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Analog Digital

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Chrisman

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Hey users, Can I use my iMac to digitize, say onto my iTunes Library, music from a Cassette ? HOw ? Thanks for your Help :eek:))
 

cjmnews

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Connect a tape deck to an input that the Mac can read.
So if you have a microphone or line in jack on your Mac, you can connect the RCA to 3.5mm converter cable from a tape deck to the Mac.
Then use a program like Audacity to record from the microphone jack, export as MP3, then import the track into iTunes.

I did this with a PC before iTunes was around. The tracks are in iTunes now.
 

Chrisman

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Dear cjmnews, The only 'input' ports I can find are on the backside--several typical 'thumb-drive' kind and a couple smaller ports having a 'lightening-bolt' indentifier. There is one more that looks like a mutant telephone port (6-wire) I forget the names of these things but you know, Im sure. Are there 'converters' to any of these from RCA's ? 2nd question, do I download 'Audacity' and will that program prompt me for how to proceed from there? thanks, Chrisman
 

cjmnews

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Your Mac has limited ports as I was suspecting.
It should have:
Headphone jack
USB
Thunderbolt
Network

In this case you would need special hardware to do the conversion.
It seems difficult to find a low cost USB device with Stereo Microphone input that might be compatible with a Mac.
Most USB sound cards have Mono Microphone input, which ruins the original stereo version of the music. You can actually get a stereo recording with these, but at a cost of multiple recordings, audio editing and cable manipulation to ensure you get the left channel on the first pass, the right on the second.

The cable is much easier to find:

Being on a Mac you could use GarageBand instead of Audacity, since GarageBand is already installed.
You just need to adjust your sound settings to set the Microphone to the USB device then tell GarageBand to record as you play the tape.

Deciding if you want it split into tracks or just an entire tape is up to you. GarageBand is able to do that as well.
 

Chrisman

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Dear cjmnews, Wow, this sounds complicated as usual. Im not so married to my Cassette-recorded music as to attempt the L/R individual recordings to get Stereo. But I might try with the single-pass approach. But let me ask in clarification: the 'cable' you mention would be bridging the deck's output RCA's to a USB ? And the not-cheap USB-microphone device also would bridge the stereo-headphone output of the Deck to a USB? What would I call this 'black box' were I to search for one ? As always, thank for your advising. Chrisman
 

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The headphone output of the cassette player is variable, where the RCA jacks on the back of a cassette deck would provide consistent sound that is better for recording. I recommend using the fixed RCA output from a cassette player instead of a headphone jack. Generally, no adjustments are needed to record this way, but if adjustments are needed the Microphone input level would be the thing to slightly adjust. The RCA cable: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001V5VCNM

If you need to use the headphone jack from the cassette player you would need a stereo cable with 3.5mm plugs (assuming the cassette player has the smaller jack) on both ends. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QF1VRPB You will also need to turn up the volume on the cassette player and test a few runs to make sure you don't get oversampled audio (too loud) or hard to hear audio (too soft). 3/4 volume should work for most cases, unless it is highly dynamic music. You also may need to adjust the Microphone input level.

The "black box" would need to be something like I linked above.
The VAlinks: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075F5VYG7 I can't tell if it can be used with a Mac, but I believe it should work with the Mac like the more expensive, and less functional: Andrea https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005K9WNPG or https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005LXGGM2 that looks Mac compatible.

I was searching for USB Microphone adapter stereo, and filtering out the ones that had Mono Microphones or were Windows only (took me 30 minutes to find the links above as I have to read the specifications, comments and questions and answers to find out if the microphone port is mono or not). You may also be able to find some with USB External Sound Cards. If the "black box" has a Line-In port it is definitely stereo.

Here is an article on the process: https://www.techradar.com/how-to/audio/how-to-convert-analogue-music-to-digital-on-a-mac-1326128
 

Chrisman

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Dear cjmnews, Wow, and thanks, again. I read the ''techRadar' article--very good, very detailed. As youve heard me sigh before, it's all so complicated to me. But I also looked at the 'Griffin' adapter gizmo which looks like a key piece of hardware. Incidentally, in the Amazon product depiction, they didnt specify that the 3.5 input ports were stereo, but youve suggested this would be standard---and neither did Amazon have the item in stock :eek:(( Oh, what would Life be without Projects ? Once again, thanks much for your thorough followup. Sincerely, Chrisman
 

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We have had a few exchanges here and there.

This is why I was researching alternative products to the Griffin and my prior experience is why I know that a stereo microphone is required.

Hopefully the links I found help you make a decision, or find someone with a sound card built into their computer that is willing to record the tapes.
 

Chrisman

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Dear cjmnews, It is just of late, with some free time, that Ive hoped to consolidate my good Casettes (mostly home recorded) into digital. Thanks again for your research on my behalf. Chrisman
 
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