[futurebasic] Re: [FB] [X-FB] Recording sounds from tape

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From: Sylvain Guillemette <allmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999 12:32:08 -0400
>Joe Lewis Wilkins wrote:
>> Rick Brown wrote:
>> > I would like to transfer some pre-recorded sounds from cassette tape to
>> > my Mac's hard drive.  I would imagine this would involve some kind of
>> > special patch cord into the Mac's microphone input.  Has anyone had any
>> > experience doing this?
>> Sure have. About 300 Hymns and Melodies. Just connect the cassette's "ear" to
>> the Mac's "mike".
>Thanks for the quick reply.  Does this mean that I can just use a male-to-male
>stereo miniplug on both ends, without any attenuation?  This surprises me,
>because I thought the cassette's stereo headphone output would be an amplified
>signal, so I was kind of afraid to plug it directly into the mike's input, which
>I assumed would expect an unamplified signal.  Is it necessary to set the
>cassette's ouptut volume low when doing this?
>Thanks again,
>- Rick


I'm a guitarist with a home-studio based on a G3 with very hi quality audio cards installed (Korg 12/12, Lexicon etc.). I'm using Cubase VST 24bit with a truckload of VST plugins. Reference amplifier and near-field monitors etc.

You don't need all that to _convert_ cassette tapes to your HD, the Mac's built-in audio card is very impressive (if its 16 bit of course). BUT ! The signal/noise ratio of your recordings from a tape will be bad if you don't follow my advices :-)

To get the best results:

1) Use the best tape player you can find

2) Demagnetize the tape player's heads

3) _Always_ use the line out of the tape player, not the headphone plug ! (generally, headphone amplifiers generates even more distortion on low end machines). The line out will give you a clean, 1.5 volt signal that your Mac's audio card will be happy with.

4) _Always_ digitalize at 16 bit even if you want your final sounds to be 8 bit. SoundEdit is far from being the best tool to down-sample to 8 bit, but if you use it, don't check the 'Boost High' option.

5) Try to record without and with Dolby B (with Dolby B you'll loose clarity but you'll hear less background noise)

6) _Never_ record above the zero-line, we're not in the analog domain here. All you'll get is more distortion.

7) If you have SoundEdit 16 or any other audio software that supports this function, do a 'Normalize' on your just-recorded sound to boost the signal near _0_ while keeping the noise floor down. Do this _before_ you down-sample to 8 bit!

There are other things you could do like compression etc., but it would require some expensive softwares.

Hope this helps,