Tuesday’s Tip – Converting Cassette recordings to Digital Files

Last night, I was cleaning up my desk/computer area and came across some micro-cassettes that I had used to interview relatives about my family history.   I found one micro-cassette that had an interview of one of my paternal aunts and it reminded me that I wanted to try to convert all of my micro-cassettes with genealogical information on them to digital files.  I want to do this so that it would be 1) easier to listen to them and not have to pull out the old micro-cassette player every time; and 2) I think it would last  longer on my computer instead of the original tape material. 

I found easy to understand instructions on how to convert old cassette recordings to digital files at lifehacker.com.   Rick Broida wrote an article, Alpha Geek: How to digitize cassette tapes and I found it very interesting and though it might be helpful for others in the genealogy world and decided to blog about itYou can read his full article here.

Rick essentially says that there are three things needed to convert old cassettes to digital files.  They are 1) a cassette player; 2) a stereo patch cord (according to Rick about $5 at RadioShack) which connects your cassette player via headphone jack to your computer’s line-in jack; and 3) Audacity, which is a program that you can download and it makes it easy to convert the files from cassette tape to digital files.  Rick has more details on exactly how to convert the audio, but this is the gist of what is needed to accomplish this task.

For me, because I have a microcassette, I might need an adapter for the stereo patch cord, but that should be easy to find.  I am very happy to have found an easy to understand and easy to follow instructions on how to convert the old cassette tapes (and micro cassette tapes) to digital files.  I hope this tip helps some of you.  🙂

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