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Music question for Fanatic

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What hardware and software would I need to convert music in an analog format (casette tape) to a digital format (e.g., MP3)? I have a bunch of recordings that I've made over the years, and I'm concerned that the tape will wear out and screw up the music.

Also, what kind of software is available to edit digital music. I'm particularly interested in editing out tape hiss, unwanted ambient noise, etc.


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Well... about recording your tape into an MP3, chances are any tape player has a headphone slot - you should probably have at least one cable that can connect that slot to the line-in on your computer, and you can manually record WAVs from there. (They're the most generic cables you'll come across, they ought to be in any store that sells audio hardware.) Find RazorLame to the WAVs to an MP3.

For the noise reduction, I think CoolEdit offers filters and stuff, plus you can manually edit the waveform structure - that takes a lot of knowing what you're doing though, not many people can get that right. Best wait for Fanatic's reply on that.

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Thank you kindly. A follow-up question on the line-in connection, which I've not used in a looooong time. Would it be right to assume that the line-in is a stereo connection? If so, then the connection from my tape deck to the computer would be a standard cable that I probably already have. Once I've made the connection, however, what software is available to record the signal as a WAV file? Also, if I understand you correctly, RazorLame will allow me to convert the WAVs to an MP3, right?

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Guest Fanatic

Yeah, what Lut says. :)

You can just get a stereo male-male cable (depending on the output of your tape player), and go to your line in of your sound card. It is stereo.

Grab a WAV recorder of some type, Cool Edit works well for me (syntrillium.com), there are a bazillion recorders out there, just search around tucows.com for one.

When you record, make sure you open your volume control and select line in as the source and un-mute it, do some record tests to make sure it's not too loud/clipping, or too soft.

One they are recorded, save them some place on your harddrive. You might look on mp3.com or tucows.com for sound editors that clean noise. Typically they don't do too well, even Cool Edit (in my expierence). It might be best to just leave some noise in. :)

I would recommend getting Music Match from mp3.com, it has an incredible MP3 converter that is extremely clean and hardly any artifacts on the high end even at 128kb encoding. It's free too.

From there, you can burn the WAV's ot MP3's to a CD.

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What hardware and software would I need to convert music in an analog format

I don't know what card you have, however, there can be some surprises (meaning getting a quality product). Here's one review, of many, describing the real-world problems.


In doing voice recordings for a computerized playback system it turned out to be a real trick getting the digitized version to sound "as good as" the original taped analog recording.

A voice is a good way to tell, since nature made the human brain a pretty accurate detector of speech fidelity.

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Thanks to all for your help.

[Jack, it slays me to see that your status is a "newbie" ;) I know that when the forums were redone a few months ago, many member stats were re-set. But it's still funny.]

[For those that don't know, Jack aka DeePTeam of SBSoftware is an old pro, and has been around these parts a lot longer than most of us.]

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