Cassette to MP3


New member
Username: Che422

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-04
Hi. A friend is looking to convert his casssettes to mp3s. How is this done? What hardware, cables, software are required? Thanks in advance.

Unregistered guest
Step One
Connect your cassette player's output to the line-in jack of your sound card using any combination of cables and adapters that do the job. For a standalone cassette player, we recommend using a simple cable with headphone and 1/8-inch stereo plugs on both ends. If your cassette deck is part of a stereo system, use the headphone output with the same cable mentioned above; you will probably need a big-to-small adapter to pull this off. With either system, make sure that bass, treble, and loudness levels are all set to zero.

Step Two
Before commencing the process, you'll want to perform some basic tests. Set the player or receiver's volume control at about 1/3 power. Then double-click the speaker icon on your taskbar. Make sure your Line In slider is all the way up and that the Mute box is not checked.

Step Three
Now, it's time to create your test file. Open MusicMatch Jukebox (currently CNET's Editors' Choice for an encoder). First go to Options, then to Recorder. Next, go to Source, and select Line In. Finally, go to Options, Recorder, then Quality, and select MP3 (128 kbps). Press Play on the cassette deck and the Record button in the top left pane of MusicMatch. Wait until the indicator at the bottom of the MusicMatch window shows around 30 seconds of audio, then press Stop on the software.

Step Four
Find the test file in your MusicMatch Rips directory, which is probably on your desktop. If you can't find the audio, click the Windows Start Menu, then Find File, and search for a file called line in track 01.mp3. Double-click the file to hear it with your default MP3 player. If it's too soft, turn up your cassette player's volume knob; if it's loud and distorted, turn the volume down. Then, go back to Step Three and create another test file. Once this file sounds OK, proceed to Step Five.

Step Five
This is the easy part--just do everything you did to make the test file, only continue for the duration of the cassette. Two tips on this:

In MusicMatch, Press Stop after each song and Record before the beginning of the next one (while the cassette is still running). This is the easiest way to end up with separate MP3s of each tune.
Make sure you have at least 1MB of disk space for each minute on the cassette deck. Check this by double-clicking My Computer, right-clicking the C: drive, and selecting Properties from the drop-down menu.

Next Steps

The quality of your cassette transfers will depend on your sound card. If your card adds lots of extra noise to recordings, you should replace it. Check out our product reviews for the best values in sound cards.
If you have a pile of cassettes to convert to MP3s, you may find yourself in the market for more storage space, in which case you should by add another hardware storage device.

all this stolen from cnet =)

C H Morrison
Unregistered guest
Musicmatch Jukebox worked great for recording from my cassette. Couple observations. I had Jukebox v8.2 on my laptop. When I purchased the version that allows you to record it gave me the key to v8.2 and charged me also for the upgrade to 9.0 and future versions. v 9.0 worked well. Since I have a laptop I had to change the setting to Mic-In instead of Line-In. Also had to go in to the Windows Volume Control to adjust the MicroPhone volume instead of the Line-In Volume. You do have to play with the settings on volume recording from the Player and your computer. Two or three tries and you should have it. You might also have to go into Jukebox Options Settings Recorder and Select Mic-In. This in addition to selecting it in Source. When you do can Type in the Name of the Album, Artist and Each of the Songs. Do this before you start; and just before you start each song cause you can't do it after the song records from the menu you're looking at. You have to go into deeper menus.

You could use a shareware application designed specifically for this purpose: Media Digitalizer. It handles the recording, editing and encoding into MP3. You can download the trial version here:

New member
Username: Sungamer

New York, NY USA

Post Number: 4
Registered: Nov-04
One comment on Douglas's otherwise excellent guide.

Don't use the headphones out, but rather use line out. Get a DualRCA-single mini cable, costs about the same as a single to a single. Using line out gets you slightly better sound quality (possibly)

Unregistered guest
I have been recording tapes to MP3 for some time. I've found that the simplest method by far is to record the tape to a CD/RW, then use your computer to rip the tracks you want off the CD.

I use a JVC CD burner; there are many cheaper ones out there now.

I settled on this technique because I record several paper route tapes each week, and a MP3 file can be edited and updated much more simply than a tape. Having a need for a new tape, the file is burned to a CD; the CD is then played into a tape recorder.

If this seems a rather roundabout way to do this, please note that this does away with tying up the computer, which is free to do other things. I have the audio equipment, which will do all the work while I am on the computer doing something else.

will Musicmatch allow you to record cassettes at only 128kbps or can you select a higher bit rate, like 192 for example?
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