How to Convert Cassettes to MP3


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One of the first pieces of hardware I ever remember lusting after was a cassette player. I was pretty young back then, and a cassette player was innovative! As I got a little older, making “mix tapes” for girls you liked was all the rage. I enjoyed being able to record things, and play them back. These days, we take audio and video recording for granted. Back then… it was really high tech stuff!

I still have several of my old cassettes. I want to start archiving those memories into MP3 format, so that I can save them. There’s a few different ways that you can accomplish this, using various pieces of hardware. The folks at ThinkGeeksent me something that will help me do this easily… the ION USB Cassette Deck. It works with either Windows or Mac OS X, and comes with its own software. I have to warn you, though. Even though the hardware is an excellent device, I don’t recommend using the software. It’s not so great.

It’s a dual cassette deck of sorts. You can dub from one deck to another. Or, I can use a USB connection and play it back on my computer… and record it from there if I wish. I recommend downloading the free version of Audacity in order to record and edit your audio files.

Pop open the cassette deck and throw your tape in. I still have the first cassette I ever purchased – Twisted Sister. Tell me you remember the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It”. It’s a classic that’s still played often today! Hey… I loved them back in the day. What’s wrong with liking the song now?!

The ION features LED Audio Level Indicators to let you know when it detects music on one side or the other. The “A” deck is for cassette playback only. The “B” deck can be used to play and record. Copy your music from one cassette to another at regular OR high-speed. There are several nifty little add-ons for all of you cassette junkies!

I do like this gadget, and will be using it quite a bit. I am having a great time going down memory lane and putting faces, names and memories with each song on the tapes.

What’s the first piece of hardware you remember lusting after?

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4 thoughts on “How to Convert Cassettes to MP3”

  1. How’s the mp3 quality of the conversion? I have a bunch of old cassettes from the 80’s that I’ve been planning to digitize…along with a bunch of LP’s (I used to DJ at a roller rink). I looked at some devices a few years ago but they got panned pretty badly on the quality of the converted audio.

  2. The internal deck for converting tapes to mp3 was a waste of money; much too much rfi hash. Even unacceptable for ‘voice’ tapes. I think it’s been taken off the market now. Mine is called PlusDeck2.

  3. I think this is cool. The first device I lusted after was an eight track player. Wooo, really dated. Anyway, what is the name and contact info for a tape deck with quality audio that I could use to transfer my cassettes to mp3?

  4. I have both the ION USB turntable and the ION USB cassette deck. They work great as long as I did not use USB. Use the RCA output plugs with your computer’s sound card line input and you will get consistent and better sound quality. I first tried using USB, and the recordings were… ok, and sometimes USB just could not keep up and the sound was all garbled. This was on my iMac. So I hooked them up to my brother’s WinXP computer and tried recording with USB, only to get the same garbled results. Then I switched to the RCA plugs and it was like night and day for me… good sound, good recordings, each and every time. Sometimes, I have no idea why people like USB so much.

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