Last year, I converted all my cassette tapes to MP3 format. Before I had a chance to back up the multi-gigagbyte collection, the Maxtor external hard drive crashed. I am back to recording the tapes in MP3 format, remembering to make copies to a second hard drive every so often.
Here's how it's done:
1. Hook up a cassette deck to an amplifier's Tape In connectors using RCA cables. I happen to use my 30-year-old Marantz 2225 receiver, but you can also get low-cost amps from computer and electronic stores.
2. Hook up the amp's Tape Out connectors to the computer's Line In connectors. You will need a cable with RCA connectors at the amp end, and an 1/8" inline connector at the computer end.
3. Get software that records to MP3 format. I use AutoRecord Wizard from NowSmart. I like this software because it is simple, doing only what is required: listen to the Line In (or other audio inputs of your computer) and then save in MP3 or WAV format. I think it was $25.
(You would only use WAV format if you plan to make music CDs from the cassettes.)
4. Install the software, and then run it. Click the Options button, and select these options:
- Recording Device = Line In
- Recoridng Volumn = Max
Click the MP3 Parameters button, and select these options:
- Bitrate = 128Kbps (you can use a higher rate, which takes up more disk space, but do not use a lower rate.)
- Recording mode = Direct to MP3.
5. Insert the casstte tape in the cassette deck. Press Play on the deck, and then click Record on the software.