Best way to transfer tapes to Mp3

I am considering either buying a tape drive (plusdeck2) for my computer to transfer my cassettes to MP3 or using an Ion Tape express unit.
Which is preferred?
Thanks for the help

I don’t reccomend capturing audio to a lossy format, I would transfer to wav or aif and then encode to mp3. This is mainly if you want to “tweak” the file w/ NR or EQ etc. When you edit a lossy format you re-encode and you lose quality (even if the settings are the same).

As for your hardware I can’t be of much help as I just use Audio cables from my tape deck into my PC input, that’s all you need really. Capturing app you can use anything I like Audtion + Direct-X Waves plugin for mastering.

I also don´t know anything about these drives, but do the same as Tubebar…direct capture and all filtering and tweaking is done with Audacity <-- this is a very powerful software and used by many. A lot is known about it and there are forums and helpful articles that should be able to solve any issues you may have. It´s also free.

Now, having googled the Plusdeck 2, here is a user review (from Amazon)

Having a pile of aging cassette mix tapes to archive to .mp3s, I bought the Plusdeck to do the job. It failed in every possible way.

Hampered by a badly written manual, with indecipherable instructions like “According to computer manufacturers, the way how to open case and make certain 5.25 bay is different,” installing the PlusDeck hardware took an hour. The software was worse: the CD doesn’t run (except by a Windows Explore workaround), which doesn’t matter anyway: the 3.25c and 3.23, as well as the 3.22 and 3.21 versions of the Plusdeck software record worthless sound files garbled with data artifacts and hissing with static. Bypassing the malfunctioning Plusdeck software by using Audacity instead, I was able to at last make clean .mp3 records off the Plusdeck–only for a while. In its second week of operation, on the ninth cassette, the Plusdeck began SHREDDING TAPES. After pulling out several yards of precious music the Plusdeck had mangled, I opened my computer, removed the Plusdeck, and threw it in the trash.

Avoid these horrors by using a Y cable and Audacity instead. A Y cable connects the stereo output of your stereo’s tape deck or amplifier to the 3.5-mm line-in input of your computer’s sound card. Audacity (downloadable for free) is a compact, powerful and free open-source software application that comes with a very well written help guide (compare that to Plusdeck’s atrocious manual) that does for sound files what Photoshop does for image files. Audacity has all the controls you want, including line-in volume, recording in stereo, and even an “amplify” algorithm for reliably increasing the range of your sound files without clipping, and a Belkin Y Audio Cable (12 feet) costs less than five dollars.

Unless you enjoy wasted hours, garbled recordings, and ruined tapes, I suggest you avoid the Plusdeck in any of its unreliable present and future incarnations. link
I think that tells you all you need to know about Plusdeck!

The Ion Tape Express Unit has similar not very favourable reviews.

[QUOTE=deanimator;2555920] …direct capture and all filtering and tweaking is done with Audacity <-- this is a very powerful software and used by many. A lot is known about it and there are forums and helpful articles that should be able to solve any issues you may have. It´s also free.
[/QUOTE]

I forgot all about Audacity good point! Yep go w/ this over audtion it’s free & way more support! :bigsmile:

Perhaps a better version?

meh. You can get a really decent cassette deck at any GoodWill or thrift shop for around $20, and even if your computer doesn’t have a ‘line in’ you can get a USB soundcard for less than $20…(http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=usb+soundcard). That would allow you to capture as WAV and clean it up in Audacity (noise reduction, dynamic range enhancement, etc.).

Bah, your all making jobs needlessly complicated for yourself guys! You don’t need expensive tape decks to USB converters; I’ve done all my tape collecting by plugging a 3.5mm jack into the mic input of the sound card, and the other end plugged into the headphone jack of the tape player.

Keep the music on the tape deck turned WAY down, i.e. barely audiable, to prevent distortion and other undesirable results. Install and open up Audacity, and hit record! That’s all I did, stopping and listening to a recorded sample to check everything is alright; so long as the recording meter does not become red, then your recording will be okay.

Bare in mind, that quiet recordings, providing they are not too noisy, can be amplified quite comfortably, but you can’t get rid of the distortion entailed on loud recordings. Edit, re-equilise, whatever, and job’s a good un!

I did this for some concerts I recorded; It’s always worked good for me :wink:

Some mic inputs are in mono.

Michael

And some mic inputs have automatic level control or some other form of compression.

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2563814] I’ve done all my tape collecting by plugging a 3.5mm jack into the mic input of the sound card, and the other end plugged into the headphone jack of the tape player.
[/QUOTE]

As was stated some mic inputs are mono, better to use Aux if available.

[QUOTE=Chad_Bronson;2563814]
Keep the music on the tape deck turned WAY down, i.e. barely audiable, to prevent distortion and other undesirable results.
[/QUOTE]

Then you’re losing sample rate and rasing the noise floor. You can keep the vol down on tape deck, but don’t record low - do that on max (or w/o clipping).

Try this: Rip an audio CD into WAV, then use Amplify to make it very, very low…then use Amplify it back up to normal…it will sound all noisy = raising the noise floor. Becareful of that, lower isn’t always better :sad:

Aye, I understand that analogue cassettes record with noise - It might be barely audiable on playing the tape back, but when you amplify that tape, you also amplify the noise :frowning:

However, I often find amplifying to recommended settings using Audacity provides good enough results :slight_smile: