Sunday, May 10, 2009

Converting Audio Cassettes into Audio CDs

Yesterday I came to know through a Multiply group-Computer Help Desk that Yahoo is closing its Geocities service.
I have learnt quite a lot from that service, in fact before making a website for a friend (of which I have made an entry here), I had practiced it at Yahoo Geocities. & till Yahoo Geocities service is there, one can see that website still there.
Today I remembered the entry I had made here giving a link of Geocities & thought that it will be no longer available.
Giving full credit to the writer, I am copying his tutorial about it. I don't know his/her name, as I have said earlier. So thanking the unknown writer, here we go...
I am also using his images here. These images are according to the old version of the software. Since then, they have changed some functions in the menu.
Checklist:
Before we proceed make sure that you have these things.
1. Audio Cassette Player with Audio Out jack.
2. A Stereo Cable with 1/8’’ Male Stereo Pins at both the ends.
3. A Computer equipped with a Sound Card with Line-in jack and also a CD-Writer Drive.
4. Audio Editing Software.
5. Wav to MP3 Converting Software.
6. CD Writing Software.
Step 1: Connecting the Cassette Player to the Computer.

To connect your Audio Cassette Player to your computer sound card, you will need one of the cables shown in the photo below. The cable can be purchased at an electronics store (e.g., Radio Shack) or a merchant that supplies home entertainment products.


For a Player with Stereo Output, you will need a 3.5 mm stereo plug to 2 RCA plugs cable shown on the left of the above photo. The RCA plugs connect to the audio output jacks of the Player and the mini plug end connects to the Line In jack of the computer sound card, as shown in the figure below.

For an ordinary Player with a headphone jack, you will need a 3.5 mm stereo plug to 3.5 mm stereo plug shown on the right of the above photo. Place the Player at low volume and connect one end to the radio headphone jack and the other end to the Line In jack of the computer sound card, as shown in the figure below.

Step 2: Setting the Recording Settings in Windows.

Double-click on the Speaker Icon on the Taskbar.

Click on Options & Properties.


Select Recording. Check mark Line In and click on OK.

Select Line-In as the source of Recording, make the volume level high.


Click on Options & Exit to close the Volume Control.

Step 3: Recording the Songs from the Cassettes.
Software used: Audacity

Software is Free of Cost and available for download at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Initial Settings in Audacity
1. Click on File à Preferences.
2. Place a checkmark for Record in Stereo.
3. Click on Sample Rates tab.
4. Select 44100.
5. Click on File Formats tab.
6. Select WAV.
7. Click on OK.
Adjusting Recording Volume
Before we start the actual recording, it is better to first adjust the recording volume for better results.
For this we have to follow a Trial and Error Method.
Play the Cassette so that it plays at the middle of the cassette; press the Recording button on Audacity.


The Recording will start, continue Recording for some time. Stop the Recording using the Recording button.
Click the Play Button and check if the Recording Volume is Ok, if not change the Recording volume by changing the volume on the Cassette Player.
Try the Recording again and repeat this trial and error method, till you set the correct Recording Volume.
Recording the Audio Cassette into the computer
After setting the Recording Volume, we can start the original recording.
Rewind the Cassette.
Click on the Record button in Audacity; press the play button on the Cassette Player.
Allow the initial Silence to be recorded. This will be useful for performing Noise Reduction for the Recorded Audio.
Record the whole side of the Audio Cassette. Save the Wav file with appropriate name to any location on the Hard Disk.
Perform the same for the other cassette.
Noise Reduction
This is the most complicated stage in our conversion process. Audacity makes Noise Reduction very easy.
Open the Wav file for which the Noise Reduction is to be done.
We can follow these steps to perform Noise Reduction on Audacity.
Step 1: Selecting the Noise Region.
The place where we can find the Noise is the portion where the initial Silence is recorded.


Select the Initial Silence Region.

Select the Initial Silence Region.

Click on Get Noise Profile and click on Close.

Click on Edit & Select All.
Again click on Effects à Noise Removal.

Click on Remove Noise button. The Noise Reduction process will start and end. Save the file.
Splitting the Recorded Audio into Individual Songs. The next process is to split the Recorded Audio into separate Songs. This is much easier.
Open the Recorded Audio in Audacity. Select the Region of a Song. Click Edit à Copy.
Click on File à Export Selection as Wav and Save the file into the desired location.
Perform the same for other songs.
Step 4: Converting Wav into MP3
You can make Audio CDs from Wav Files, however if you would like make MP3 Discs and want to save space on the Hard disk, you can convert the Wav files into MP3 Discs.
A Normal Wav Audio for 5 Minutes duration occupies approx. 60-70 MB of Hard disk Space.
A Standard MP3 Audio for 5 Minutes duration occupies approx. 4-5 MB of Hard disk Space.
For converting WAV files to MP3, you will need LAME software, as Audacity itself does not convert files to mp3 format, for which you will get the link from at their site or you can download it from
http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=290&package_id=309

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