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Some tips can help to make cassette tape-to-computer recording easier and the quality of the results higher. Something small, such as cleaning a cassette before using it, can make a difference in the quality of the sound. Similarly, the type of playback device used can have a dramatic effect, especially if the machine is older. The type of cables and even the sound card inside the computer making the recording can all potentially change how the final recording will sound. Having a well prepared computer to actually receive and process the audio from the tape also can help to make the transfer run more easily and ensure that no unexpected situations arise.
Good hardware on which to play the cassette can make a significant difference when performing tape-to-computer recording. Some devices, such as small portable players, might not have enough power to create a signal strong enough to generate good quality audio inside the computer’s sound card. Larger stereo systems, especially ones with an amplifier attached, are a much better option. The type of cable used to connect the audio system to the computer also can increase the quality if the connectors are plated in special metals.
When starting a tape-to-computer recording, the output volume on the machine playing the cassette tape needs to be carefully monitored. Generally, the output needs to be loud enough to transmit through the sound card of the computer, but not too loud. Too high of a volume can cause distortion that will reduce the quality of the tape-to-computer recording. Volume is really just electricity, so it is vital to be aware of what is going on to prevent the stereo from damaging the computer sound card.
One of the most important parts of tape-to-computer recording is the software used to make the recording. Although many operating systems come with some type of program that can record sound from the computer’s microphone jack, they are often very limited in their editing abilities. The audio program used should be able to equalize the sound coming in during the recording process and also provide editing abilities to clean up the recording later and possibly even export it to a useable file format.
Some other tips for tape-to-computer recording are to make individual recordings of separate tracks on a cassette, because the smaller files will be easier to manage than having one very large file of the entire tape. The hard drive on the computer being used for recording should have a large amount of free space available, because some audio files can be very big, and the actual audio software might need extra space to use as a temporary buffer while recording the sound. Finally, the original audio files should be saved on physical media and stored, just in case a problem arises in editing or elsewhere and eventually destroys the working copies of the files on the computer’s hard drive.
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