, but it didn't work for some reason.

Not to worry, loaded on to a USB stick, it works just fine in a boom box with a USB slot, which is more convenient anyway. They have just ordered several more such machines at work, so I am set up just fine for the new semester now.

Thanks for the help, and I hope the information in this thread is useful to someone else.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.