Author Topic: In search of: hardware & software music archiver  (Read 626 times)

ambient789

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In search of: hardware & software music archiver
« on: June 18, 2012, 10:51:44 PM »
Hi,

Haven't been here for a long time. All told, I've been a bit of a techno-holdout.    :-\

I have two general options to consider:

One:

I'm wanting a device that can archive audio tape to MP3 files or maybe a CDR.

I have seen a device about the size of a Sony Walkman that can hook into a computer via USB and make the files, but these are inexpensively priced ($50USD or lower) so I don't know how good the sound quality is.

There is a rather expensive device from TEAC ($400 USD) that can record to CD from tapes all in one unit.

Are their options between these extremes?

Also, while i **don't** advocate illegal copying, I do have some unique things (semi-classical music tapes made by a very generous musician/university professor - now since dead) that I would to transfer to another medium to keep them accessible to me.

I'm not a musician myself. I was just in 2 general education classes he taught.

Anyway, I guess it's probably time for me to move from tape/disc/file to at least disc/file.    :D

I don't want to deal with a music server or anything pretaining to "cloud services" for right now. I don't have much bandwidth either, and can't change that for right now.     :(

Two:

I have also found out that the Audacity software might be worth a try. It would let me export the files to .wav format (I prefer this format) so I could burn them to CD too. A brief search of the forum indicated that some forum users liked it. Are there any pitfalls/quirks that I should look out for if I decide to use it? Any useful "hacks?"

I have also been looking the Audacity online manual!!!

Thanks.



mgriffin

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Re: In search of: hardware & software music archiver
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2012, 08:45:39 AM »
Sorry, I meant to reply earlier.

Transferring cassettes to your computer for digital archiving involves several components. It may be possible to purchase a solution that combines these (for example, a tape deck with a USB interface and included computer software for editing your files) or you may be able to piece them together separately.

First, you need a playback unit. If you already have a good quality cassette player, or can borrow one, that takes care of that.

Second, you need a computer interface with DA converter to convert the analog sound output of the cassette player to digital files on the computer. Again, if you have a cassette player with a USB interface, that would include the first and second components.

Third, you need computer software to edit your files and possibly apply processing such as EQ, noise reduction and level adjustment. Audacity would be a very good place to start as it's free and fairly powerful. Though I have more advanced audio editing software for both Mac and PC, I find myself using Audacity at times for simple things like cutting off silence from the beginning and end of tracks, or taking a short section from a track (with a short fades at the beginning and end) to create sample clips. Audacity is straightforward and you shouldn't need any tricks or hacks to get it to do what you want.

If it were me, and I didn't already have a studio full of gear that would accomplish this, I'd try to do the conversion without purchasing a bunch of equipment I'll never use again. Assuming you already have a good cassette player or can borrow one, I would download Audacity (again, free) and then the only expenditure would be a low-end USB audio interface with analog inputs. You could get one of these for $50 or maybe even less by now. Install the drivers for this on your computer, play the tapes through the interface into your computer and record the result in Audacity. Edit as needed, save edited files in WAV, and burn audio CDRs for playback and data CDRs for backup, and you're all done for only $50 total expenditure. Using this setup, the only limiting factor in terms of sound quality will be the playback quality of the tape deck, so use the best one you can.
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