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How to Convert Cassette Tapes to CD With the Laptop

Updated February 21, 2019

Converting cassette tapes to CD with a laptop is a fairly simple process that is well within the reach of the average person, when in the past, you may have had to rely on a duplication house or recording studio. The invention of affordable home recording tools has made this process much more inexpensive. Anything you need to convert a cassette to a CD with your laptop probably can be purchased for little money. Converting cassette tapes to CD is a great way to preserve tape recordings, which can dry and warp over time.

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  1. Connect the output of the cassette player to the input of your laptop. Most cassette players have stereo RCA outputs, and most laptop computers have 1/8-inch mini stereo inputs. You can purchase a special RCA to 1/8-inch cable from any store that sells home audio equipment or a store that sells musical instruments and supplies. If your cassette player uses 1/4-inch stereo connectors, you may have to order a special 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch stereo cable because these are a bit less common.

  2. Open the program that you want to use to record the cassette tape. Many computers come with dedicated recording programs such as GarageBand for Apple computers. Some PCs do not have dedicated recording programs, but the programs are widely available. Programs such as FL Studio or Cakewalk are fairly inexpensive and easy to use.

  3. Set the input on your recording program. This usually is done in the menu at the top of the screen. Select the appropriate audio input, which usually will be labelled as mini stereo input.

  4. Select a track to record on. In the recording program, there will be a mixer window that shows different tracks. You want to record on the first stereo track available, especially if you want to record multiple tracks.

  5. Begin recording in the computer program and start the cassette player. When the track has stopped, stop the recording in the computer program and on the cassette player.

  6. Bounce the track to a computer audio player such as iTunes. Bouncing is the process of converting the track into a listenable file like an MP3 or AIFF file. In the top menu of the recording program, there should be an output menu that will allow you to send the music to the program of your choice.

  7. Open your computer audio player and locate the track. Move the track to a special playlist and burn the CD. If you do not have an audio program that will burn CDs, you can get a program such as Toast or CD Forge for very little money.

  8. Tip

    If you want to put different tracks of the cassette on different tracks, it is best to make individual files for each one and repeat the process. Trying to save multiple tracks in the same session can be very hard and confusing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cassette player
  • Cabling to connect cassette player and laptop
  • Laptop computer
  • Audio recording program
  • Blank CD
  • Program for burning CDs (optional)

About the Author

Christopher Godwin

Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."

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