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cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:16 am

I was looking through an old trunk in the basement (one of those that resembles a "treasure chest") for some adapter cords for a sound system to go with Ms. bloke's new "home theater projector" thingie.
In that trunk I stumbled across a low-fidelity cassette recording of a performance of the John Williams Tuba Concerto (Tennessee premiere, fwiw) that I did with this oddly-organized amateur-professional orchestra in 1994.

I then searched and found my old cassette deck in a lower drawer of a no-longer-used-for-anything "home entertainment center", and listened to the tape with a pair of headphones.

The performance was ONE OR TWO DAYS AFTER this historic ice storm:
http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/31193469/looking-back-on-ice-storm-94
The orchestra's music director had been absent for six weeks (picked up a paying gig touring with an orchestra-and-opera-singers performing a touring version of Porgy & Bess), so - back home - the rehearsals were run by a sibling of his, and were rudimentary at best. There were only weekly run-throughs of the slated pieces, and no addressing of problems. The music director returned a week prior to the performance, and ran one rehearsal. The dress rehearsal (where 25 "ringers" were to be brought in to read the charts) was cancelled, due to (again) the historic ice storm. I assumed the concert would be cancelled as well (most of Memphis was without power), but the concert was NOT cancelled, and the 25 "ringers" SIGHT-READ :shock: the concert. Needless to say, some things (particularly, this Williams piece) were a bit "icy" - to say the least. A couple of other things that made the performance interesting were a sweet (somewhat wealthy) old man who had taken up the oboe in his 70's...and actually BOUGHT a new Loree English horn BECAUSE OF this piece. :shock: He worked VERY hard on that huge solo, and - well - got through the notes...with the type of sound that one would expect...and the flute solo was played by one of the amateurs in the orchestra. She was not an "artist", but also worked very hard to play her solos.
The source of this recording is one of the amateur second violinists, who put a $20 Walgreens cassette player under his chair (yes, really). He was - arguably - the very worst of all the violinists, so there are some unique sounds heard on the tape. Additionally, this tape is a COPY (2nd generation) of that original tape in that person's cassette machine, so...
All of that regarding the orchestral accompaniment - and all false modesty aside - I did quite an admirable job on the "tuba solo" portion of the concerto (having reviewed the recording today with - arguably - ears more critical than they were a quarter century ago)...
:arrow: ...so does anyone have analog-cassette-to-MP3 conversion capability?
I'd like to have this (as extraordinary as is the orchestral performance) available to review in a digital medium...and (OK, now that you understand the circumstances, and the hardships) I guess I wouldn't mind sharing it, if anyone is interested in hearing it. :shock:
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby olaness1 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:24 am

Such capability is really not something out of the box. What you need is a (decent?) tape player with an out post that you can connect to your computer/sound card/mixing desk/whatever sound equipment you've got, then record this through some recording software (audacity is free and pretty good, download here: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/ ). Finally do whatever edits you think are necessary (separate movements to separate tracks etc) then convert to mp3. With Audacity you need a plugin for that. When you know what you are doing, it's not as complicated as it sounds!

Hope you have some luck with this. (I'd offer to do it, but I'm in the UK and have not owned a tape player for quite a number of years).

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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:17 am

thanks.

It won't even need editing - once the stuff is set up and working, because this concerto has no breaks between movements.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby YORK-aholic » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:28 am

Bloke, I have a cassette player that records to MP3 on a thumb drive. If you'd like to send a copy of your copied cassette (certainly not your original copy of a copy), I'd make an MP3 file and send it back to you. You have my email if you'd like.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby timothy42b » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:11 am

There are lots of fancy ways to do this but here's a quick and dirty one that will work for sure. Given the low quality nature of what you have, I'm not sure you'll do much better.

But first! copy that tape! and work only with the copy. Every play of a cassette tape damages it a little.

Now. Play your tape through your tape deck with the best set of speakers you have. Set your Zoom H2 or equivalent in front of them. Done.

Import into Audacity, normalize, use whatever tools you can find to reduce noise.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby Tim Jackson » Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:23 pm

I have the equipment to do it several ways. My favorite is a Phillips CD recorder. Records from analog source - sometimes I hook it to my computer and rip things off youtube.

Lately, I just take it to my local studio and sit and visit with the owner while he makes a copy. Can even eq a little if needed and devide into tracks. It's trade out because when he calls me to lay a trombone, tuba, or bass track I never charge... I just tell him to give me credit.

I love going to the studio... let the pros do it!

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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby Art Hovey » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:28 pm

I could do it for you too.
Here's an example that I did a couple of years ago:
http://www.galvanizedjazz.com/test1/CDs/Conrad.html
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:53 pm

Thanks for the generous offers and examples of your expertise.
Someone here is actually sending me some HARDware...I have no idea (??) if I can figure it out...
...so I may be sending it back with a "thank-you", and asking one of you to help.

:oops: :D 8)
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby ken k » Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:41 pm

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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby peterbas » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:08 pm

Can easily been done with freeware like Audacity. Tutorials and youtube a plenty with a google search.
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