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How to record from cassette

3556 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2010 6:21 PM by mack7 RSS
mack7 Calculating status...
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Nov 19, 2010 5:50 PM
I have a cassette player headphone jack plugged into the audio port of my G5. I want to record an old cassette onto my computer in MP3 form preferably. Can I do that and if so how? Which program might do the job? The computer does nothing automatically when I play the cassette.
G5, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,685 points)
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    Nov 19, 2010 6:15 PM (in response to mack7)
    Hi, first check the Sound Pref Pane for input source, then open Audio MIDI Setup in Utilities.

    Check out Audacity...

    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

    And this page...

    http://all-streaming-media.com/record-audio-stream/direct-sound-recording-Mac-OS -X.htm
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,685 points)
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    Nov 19, 2010 6:25 PM (in response to mack7)
    You might not be happy with the sound qualty there either, & I don't think it amplifies anything...

    Analog audio line-in port

    Connect self-powered microphones and other audio equipment to your Macintosh.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3094?viewlocale=en_US

    You might have to go with one of these iMics...

    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/imic
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,585 points)
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    Nov 19, 2010 7:52 PM (in response to mack7)
    Check the sound settings as BDaqua suggests. I transferred a bunch of cassettes 5 years ago but I was using OS9. I'm not sure if you can capture directly to MP3. You may need to do it to AIFF then encode to MP3. Sound input from the headphone jack should be at sufficient strength. It's when you're trying to use something like turntable level input that you need an intermediate amplifier. I'd set the headphone jack for maximum volume then adjust the recording level using the recording utility's input adjuster. I think I used AmadeusII or SoundStudio when I did my recording. Audacity is free but has a bit of a learning curve in my opinion.
    G4 Quicksilver 2x800 MHz 2x120 GBHDs 1.5GB RAM 10.4.11/9.2.2, 2 G3 beiges, IIci. iTunes 7.5, QT7, QTP2.5.1
  • Michael Wasley Level 5 Level 5 (6,810 points)
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    Nov 20, 2010 1:33 AM (in response to mack7)
    Assuming your G5 has line level inputs I would expect a headphone feed to be unlikely to give a satisfactory signal. Have you a tape deck with line level output?

    Audacity, which others have already mentioned, is excellent. It looks daunting at a first glance (and can be very complicated if you want to do clever things with it) but as a completely new starter on digitizing old tapes I found it easy to get to grips with the basics. There is very good online support via Audacity forums and a Wiki. Although their website appears to recommend v1.2 as the stable version that gave me problems crashing right at the end of some recordings and losing everything in that session. The Beta version 1.3 has been rock steady on a G4 in 10.4.11.

    Audacity records to its own format from which, after editing, you can use it to convert to other formats such as AIFF and MP3. I wanted to produce AIFF recordings first and then convert some of those to MP3 for the car. I find Audacity slow and prefer to use XLD to produce MP3s.
    G4 733 1.5GB, PB G4 1.67 15" 512MB, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,585 points)
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    Nov 20, 2010 12:14 PM (in response to Michael Wasley)
    Michael Wasley wrote:
    Assuming your G5 has line level inputs I would expect a headphone feed to be unlikely to give a satisfactory signal.

    Do you mean the signal will be too weak?

    From [Wikipedia on Line Level|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_level]: "In contrast to line level, there are weaker audio signals, such as those from microphones and instrument pickups, and *stronger signals, such as those used to drive headphones* and loudspeakers"

    Since the OP intends to use the headphone output from cassette player the signal could well be potentially stronger than the line-level input of the G5.
    G4 Quicksilver 2x800 MHz 2x120 GBHDs 1.5GB RAM 10.4.11/9.2.2, 2 G3 beiges, IIci. iTunes 7.5, QT7, QTP2.5.1
  • Michael Wasley Level 5 Level 5 (6,810 points)
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    Nov 20, 2010 1:31 PM (in response to Limnos)
    That is one possibility. My experiences of using headphone output to line level input have always been unsatisfactory, partly in terms of strength but often because of poor general sound quality of the signal. Obviously it all depends on the equipment the OP has available, its output quality and the quality of recording required.
    G4 733 1.5GB, PB G4 1.67 15" 512MB, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Michael Wasley Level 5 Level 5 (6,810 points)
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    Nov 20, 2010 6:11 PM (in response to Michael Wasley)
    I've just realised that my last post was not clear.

    The possibility I referred to was in response to the comment made by Limnos that "the signal could well be potentially stronger than the line-level input of the G5". This is quite likely and is partly the cause of my concern about sound quality, which was the main point I was trying to make: it is very easy to get clipping and distortion with this sort of connection.

    There can be a potentially much more serious concern in that the signal can be strong enough to damage the receiving equipment. It is therefore important if going down this route to start off with the headphone volume set very low on the cassette player.

    The headphone output delivers an amplified signal intended to drive small speakers and likely to be very different to what is ideal for recording at line level. Headphone amplifiers, given the limitations of most headphones (which are often not particularly revealing in terms of sound quality), may be of relatively poor quality and are likely to produce poorer sound quality than that from a line level signal.
    G4 733 1.5GB, PB G4 1.67 15" 512MB, Mac OS X (10.4.11)

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