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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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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby Bumeaung50 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:55 pm

olaness1 wrote: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/" target="_blank" target="_blank ). 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).

Ola

If you are using audacity do you download it on pc or by chrome? Is audacity guides would help me optimize tape sound record to edit and transfer to computer? Thanks!
Last edited by Bumeaung50 on Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby Slamson » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:20 am

If it's a good performance, I'd spend the $$$ to get it done right, and pay a professional. The cassette players that come with these current converters are really cheap and substandard.

Since Nashville's not that far away, I'd suggest you contact John Nicholson at Nashville Tape Transfer Service:
https://www.tape2wav.com" target="_blank

I could do it for you, but I don't think you want to be sending your old tape through the mail. USPS routinely scans packages and the x-rays can damage a tape that's probably already on its last legs, and things get beat up pretty bad.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby hup_d_dup » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:22 am

Slamson wrote: USPS routinely scans packages and the x-rays can damage a tape that's probably already on its last legs, and things get beat up pretty bad.


Certainly USPS has its methods to damage packages, but x-rays are not one of them (unless you are sending undeveloped photographic film, and who does that anymore?). X-ray are high energy light waves, and do not damage magnetic material.

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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby WC8KCY » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:47 am

bloke...I've got the proper hi-fi equipment and a dedicated computer to do this sort of project, and have remastered some truly horrible source material into listenable tracks. Lemme know if I can help...
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby Joe Stanko » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:01 pm

I have cassettes of many live performances and radio broadcasts. I do the playback on a terrific 19 lb. TEAC V-6030S 4 motor, 3 head cassette deck. The analog output is connected to an M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496 card for A/D conversion to an HP Z440 PC with 32 gigs of RAM and Xeon processor. I also have a Focusrite with analog input and USB output; editing is with Sound Forge, but Audacity works very well.

Strongly suggest not using a cheap cassette deck - the tape could jam or break, poor motors can produce a wobbly sound, and playback heads are not dedicated as in a three head deck. I play through of both sides of each cassette to have the deck set the pack of the particular cassette. Even taking care, older and cheaper cassettes (poorly machined shells and rollers) can stretch, break or flake.

I record at 44.1 as a .wav for ease of CD burning - if a good copy is digitized, I make 5 backups, each on a different external hard drive. Editing is not done on the "master" but on one of the digital clones.

As I have some unique and rare cassettes - one with multiple live Williams performances - and treat them with great care as well as digiting at the highest level.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby gmcblane » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:39 am

For a really quick and dirty job, to make sure you have something preserved while exploring alternatives: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/dynex-6-ma ... lsrc=aw.ds" target="_blank

You just need a male to male cable to go from the stereo output from you cassette deck to the "mic in" on your computer. Audacity (free) or other audio software may already have, can capture the 'mic in" and save it to a file. I'd suggest saving the file as one of the lossless formats, in addition to the ubiquitous mp3 format.
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Re: cassette to MP3 capabilities?

Postby nworbekim » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:40 am

i can recommend one of these. Santa brought me one a few years ago... i've never used the cassette but i developed an addiction to old vinyl while being dragged up and down the highway 127 yardsale by my yardsale crazy wife... as designated driver and carrier of heavy stuff. i was wandering around one day and happened onto a box of old les paul recordings and bought them all. that was the beginning....

i tried lots of ways to get good recordings to mp3, but this was the best. i keep 64gb of mp3's on a storage card in my phone and when the complimentary sirius subscription ran out on my pilot... i cancelled it and bluetooth the music to the car stereo and using the samsung player and equalizer, it sound really good. in 6 months, i've not heard the same tune twice... sirius can't beat that.

https://www.hammacher.com/product/audio ... nics-audio
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