How to Convert Tapes to CD

Written by matthew di ubaldo
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How to Convert Tapes to CD
Y adaptor with a 3.5mm stereo mini plug to left and right RCA female plugs (connection audio image by YvesBonnet from

You can convert, back up or preserving music from your cassette tapes into digital formats for enjoyment on your .mp3 player or CD.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Audio editing and recording software
  • Blank CD-R
  • Tape deck with RCA cable
  • Y adaptor with a 3.5mm stereo mini plug to left and right RCA female plugs

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  1. 1

    Connect your tape deck to your computer. If your computer has RCA plugs, simply plug the cable from the tape deck into them. RCA cables are typically red and white or red and yellow on the ends. If you don't have RCA plugs on your computer, you'll need to use the computers audio input jack. This looks the same as a headphone jack, so be sure to use the right one. You'll need a Y adaptor with a 3.5mm stereo mini plug to left and right RCA female plugs if you do not have one. Record the Y adaptor details, take it to your local electronics store and ask a clerk to help you. This inexpensive device will allow you to hook up your tape deck to your computer.

  2. 2

    Open your audio editing software and open a track for recording your songs. Start recording and then play your tape. Pause after each song and highlight what you've recorded. Save it on your hard drive in a folder named with the album title and artist. Save by clicking on the file menu in your audio editing software, choose the "save as" option, name your song, select the save format and the folder you want to save to.

    Save each song as an .mp3 format for your mp3 player or a .wav file format if you're going to burn a disc. Once the song is converted and saved in the file, delete it from the audio software track and repeat for each song you want to convert.

  3. 3

    Insert a blank CD-R into your disc drive and open your favourite media player. Select the option to burn a disc. You can then create a burn list of songs that you want to put on the CD. Navigate to the folder where your saved recordings are located and add them to the burn list or highlight the songs and drag and drop them over the media player. Click the burn option to finalise your CD. Once the disc is complete, eject it from your computer, label it and test the disc in your household or car CD player to ensure that it plays.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use the audio recording and editing software to adjust the time at the beginning and end of songs as well as delete audio you record from other songs. See your software's help section or tutorials to learn how to do this.

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