How to Copy Audio Cassettes to a Computer

Written by james clark
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How to Copy Audio Cassettes to a Computer
Copying audio cassettes to a PC gives new life to old music. (cassette tapes image by robert mobley from

Audio cassettes can weaken and become brittle with age, especially tapes that have been exposed to temperature changes. After a cassette snarls inside a tape deck, it may as well be trashed. Rather than run that risk, copying old cassettes onto a computer creates a digital copy that can later be burnt to a CD or uploaded to an MP3 player or iPod. A computer with recording software and a digital soundcard is needed for this project.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Audio cable
  • Tape deck
  • Computer with soundcard and recording software

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  1. 1

    Connect the audio cables to the playback or audio out jacks on the back of the tape deck, using the white plug for the left audio channel and the red plug for the right.

  2. 2

    Insert the plugs on the other end into the jacks on the computer's soundcard on the back of the central processing unit.

  3. 3

    Double-click the name of the recording software to launch the program on the computer, then click the "File" tab and choose "New" or "New Project," depending on the software.

  4. 4

    Insert a cassette in the tape deck and press the "Play" button on the front control panel.

  5. 5

    Click the "Record" button on the recording software, typically the button with a red or black circle in the centre.

  6. 6

    Click "Stop" when finished recording, then select the "File" tab, click "Save" and type a name for the audio recording. Click "Save" to store the recording on the computer's hard drive.

Tips and warnings

  • Recording each song on the cassette and saving it as a separate file on the computer makes it possible to create a mix for burning to CD by rearranging tracks. However, it is more time consuming than recording the entire cassette at once.
  • Unplug the tape deck when connecting it to the computer.

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