Tag Archives: MP3

Archive Your Audio Cassettes As MP3

Update:  7-Sept-2014

You hate the incessant tape hiss of your old cassette tapes, right? Well, good news! Audacity has a noise removal feature that will minimise your tape hiss to an insignificant level when you convert your tape recordings to MP3.  Here’s how to do it:

1.  Follow the setup procedure described below, in the earlier tutorial.

2.  This time, after saving your recording as an Audacity Project file ( .aup ),  scroll through the length of your recorded waveform to locate a silent passage (ie. between songs) which is essentially the background tape hiss. Highlight/select this portion of the waveform.

3.  On the Audacity top menu, select “Effect” -> “Noise Removal” -> click on “Get Noise Profile”. That’s the portion of tape hiss which you highlighted in Step 2.

4.  Next, on the Audacity top menu, select “Edit” -> “Select” -> “All”. This will highlight/select the whole recording.

5.  Finally, on the Audacity top menu, select “Effect” -> “Noise Removal” -> “Step 2 ……… stay with the default settings, Noise : remove” -> click “OK”.

6.  Audacity will now do its magic; it will scan the whole recording and remove whatever “noise” that’s comparable to the “noise profile” . Depending on how long is your recording, it may take a few minutes to complete this process.

7.  Now you can export the .aup file to MP3, minus the irritating tape hiss.  That’s it.  Enjoy!

If you are a music lover and if you are now a forty-something or more,  chances are that you will have a treasure trove of precious cassettes ( and maybe vinyl records or -gasp!- even 8-track audio cartridges) that you want to archive in your  hard disks or thumb-drives. Well, here’s a neat way to do just that.

Things you need:

1.  A cassette player with line out (or at least headphone output); preferably a stereo-player with USB output for easy connection to a PC.

IMG_5279_1038Most cassette players should be adequate. I bought a no-frills stereo-player with USB output for USD18.00 online that does the job well.


Audacity-logo-r_50pct2.  An audio capture software that converts the tracks to MP3.  There is a free software, Audacity, that will do just that.

The cassette player which I bought online came with Audacity on a CD but it was an old version. You can easily download the latest version from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
Audacity is such an awesome software that you can easily get lost in the multitude of functions and features. Stick with me here, and I’ll walk you through the mere essentials you need to get our immediate task done.
To me, Audacity is to Audio that GIMP is to Images/Photos; you get the picture.

The Procedure

1.   Load your cassette into the player and connect the  player to the PC with the USB cable.  Do this before starting Audacity so that the software can recognise a USB device is connected.

2.  Start Audacity.
a.  Choose 2 (stereo) input.
b. Set USB device as your input. Do not select stereo mix for your input. If there is no USB option available, choose Transport > Rescan Audio Devices.
c. On the “Advanced” tab, in the “Default Format” section, make sure the drop-down menu is set to “2 channel 16 bit 44100 Hz”.
d. Enable the Meter Toolbar and select Monitor Input. Start your cassette trial playback and aim for a maximum peak of around –6 dB.
e. Stop and rewind your tape and you’re ready to go. Start the player and simply press the red Record button in Transport Toolbar to start recording from the player.
f. Save the project as a Audacity Project File ( .aup) and then export as MP3. That’s it!