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  1. #1

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    I have some cassettes of some of my songs from the '90s. I would like to transfer them to mp3. This should be easy but I am having a problem.

    First, some background.
    My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 15 3000. These laptops have only one headphone jack, no mic input jack. The standard workaround is a splitter cable. I have one but that doesn't seem to work. Worse, my laptop's microphone is picking up sound. (I can't seem to make that stop.)

    I want to rip the cassettes to Reaper, track by track, and go from there. But I can't seem to get ANY input from my cassette deck to Reaper. When I launch Reaper, the signal response is all triggered from sound the laptop mic is picking up. (My voice muttering, 'what the heck is going on here?')

    When I go to the laptop's Control Panel, I see no other option for sound input.

    I don't know what to do. I've looked at some YouTube videos but so far, none have proved helpful.

    Any ideas?

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  3. #2

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    Hammacher-Schlemmer sells cassette decks for this express purpose [hammacher.com]. They were on sale for half-price, so I got two. Uses a USB equipped memory stick (not included). Has a mic input as well. I've been going through my stuff for a coupe weeks, now, so I haven't actually converted any so far, but the reviews are good, so there's that. Good luck!

  4. #3

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    I recommend you not use the audio input on the Dell
    even if you get it working , its usually a mono mic input
    and they're noisey for line level anyway
    --------------------------------------
    if you're happy with your cassette deck
    buy a USB audio interface ....

    Behringer are good and cheap

    choose one with the inputs and ops types you need
    I just ordered one of these

    Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD – Thomann UK

    or this has rca inputs
    Behringer U-Control UCA202 – Thomann UK

    have a browse around there .....

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    I recommend you not use the audio input on the Dell
    even if you get it working , its usually a mono mic input
    and they're noisey for line level anyway
    --------------------------------------
    if you're happy with your cassette deck
    buy a USB audio interface ....

    Behringer are good and cheap

    choose one with the inputs and ops types you need
    I just ordered one of these

    Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD – Thomann UK

    or this has rca inputs
    Behringer U-Control UCA202 – Thomann UK

    have a browse around there .....
    Thanks for the suggestion!

    I was looking at those Behringers just now!
    My cassette deck is just a boombox. I never play tapes in it. (Until today, when I wanted to transfer some songs to mp3.) I just want to preserve those songs I have no other copies of. (Though some make me cringe to hear!) I think this interface, or something like it, may be the way to go.

    Because I'll also (later) want to plug my guitar into the laptop to add guitar tracks to Reaper. I have an old Behringer mixer from my 4-track days but it's not USB (and there's no RCA line in on my laptop, so....)

    This is definitely To Be Considered.

    Thanks, again!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Hammacher-Schlemmer sells cassette decks for this express purpose [hammacher.com]. They were on sale for half-price, so I got two. Uses a USB equipped memory stick (not included). Has a mic input as well. I've been going through my stuff for a coupe weeks, now, so I haven't actually converted any so far, but the reviews are good, so there's that. Good luck!
    Thanks for the suggestion!
    This seems way out of my league. I don't actually have a cassette deck. I don't even have a stereo anymore. I thought I didn't even have a cassette player at all until I noticed a boombox I bought my mom to play CDs on (-she's in assisted living now and doesn't want it with her so it's been collecting dust here with me for over a year) has a cassette player too. Simple headphone out. Nothing fancy, nothing audiophile. I really want to play a half-dozen or so cassettes once each to transfer them to digital.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I have some cassettes of some of my songs from the '90s. I would like to transfer them to mp3. This should be easy but I am having a problem.

    First, some background.
    My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 15 3000. These laptops have only one headphone jack, no mic input jack. The standard workaround is a splitter cable. I have one but that doesn't seem to work. Worse, my laptop's microphone is picking up sound. (I can't seem to make that stop.)

    I want to rip the cassettes to Reaper, track by track, and go from there. But I can't seem to get ANY input from my cassette deck to Reaper. When I launch Reaper, the signal response is all triggered from sound the laptop mic is picking up. (My voice muttering, 'what the heck is going on here?')

    When I go to the laptop's Control Panel, I see no other option for sound input.

    I don't know what to do. I've looked at some YouTube videos but so far, none have proved helpful.

    Any ideas?
    Hey there, Mark,

    If you’re mainly interested in archiving for posterity you can try an adapter cable from your boombox’s headphone jack to your computer’s mic input. I’m no audiophile, but I do enjoy good quality music and the cassettes I’ve copied sound decent to me.

    My father-in-law was an old time fiddler who passed away in 1985. About 2 years ago my wife found some of his cheapo cassettes and asked me if my gizmos could somehow get the sound of his voice and fiddle onto her imac. I played them on my Tascam cassette player and recorded the headphone output. Not bad. She was happy.

    If you have a friend with a better cassette player than your boombox you might try that.

    Good luck.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Thanks for the suggestion!

    I was looking at those Behringers just now!
    My cassette deck is just a boombox. I never play tapes in it. (Until today, when I wanted to transfer some songs to mp3.) I just want to preserve those songs I have no other copies of. (Though some make me cringe to hear!) I think this interface, or something like it, may be the way to go.

    Because I'll also (later) want to plug my guitar into the laptop to add guitar tracks to Reaper. I have an old Behringer mixer from my 4-track days but it's not USB (and there's no RCA line in on my laptop, so....)

    This is definitely To Be Considered.

    Thanks, again!
    ok Mark , understood ....
    I’ll let you know
    how the Behringer interface works out for me ....
    my one has guitar inputs line inputs and Mic input with phantom power

    very handy ....

    to transfer the cassette
    just use a 3.5mm jack to 2 x 1/4” jack lead into the line inputs
    (have a mini screwdriver handy to
    tweak the azimuth on the cassette deck)
    bon chance

  9. #8

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    Ebay has cassette decks that record directly to USB flash drives. Just plug in a flash drive, play the cassette, and it records directly to it. That would seem to be the easiest way to go. Or they have them that just have USB out, which you can connect to a computer and use software there. That's more trouble, but probably more versatile.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiebobcat
    Hey there, Mark,

    If you’re mainly interested in archiving for posterity you can try an adapter cable from your boombox’s headphone jack to your computer’s mic input. I’m no audiophile, but I do enjoy good quality music and the cassettes I’ve copied sound decent to me.
    Thank you for the suggestion.

    The problem I'm having is with my laptop's input. There is no mic input. I have a splitter cable but it doesn't seem to work. In this case---with these cassettes---I'm not looking for the best quality. Just preservation. But that route doesn't seem to work. I think I'll need an interface between the cassette deck and the laptop, one with a USB.

  11. #10

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    The Dell specs say that the headphone jack is also a mic input. I don’t know how that works but I assume if you plug the correct connector into it, it detects and uses it. But in any case it’s usually not much good feeding a headphone out signal into a mic input, they will be completely mismatched and sound bad.

    USB interface is definitely the way to go, especially if you already have Reaper and would also use it subsequently for recording your guitar.

  12. #11

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    I just bought a Berringer Xenyx 302USB to be able to use my condenser microphone as a USB input.

    It looks like it could work for your application.

    I did have to go into settings and select the Berringer instead of the computer mike.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    The Dell specs say that the headphone jack is also a mic input. I don’t know how that works but I assume if you plug the correct connector into it, it detects and uses it. But in any case it’s usually not much good feeding a headphone out signal into a mic input, they will be completely mismatched and sound bad.

    USB interface is definitely the way to go, especially if you already have Reaper and would also use it subsequently for recording your guitar.
    Thanks, Graham. I think you're right.
    I have a splitter cable which is what has been suggested about getting line input into a Dell laptop (with only a headphone jack). But the laptop doesn't recognize a TRRS 3.5 mm plug as an audio input device. (Same with a standard 3.5 mm headphone style plug.) It doesn't recognize it and thus doesn't give me the option of selecting THAT input rather than the laptop's built in mic. I've looked around and discovered this is an issue for other Dell users, many of whom seem to just get a USB audio interface and move along.

    And that's what I will do too. Something I can use with the guitar as well. (And a vocal mic.)

    Lots of choices, and many seem to be on backorder at Amazon and Musician's Friend. Not sure when I'll be able to get one into my hot little hands.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBGuitar
    I just bought a Berringer Xenyx 302USB to be able to use my condenser microphone as a USB input.

    It looks like it could work for your application.

    I did have to go into settings and select the Berringer instead of the computer mike.
    Yes, I think that would work.
    I have a small Behringer mixer from decades back but it has no USB, so I can't connect it to my laptop as is.
    I'm wondering if with a simpler USB interface I can run my mixer into it and then from that to the laptop.

    But this goes onto my list of possibilities. Thank you!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Yes, I think that would work.
    I have a small Behringer mixer from decades back but it has no USB, so I can't connect it to my laptop as is.
    I'm wondering if with a simpler USB interface I can run my mixer into it and then from that to the laptop.

    But this goes onto my list of possibilities. Thank you!
    Yes you can do that with this type of interface
    Behringer U-Control UCA202 – Thomann UK

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    Yes you can do that with this type of interface
    Behringer U-Control UCA202 – Thomann UK
    I ordered one. Technically, I 'reserved' one as they are on back order (Musician's Friend) and I won't be charged until they have it in stock to ship. So I'm not sure how long it will be before I have it. But I'm a-gettin' one.

    Thanks for the helpful advice.

  17. #16

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    Hey don't you have that thing for recording onto your phone with a guitar and aux input? Maybe I'm confused here... but you could use the aux input for your boombox and record it to your phone, then transfer the files.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I ordered one. Technically, I 'reserved' one as they are on back order (Musician's Friend) and I won't be charged until they have it in stock to ship. So I'm not sure how long it will be before I have it. But I'm a-gettin' one.

    Thanks for the helpful advice.
    great ! don’t hold your breath mine’s taking ages ....

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone
    Hey don't you have that thing for recording onto your phone with a guitar and aux input? Maybe I'm confused here... but you could use the aux input for your boombox and record it to your phone, then transfer the files.
    Well, Lawson, I never thought of that. Thank you for the suggestion!
    I will give that a whirl later and see how it goes.

    But I will still need a USB interface for my laptop so I can plug in my guitar and record into Reaper. Also, I have an old mixer (pre-USB) that I want to plug into the laptop too and will need an interface for that.

  20. #19

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    Transferring cassettes to mp3: Houston, we have a problem-dii-bmp

    Someone beat me to it,
    but looks like you got it.

  21. #20

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    I suspect there's a way to wire a jack so that it is detected as an external mic, but I don't know how to do it.

    If you want to record guitar in to reaper, one good way is with an audio interface like the Focusrite 2i2, which sells for about $110.

    Reaper, on my Dell laptop, recognized it instantly. It has been a pleasure to use. Pretty much transparent. That is to say, it feels like it becomes part of the computer. I plug into it, start playing and I can see it in Reaper. Plug my headphones into the Focusrite (or plug it into an amp and speaker) and you can play back from the computer into it. Seamless.

    The only thing I'd add is that how ever many channels you get, you may end up wishing you had more.

    But, while sheltering in place and contributing tracks to tunes which are being assembled elsewhere, two tracks is more than enough.

    Reaper seems to work great, with none of the latency headaches I had a couple of years ago using Ableton Live.
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 06-01-2020 at 06:39 PM.