Draging 20th Century Music Recording Technology into the 21st?

Specifically cassettes.

So I got minor stash of studio-produced cassette tapes (100 or so, I dunno for sure).  Both of my previous stereo components for playing cassette tapes have both bit the dust at some point over the a 4-5 year period about 2 years ago (attempting to play a very old, import copy of some relatively early AC/DC album if I recall correctly).

Does anyone have any experience/suggestions to rip my cassette tapes (of the 100 or so I have I would hazard to guess that I only really have about 50-75 that I don't already have in some other more palatable format (vinyl, CD or digital))? 

Last weekend I picked up a god-awful cheap (on sale) boombox thing that supported recording the playing cassette tapes to mp3 (QFX J-22U). I was able to 'rip' one of my tapes after much trial and error after many repeated attempts.   Long Story/Short: the dang thing is apparently defective and  and doesn't behave with any sort of reliability.. I have so far been unable to rip a 2nd tape after multiple attempts so I'll be returning the thing and get my $19.95 back  Also, I realized that the mp3's were being generated are a 64 kbps.  Ouch.

Should I invest in some actual 'quality' stereo-component cassette deck thing and simply jack that into my PC to do the ripping (with whatever software might exist - Audacity (name? spelling (Tori)? ) or is there an some other all-in-one device that might do this for me with minimal effort?

Side note: Once I rip these dang things I'll keep the couple that are near/dear and dump the rest out on the local Freecycle site.   Before I do that I'll be more than happy to give them away to any of the peeps here who might be interested. 


  • edited September 2016
    "studio-produced cassette tapes" - curious what that means content-wise. Unique recordings that you can't replace otherwise?

    If it mean commercial recordings, I'm having a hard time imagining you'd find it worthwhile to try to rip rather than replace.

    Process-wise, yeah, I think you'd want:
    - good deck
    - an analog input appropriate for your computer (sound-card, etc)
    - Audacity or equivalent
    - willingness to massage/edit the result the resulting WAVs, then convert to mp3 as desired
  • Worth a shot, for the price? http://www.hammacher.com/Product/Default.aspx?sku=87989

    I tried this once using my old cassette deck, with unlistenable results. Still have some of those old "Giganti del Jazz" bargain cassettes, w/ no way of listening to them.
  • I used this thing to convert some recordings to mp3.  I believe it is only mono but since I was converting voice recordings it worked for me.

    But look around the technology may have improved.  They have a whole knowledge base and user support site system at the manufacturer site staffed by volunteers that seemed pretty helpful.
  • I'm with kragatron. Pre-recorded cassettes have such horrible quality that back in the day, I routinely bought the LPs and dubbed them onto Maxell UD-XLII cassettes to get something listenable to play in my car. This had the added benefit that if a tape got eaten or walked away, I was only out the cost of a blank tape, which I bought by the box. Most likely you can listen to those albums any time you want on Spotify or another online streaming service. Many old albums are on YouTube now because the record companies wisely choose to get paid rather than taking them down. The most cluefull are uploading their back catalog and old music videos themselves. Or maybe it's the other way 'round and the really cluefull ones are the ones letting other people do the work for them for free.
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