Cassette to MP3 conversion

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Murray

Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by Murray » Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:50 pm

Wotcha.

I bought one of those ION Express cassette to MP3 converters last week, and once I uninstalled the crummy transfer programme that came with it and installed Audacity and Lame, things have been decent enough. But the last two cassettes I’ve tried transferring have really suffered from sections sounding all warbly and under-watery. I did wonder whether it was the age of the tapes, but whilst they are 10 or 11 years old, they’ve only ever been played once or twice. Also, when I listen to the tapes through headphones, they sound fine with no warbliness.

Anyone else ever used one of these and had similar probs, or anyone got any hints and tips?

Thanks

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Re: Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by moopind » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:00 pm

I just played cassettes on an old hifi separate plumbed into the socket on the back of my PC and recorded them using Audacity and it worked very well (once I'd set the levels).
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Gordon
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Re: Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by Gordon » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:13 pm

If they're playing fine through headphones, they should play fine via direct line out to your soundcard. Is there anyway you can do it directly from walkman or hifi?
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bulgariandisco
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Re: Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by bulgariandisco » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:40 pm

It could be that the audio is 'out of phase'. When you listen on headphones you're obviously getting better stereo separation so it's not as evident. On speakers you hear the two 'legs' cancelling each other out - it would likely sound even worse if you were to monitor it in mono. With out of phase audio, stuff 'disappears' when you mono it up; cheap karaoke systems use this to try to get rid of vocals on mixed original recordings, it sometimes works but you can usually hear the reverb of the vocal.

You could try phase reversing one leg in Audacity, though it might not work, particularly if the problem is in the original recording/mix. There's an old track of mine where the hi hats 'swish' madly around in stereo, that I can't fix no matter what I try. A tragic loss to the world of pop I'm sure. If you want to send me one of your files I'll have a listen though.

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Murray

Re: Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by Murray » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:20 am

Thanks for the replies.

Unfortunately I don’t have a separate tape player. Well, I do, a lovely Sony one, but it’s been completely jammed shut for years after a friend of an ex lent us a tape saying it had some great stuff on it but all I heard was Simply Red before the mechanism chewed it up. Gah! That’s why I had to get the Ion cassette system as I had nothing else to play the tape on. As I can plug my Ipod earphones in to it, does this mean I could get a lead to plug it straight in to the PC rather than via the USB connector? If so, what sort of lead would I need to ask for at my friendly, local electrical superstore?

Dr Knob; your reply goes beyond my technical knowledge. Will you be at pub club tonight when we could maybe discuss the issue in layman’s terms over a pint of something tasty?

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bulgariandisco
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Re: Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by bulgariandisco » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:20 pm

I thought those were laymans terms! I can't make it to pub club tonight, sadly.

I think the problem is unlikely to be with the USB out of the Ion, it's more likely the original recording onto the tape. If the heads of a tape player aren't lined up properly, then music recorded on that machine will sound OK on that machine (as it's playing back in the same way it was recorded, if you follow) but on another machine it'll sound warbly as that machine's heads are lined up differently. Over speakers it'll be more noticeable. It's all to do with how the two waveforms (left and right) affect each other.

If you want me to have a listen, maybe pass the tape to one of 'ver Pocketbooks or Ms Makra tonight. Hopefully I'll be at their 'Album Spectacular' on Friday, or M works round the corner from me. Send me an mp3 too if you like so I can hear what you're hearing when it's processed. Then, I'll probably say 'sorry, I dunno how to fix it Murray'!

Murray

Re: Cassette to MP3 conversion

Post by Murray » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:38 pm

bulgariandisco wrote:I thought those were laymans terms!
bulgariandisco wrote:You could try phase reversing one leg in Audacity
I did that, lost my balance and spilt cooking sherry all over the desk!

Anyway, thank you, that did indeed make more sense. I'll be at the 'Books launch for world domination on Friday too, so I'll corner you then. Something for you to look forward to!

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