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Tape to CD device..

 
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SantaFefan



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Tape to CD device.. Reply with quote

A mate came round last night and told me he's going to order a "cassette tape to pc/cd" device from an electrical gadget mag..
I don't remember the make or name but it's only 16 so I thought I'd get one too!
I have maybe 20 cassettes I'd like to transfer, mainly old band rehearsals plus a couple on which my best mate at the time was talking and playing about in general ( he died at just 40 Crying or Very sad ) so, if it works, it'll be worth the asking price.
I think it comes with some kind of software so perhaps the old cassette recordings can be "cleaned up" a little too! Razz
I'll report back when I received it...
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Tape to CD device.. Reply with quote

SantaFefan wrote:
A mate came round last night and told me he's going to order a "cassette tape to pc/cd" device from an electrical gadget mag..
I don't remember the make or name but it's only 16 so I thought I'd get one too!


I know the sort you mean. Be careful because they often have a limited frequency range and can be a bit harsh on lifting and compressing audio levels.

SantaFefan wrote:
I think it comes with some kind of software so perhaps the old cassette recordings can be "cleaned up" a little too!


The software that's normally bundled with this kind of stuff is Audacity, which is actually quite good as simple audio editors is concerned and can install on PCs and also Macs (which I use). The key thing to do here is to try and filter as much of the tape hiss as possible and boost the dynamic range of the recording itself. Once you have it set you'll be OK with all the tapes I suspect.

Interestingly, although I have a full system which enables me to capture analogue audio from a TEAC pro cassette machine via a Soundcraft sound mixer into my Apple Mac (for professional jobs) I recently acquired at no cost an "Ion" machine which provides a USB output to computer in addition to the Audacity software. I've had it weeks and it's still in its box. I might put it on eBay - or I might give it a go!
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Shaky Fan



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 628

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got one of those Ion things a few months ago. It's adequate for me - I just want to transfer some stuff to CD that I only ever had on cassette and which isn't available on CD / download (particularly radio shows I recorded in the 80s and 90s).
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SantaFefan



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I'm not expecting much.. if I get a copy as good as the hissy originals I'll be pleased.. can't expect too much for under 20.
A couple of the C60s date back to 1968 when I was 16!
We had a craze on late night/early morning walks and sometimes I took my battery operated Sanyo cassette recorder along. On playback, we all sounded like Alvin the Chipmunk toward the end of the tapes as the batteries wore down - making our voices speed up! Laughing
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SantaFefan wrote:
Oh I'm not expecting much.. if I get a copy as good as the hissy originals I'll be pleased.. can't expect too much for under 20.


With the right software (such as Audacity, if that's what's bundled) you should be able to eliminate a lot of it.

A couple of weeks ago I managed to restore a "lost" audio recording of a friend's late grandmother talking about life as a 14-year-old in service during WW1 and the quality improvement after processing was huge. OK, I was using a professional program rather than Audacity but it can still be done.

SantaFefan wrote:
A couple of the C60s date back to 1968 when I was 16!


Yep. I have a few made with a Philips portable recorder onto Philips cassettes as well from that era! They make fantastic listening...

SantaFefan wrote:
We had a craze on late night/early morning walks and sometimes I took my battery operated Sanyo cassette recorder along. On playback, we all sounded like Alvin the Chipmunk toward the end of the tapes as the batteries wore down - making our voices speed up! Laughing


With patience, that can be corrected - even if it does remove the amusement factor! Smile
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Total Recorder programme allows you to record anything including sound from external devices. Not sure about the 'cleaning up' process as I've not had to use it on the things I've copied.

I find copying cassettes onto Minidiscs somehow lifts the sound from older cassettes and improves it.

I must admit I've not done much with my tapes but must make time!

H
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becky sharp



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
My Total Recorder programme allows you to record anything including sound from external devices. Not sure about the 'cleaning up' process as I've not had to use it on the things I've copied.

I find copying cassettes onto Minidiscs somehow lifts the sound from older cassettes and improves it.

I must admit I've not done much with my tapes but must make time!

H
Me too, Helen ....I've got loads ..thanks for starting the thread Santa ..has given me something to think about
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How interesting. As a business side-line, I've been undertaking the digitising of people's home videocassettes to DVD and even as iTunes compatible files lately, and over the last month or two I've been getting an increasing number of requests from friends and relatives for the digitising of audio cassettes.

I have professional-standard facilities for video and audio digitising/compression and although the audio side has been under-used for a long time it's now getting busier. That explains why I bought to ION device - to give the pro facility some slack.

The most unusual request I've received recently was from a woman in her 70s who requires a load of 1980s home video (shot with a VHS-C camcorder) converted such that she can view them on her new iPhone! (Tech savvy or what!).

Anyway, what I'd be interested to know is this: if I were to offer a professional-standard digitising service for audio cassettes, is this something that people might be interested to use if the price was right? (And what is "the right price"?).

CB
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

becky sharp wrote:
Me too, Helen ....I've got loads ..thanks for starting the thread Santa ..has given me something to think about


Hi Becky,

I listened to a couple of mine not so long back and they were great. I don't know that I'd listen to them as much on the PC but I do feel I want to preserve them in case our Hi Fi gives up the ghost.

I did a lot to minidisc when I first got one years ago now but the problem was with the size, most of my cassettes were C90s and the mini discs were 74mins or 80, unless you used the stereo long play option. My walkman doesn't support that so it put me off.

Something for the winter time I keep saying but then it never gets done.

H
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Colin,

I think it could take off as people's older hi fi equipment starts to fail or they want a newer smaller one which no longer have cassettes on them.

I bought a kit for VHS/DVD to the PC (a video grabber) but it didn't seem to want to work when I had a go with it. I must admit I didn't persevere, as I didn't have a lot of time. I'm normally persistant with things so perhaps I should have another go.

My problem is an analogue DVD recorder which no longer will record onto a DVD. The HDD is fine but there are things I want from it. My thought was to transfer it to my laptop and make a DVD from it that way. We've got a new digital DVD recorder, but it's not properly hooked up yet. I'm finding this changeover to digital rather trying and the Sky box is the lazy way out!

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
I bought a kit for VHS/DVD to the PC (a video grabber) but it didn't seem to want to work when I had a go with it. I must admit I didn't persevere, as I didn't have a lot of time. I'm normally persistant with things so perhaps I should have another go.


Helen, I'm assuming that it was one of those little things with sockets for analogue inputs and then a USB output (to PC). The problem is that they're cheap.... and as a result they don't really perform that good a A-D (analogue-to-digital) conversion. The other thing is that they don't actually correct the inherent instabilities that exist on the tapes that are playing in (I'm talking about video here, by the way).

The best way by far for home users to copy analogue video - whether VHS, Betamax, home movie cassettes on Video-8, Hi-8, etc - is to go into the Yellow, Red and White inputs on a HDD/DVD recorder. The reason is that the A-D conversion of "premium name brand" machines is much better. If you're playing S-VHS or Hi-8 video, then the S-Video connection instead of the Yellow video connection is even better.

By the way, I always go to the HDD first on my domestic Panasonic HDD/DVD recorder, because that means I can tidy up the recording by trimming beginnings/ends, cut out TV commercials, etc., prior to dumping over to DVD. In the end, a HDD/DVD recorder is the best option for home use because prices are now pretty low.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Colin,

Just been and had a look at 'it'. As you say it has a USB on one end and the red, white and yellow on the other end. It's as I used (or tried to last time) and I'd attached and extension red/white/yellow which attached to the DVD (I've done VHS to DVD with scarts and no problem in the past).

From memory it was the software that didn't seem to 'see' anything. The instructions were sparse as well! It's also very time consuming as you well know.

We've just replaced the bedroom TV (we are digi and it was analogue) so I'm going to connect the DVD recorder to it and try again. At least the main TV can then be watched and it's easier to get at the sockets etc!

I'll come back and report when I've had a go, and when it's a bit cooler!

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
Hi Colin,

Just been and had a look at 'it'. As you say it has a USB on one end and the red, white and yellow on the other end. It's as I used (or tried to last time) and I'd attached and extension red/white/yellow which attached to the DVD (I've done VHS to DVD with scarts and no problem in the past).


Helen, when you refer to the DVD, are you taking an output from the DVD to the computer via USB? In other words, is the Yellow/Red/White analogue cable taking a DVD player OUTPUT? If so, why not just pop the DVD into the computer and import directly from that (with the right software). I'm not quite sure what you're trying to capture to the computer here - VHS or DVD? If it's already DVD, don't drop it to analogue first - keep it digital.

I may have interpreted your post wrongly, though.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin,

No the content is on the HDD part and I can't copy to the DVD part of it as that is kaput. It won't even play any kind of DVD.

My mistake.

H
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
No the content is on the HDD part and I can't copy to the DVD part of it as that is kaput. It won't even play any kind of DVD.


Got ya. Hence why you need to go analogue out to USB. I see!

What make/model of HDD/DVD is it? The reason I ask is that a friend of mine had a similar problem a while back, so I found an identical model going cheap on eBay. He bought it, we swapped out the HDD and Bob was his proverbial uncle! (The machine has to be identical and so does the internal HDD otherwise it won't work). It's quite easy to do though.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually I've had a thought, I could unhook the new digi DVD (not had time to properly set it up or use it) and set both up to spare TV and copy from one to the other using a scart in much the same way as I did with VHS. It should work shouldn't it?

I tried to do that with the main TV but the stand sort of obscures all the inputs and you need to be contortionist and have a torch that sees round corners! Plus the SKY leads got in the way so gave up.

H
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SantaFefan



Joined: 07 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember how simple life used to be? Laughing

Before I sell it, I'd like to replace the faulty 6 CD changer located in the boot of my car... after many hours of trawling through the ones on offer from Ebay, I found what seems to be the identical unit to mine - but with a different model number..
I drifted on to various owners forums where it was stated that model was identical to my model, simply made in China instead of Japan.
Great I thought! but then a little more reading revealed, although identical, there were comments about the head unit in the dash may not "recognise" the Chinese unit without programming...
I've given up on that idea too. Laughing
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tell me all about it SF! This digital switch over is a nightmare.

The remote on our hi fi is fine apart from the volume control. Naturally Sony don't make them anymore, we bought it in 93, I've tried Ebay and when I googled the stereo model number, I found I'd missed one by about 2 weeks........... They go so cheaply on there I'd have bought the whole thing as long as the remote worked!

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
Actually I've had a thought, I could unhook the new digi DVD (not had time to properly set it up or use it) and set both up to spare TV and copy from one to the other using a scart in much the same way as I did with VHS. It should work shouldn't it?


Yes, it should. The only downside is that you're going from a digital recording (the one that's on the HDD) to analogue and then back to digital. But that's better than nothing.

When you differentiate "analogue DVD" from "digi DVD", what do you mean exactly? DVD is a digital medium by default - it's merely saving a collection of ones and zeroes (binary). Do you mean one with a Freeview decoder built in or something?

Helen May wrote:
I tried to do that with the main TV but the stand sort of obscures all the inputs and you need to be contortionist and have a torch that sees round corners! Plus the SKY leads got in the way so gave up.


All you need to do is to hook the output of one machine to the input of another, and then view what the second machine is doing on the TV.
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ColinB wrote:
When you differentiate "analogue DVD" from "digi DVD", what do you mean exactly? DVD is a digital medium by default - it's merely saving a collection of ones and zeroes (binary). Do you mean one with a Freeview decoder built in or something?



Yes the new one we got has a freeview tuner in it otherwise it won't record from your TV once the analogue has been switched of as ours was last November.


ColinB wrote:
All you need to do is to hook the output of one machine to the input of another, and then view what the second machine is doing on the TV.


That's the way I did it with the VHS but as there are only 2 scarts you have to unhook one of them (or you do the way our system is set up!) I literally couldn't access the sockets properly with the new stand.

The other TV is just on a chest of drawers so shouldn't have any problems.

H
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becky sharp



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
becky sharp wrote:
Me too, Helen ....I've got loads ..thanks for starting the thread Santa ..has given me something to think about


Hi Becky,

I listened to a couple of mine not so long back and they were great. I don't know that I'd listen to them as much on the PC but I do feel I want to preserve them in case our Hi Fi gives up the ghost.


Something for the winter time I keep saying but then it never gets done.

H
Hi Helen,

The tape deck on my Hi Fi broke a while ago but fortunately I have an old portable radio that will play tapes...I've been thinking of getting another Hi Fi with a tape deck, there are still some about, but after reading this thread think the way to go is to put the tapes on CD .......and we know where Colin is if we need any help with it Smile
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nod



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

becky sharp wrote:
The tape deck on my Hi Fi broke a while ago but fortunately I have an old portable radio that will play tapes...I've been thinking of getting another Hi Fi with a tape deck, there are still some about, but after reading this thread think the way to go is to put the tapes on CD .......and we know where Colin is if we need any help with it Smile


It the not too distance future CDs will probably be obsolete, and we will have to have mp3s Rolling Eyes
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least with CDs you can put them onto your PC and/or an external hard drive.

H
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nod wrote:
It the not too distance future CDs will probably be obsolete, and we will have to have mp3s Rolling Eyes


CDs are already on the path to obsolescence, as are standard-definition video DVDs. It wasn't that long ago that I received and delivered audio masters from/to clients on CD but it rarely happens these days. Everything is passed over file-transfer servers on the internet. Even BBC Radio 2 now runs its centrally-served music system in a CD-less environment - with record companies uploading their latest music direct to the BBC servers where they can be accessed by producers and presenters immediately!

MP3 has a life yet, but it needs to be at higher data rates than those commonly used in portable music players. That won't be difficult, given the vast increases in flash memory capacities and prices.

Talking of which, when you're digitising your tapes into a PC via whatever conversion hardware/software you're using, make sure that you're saving it as 48kHz, 16-bit stereo. If the cassette is mono rather than stereo then obviously you can set the digital capture accordingly (and save 50% of the space) but the above matches the spec of consumer music CDs.

PS: If anybody has a desperate need to transfer one or two precious audiocassette recordings to CD with the audio sweetened up on a professional system, then PM me and I'll be happy to help for the cost of the return postage.
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Shaky Fan



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

becky sharp wrote:

The tape deck on my Hi Fi broke a while ago but fortunately I have an old portable radio that will play tapes...I've been thinking of getting another Hi Fi with a tape deck, there are still some about, but after reading this thread think the way to go is to put the tapes on CD .......and we know where Colin is if we need any help with it Smile


The Ion system is extremely easy to use! It's just like the old Walkman and comes with a usb lead - you plug one end into the player and the other into the usb port of your pc. You'll also need to unplug the speaker from the computer and put it into the headphone socket on the tape player. Open up the audacity software and you get an approximation of the various buttons on the tape player (record, play, fast forward rewind etc;). From there you have the equivalent of a double tape deck....
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becky sharp



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaky Fan wrote:
becky sharp wrote:

The tape deck on my Hi Fi broke a while ago but fortunately I have an old portable radio that will play tapes...I've been thinking of getting another Hi Fi with a tape deck, there are still some about, but after reading this thread think the way to go is to put the tapes on CD .......and we know where Colin is if we need any help with it Smile


The Ion system is extremely easy to use! It's just like the old Walkman and comes with a usb lead - you plug one end into the player and the other into the usb port of your pc. You'll also need to unplug the speaker from the computer and put it into the headphone socket on the tape player. Open up the audacity software and you get an approximation of the various buttons on the tape player (record, play, fast forward rewind etc;). From there you have the equivalent of a double tape deck....
Cheers,Shaky... Smile
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Audacity is where the work is done - and where you can improve sound quality hugely if you're careful.
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Shaky Fan



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taken from a cassette bought back in 1969 and converted to MP3 via Audacity over 4 decades later.......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WagvDHk3s6E

(that's just a straightforward transfer - without any editng on audacity)
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's good. What was the source of the original cassette recording?
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