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  1. #1
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    What gizmos do I need to rip my cassettes to hard drive

    I have lots of old cassetes that I would like to rip and burn to cd. I have a stand alone cassette deck I can use for playback.

    My pc has onboard sound. I believe I need a good sound card capable of stereo input. Any suggestions?

    Do I need any other gadgets like an anolog to digital converter or will a better sound card do what I need?

    TIA

    Hyfi

  2. #2
    Forum Regular jack70's Avatar
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    re

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    I have lots of old cassetes that I would like to rip and burn to cd. I have a stand alone cassette deck I can use for playback.

    My pc has onboard sound. I believe I need a good sound card capable of stereo input. Any suggestions?

    Do I need any other gadgets like an anolog to digital converter or will a better sound card do what I need?

    TIA

    Hyfi
    What sound card are you using now? I'm sure it's stereo. What I do is plug a mini adaptor plug in the soundcard (at the rear of the PC)... this has a male mini-plug that plugs into the PC and has 2 female RCA plugs which you connect a sheilded RCA cable, which plugs into your Pre Amp, or cassette, or whatever you're recording.

    I considered a better card myself, but you'll find out that unless you spend a lot of effort, it might not be much better to ONLY get a better card.

    One reason is that the PC is full of noisy signals. Ever use an RF detector when your PC boots up? Lots of crap in there. So even a better soundcard is at the mercy of the noise environment of the PC and the internal cables and connectors.

    But more importantly, your LP cartridge (cassette in your case), has a greater noise figure (signal to noise) than your sound card. If you had a studio-like quiet recording machine, you'd still end up with a noisy recording if the studio was recording a bunch of screaming overmodulated distorted music. In other words, it's the source material that's probably the weakest link.

    If your conversion to digital sound poor, you can edit them in a number of ways, but that's beyond the scope of this forum.

    Hope that make sense... I've been up for 30 hours.. LOL.
    You don't know... jack

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack70
    What sound card are you using now? I'm sure it's stereo. What I do is plug a mini adaptor plug in the soundcard (at the rear of the PC)... this has a male mini-plug that plugs into the PC and has 2 female RCA plugs which you connect a sheilded RCA cable, which plugs into your Pre Amp, or cassette, or whatever you're recording.

    I considered a better card myself, but you'll find out that unless you spend a lot of effort, it might not be much better to ONLY get a better card.

    I am using an onboard Sound Blaster. I just got the plug but can't seem to figure out what I need to record to. The Windows Sound Recorder only does 60 seconds. What software do I need now? Do you do each song separately or or record whole album/tape at 1 time and then cut and paste?

    Thanks Jack!

  4. #4
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    Duh'oh

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi
    I am using an onboard Sound Blaster. I just got the plug but can't seem to figure out what I need to record to. The Windows Sound Recorder only does 60 seconds. What software do I need now? Do you do each song separately or or record whole album/tape at 1 time and then cut and paste?

    Thanks Jack!

    Never mind. I had a Momentary Lapse Of Reason. I started using TDK's Digital Mix Master only because I clicked it first. I will give NERO a shot too. Any other software better for this?

  5. #5
    Forum Regular jack70's Avatar
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    Re

    A good night's rest does wonders... LOL

    I started using TDK's Digital Mix Master only because I clicked it first. I will give NERO a shot too. Any other software better for this?

    They'll probably work fine, but you already have software designed to work with your soundcard that allows you to control ALL aspects of what you hear. Even if you use one of those other options to record, you might want to play/investigate this:

    If you have Soundblaster, you probably have Creative's bundled software. There's some neat stuff in there, but most people's only PC audio controls are Microsofts stupid volume control in their systray (something I deleted the first day I got a PC... when I knew absolutely nothing about PCs).

    You'll find the software in your "programs" flyout menus. It's been years since I configured this, so you'll have to play with it yourself a bit. You'll have to set the preferences in some of the menus so that your "Creative Launcher" is always on (booted in your start-up folder). If you hold Ctr+Alt and tap Del you should see if that's already running... if not, that's one of the preference you'll want to change in the Creative software. (having it control your PCs audio sound instead of microsofts dopey vol control.)

    The other preference you want to change is to have your creative controls float off the top of your display. Again I don't remember exactly how to do this... perhaps just dragging it to the top of the screen after setting it up will do it. Perhaps checking a menu option somewhere in it's preferences. When you do, you'll see (barely) a tiny 5px grey bar at the very top of your display... when you float your mouse up there, the Creative controls will pop up (float down) and be visible. Since your soundcard is "always on" when operating your PC, this just gives quick access to any audio controls... it hides just offscreen untill you need it.

    The top row has a few options... when selected they then show those options on the bottom menu. The far left (on my ver) top option shows "Sound Blaster Live"... you'll then be able to select "recorder" on the bottom row. This allows you to control your sound card, and select/control the inputs (& outputs), and recording bit-rate. Near the top-right (float mousie) you'll find "settings". For stuff (wavs) you'll eventually burn to CD, you'll want: "44100Hz 16Bit Stereo". At the far left (float mousie) you have to set the "recording source". If you're pugged into your "line input" jack on the PC's rear, you'll want that. You also have the "monitor" and volume controls... pretty self explanatory.

    "Audio HQ" from the top row lets you access the "mixer" from the bottom row. This duplicates all your soundcard controls for selecting inputs and levels... be patient here as it can be confusing unless you play around with it. If you suddenly lose sound from your PC this is where you want to go to reset or turn something on/off... it can control a dozen different variation of inputs, some overlap, and some don't... be patient.

    When you hit the red record button you'll start recording a file of whatever you selected, and at whatever bit-quality you selected. Mine will automatically give these files names like "untitled01.wav", then "untitled02.wav", etc. Mine are dumped into a particular folder, but you'll have to play around to find where yours will go. I record every cut as a single file. At 44.1KHz, a 4 minute cut is about 40megs.

    I'd turn off most background programs when recording, and also defrag your drive beforehand (if you don't routinely do it every month or so), but a lot of that (potential problems) depends on your PC, chipsets and OS. You can rename any of those files, and I'd recommend editing them with a sound editor... you already have one with Creative that you can access from above.... it only has basic editing controls, but you'll be able to cut off crap before and after you hit the record button (something you'll want to do to insure you record the complete song). It's not as fancy an audio editor as what I use, but it's simple to understand, and lets you fix minor glitches.

    It's a shame more people don't make use of their soundcard's bundled software... there's a LOT of stuff in there.. even some neat games and flying crows (really).
    You don't know... jack

  6. #6
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Or you could really simplify your life and take the easy way out. Jackson has a ton of informtion and I'm sure it's all perfectly correct but I think sometimes people with so much knowledge can make even the simplest of tasks unduly confusing.

    Here's an alternate approach:

    Step One-Download the freeware audio editor Goldwave
    Step Two-Install Goldwave
    Step Three-Open Goldwave
    Step Four-Click file-new-OK (you may want to check the simple configurations on the dialog box prior to clicking ok
    Step Five-Press the record button to start-the stop button to stop.

    That's all there is to it. Pretty simple, eh? Goldwave is extremely powerful and I have no idea everything it's capable of. I learned on Cool Edit and that's what I use but it's not freeware. Tons of folks here use Goldwave so they would be able to help you with some clean up issues if you want to try to remove some of the tape hiss or whatever.

    If you run into a glitch like you aren't recording anything from the tape deck there's a pretty simple way to check if everything is set up correctly:

    Step one-Double click the speaker icon in the system tray
    Step two-click >options >properties
    Step Three-click the recording radio button >then OK
    Step Four-make sure the "line in" option is selected.
    *Step Five-you can use the slider control on the line in to adjust the recording level, just like you can with a tape deck.

    That should do it.

    Good luck regardless of which method you use.

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  7. #7
    Forum Regular jack70's Avatar
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    many ways to skin the cat

    That's certainly OK Jim, and that's why I said his using those other programs he mentioned would probably work fine too. Whatever's easier (which is widely different for different people) is usually best. Personally I don't care for Goldwave (I won't crtique it here, but that's my view). CoolEdit, SoundForge, and ProTools are better, but they cost a bit, plus are slightly complex, so unless one is actually going to make use of their options, use the software a lot, they're not best for everyone. I just think it's silly not to use the software that's designed for the soundcard... at least explore it. It even has it's own editor. I'd hope most people would at least try their car's sound system... before installing something new too.

    If my post makes it sound a little complex, it's not really... I just tried to point out the most important options in more detail (to avoid confusion) to make it easier & quicker to use & understand the first time. I usually try to use tools that are more efficient, simple, and of better quality whenever possible. In this case, the Creative software is probably already running in RAM. By becoming aware of that, and using it, you also have access to other options within it. It may take some additional time to absorb it (like most PC things), but it's like failing to turn on your car's air conditioning because you don't know if it'll work OK. I've seen PC's with 5 or 6 different redundent audio controls all (needlessly) running simultaneously.
    You don't know... jack

  8. #8
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    In defense of Jack

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    Or you could really simplify your life and take the easy way out. Jackson has a ton of informtion and I'm sure it's all perfectly correct but I think sometimes people with so much knowledge can make even the simplest of tasks unduly confusing.

    Here's an alternate approach:

    Step One-Download the freeware audio editor Goldwave
    Step Two-Install Goldwave
    Step Three-Open Goldwave
    Step Four-Click file-new-OK (you may want to check the simple configurations on the dialog box prior to clicking ok
    Step Five-Press the record button to start-the stop button to stop.

    That's all there is to it. Pretty simple, eh? Goldwave is extremely powerful and I have no idea everything it's capable of. I learned on Cool Edit and that's what I use but it's not freeware. Tons of folks here use Goldwave so they would be able to help you with some clean up issues if you want to try to remove some of the tape hiss or whatever.

    If you run into a glitch like you aren't recording anything from the tape deck there's a pretty simple way to check if everything is set up correctly:

    Step one-Double click the speaker icon in the system tray
    Step two-click >options >properties
    Step Three-click the recording radio button >then OK
    Step Four-make sure the "line in" option is selected.
    *Step Five-you can use the slider control on the line in to adjust the recording level, just like you can with a tape deck.

    That should do it.

    Good luck regardless of which method you use.

    Regards,
    jc
    What I figured out on my own was quite simple. Jacks input is exactly the type of reply I was looking for and figured it would come. Although I have no real Soundblaster bundled software with my onboard sound, I did find a driver on my old Gateway restoration disk.(along with a modem driver that worked wonders for my dialup) Since I use NERO, I had TDKs Mixmaster installed and am used to most of the features. I figured out how to use the Line in and was up and recording in a matter of minutes. I then used Nero's Wave Editor to clean up and normalize each track. Then I used Nero to burn. No downloading. No learning yet another pc of software. I will however download your suggestion and give it a try. Thanks for the input.

    Hyfi

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