Blast from the Past – Cassette Tape to MP3

Wed, Nov 29, 2006

Tech Tips

While a tape deck isn’t exactly an antique, try finding one when you need one. I had a request from a client to convert some radio publicity recordings to mp3 so the client could stream it on his website. “Sure” I said, “send it on over”. I was expecting a CD but I got a cassette tape instead.

Who still has a tape deck (that works)? I didn’t, but then I remembered the tape deck that came buried in the storage closet when I bought my house years back. It was still in the same place and it was a decent model (at one point in time) so I gave it a try. I cleaned it up, powered it on, but play and rewind would only run for a few seconds then stop. Bummer.

The First Attempt:
Sony Tape Deck

Remembering that I bill hourly and resisting the overwhelming urge to take it apart, I had to go to plan B, The $15 Wal-mart tabletop tape recorder. Which is pretty much the only model they sell (that is not part of a complete stereo).

Plan B:
RCA Tape Recorder

So then, it was just a matter of plugging the headphone jack into the computer sound card. I used the sound recorder/editor app that comes with Nero Ultra Edition. It worked pretty well. It recorded easily enough and I was able to separate the complete recording into individual ones. However, I wasn’t too impressed with the filters and tools you can use to manipulate the recording. When trying to remove a slight hiss that was in one section of the original recording, I didn’t have any luck. I wanted a simple “Click this to Remove Hiss” instead of giving me more options and terminology I really don’t have the time or interest to learn.

With the Nero software, I was able to save to MP3 and I posted the clips on the site. I used a simple player in Flash to stream the audio as soon as the user clicks the play button. This approach won’t get you professional audio results but for speech that was recorded on the radio, it worked great.

Bookmark and Share

Comments are closed.