How to Connect a Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck to a Computer

Written by james clark
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How to Connect a Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck to a Computer
Standard stereo cable for the tape deck connection. (rca cable image by Stepanov from

Connecting an old reel-to-reel tape deck to a computer lets you create a copy of old analogue audio tapes and store it in a more convenient form on your computer. You can even burn the recording to a CD at a later time, if desired, to make those old reel tapes portable. Connect the equipment using a standard stereo cable with RCA-type plugs on each end, plus a Y-shaped audio adaptor to condense the two cables from the tape deck into a single stereo mini-plug to connect to the PC.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Stereo cable
  • Y-adaptor with two 1/4-inch jacks and one 3.5mm stereo plug

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  1. 1

    Turn off the power switch on the front of the tape deck.

  2. 2

    Connect the red and black plugs on one end of the stereo cable to the right and left playback/audio out jacks on the rear of the deck.

  3. 3

    Plug in the other ends of the cable to the two jacks on the Y-adaptor.

  4. 4

    Insert the stereo mini-plug on the Y-adaptor into the computer's "Line In" jack, which is on the back of the tower. Use the "MIC" jack on the edge of a laptop.

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