Turning Albums and Tapes into MP3s

Just about everyone has at least a few albums and cassette tapes lying around the attic or basement, too precious to throw out. Maybe they're bootleg concert tapes, or a treasured collector's item.

If you look at your computer's audio input area - near where your speakers are plugged in - you'll probably find that along with the "out" to the speakers are also an "in". If you have a great sound card your results will be better than with a cheap one, but even the lowest end sound card will get you reasonably good results.

You'll need to run a cable from the output of your stereo system (the speakers out ports) into that input on your computer. Invest in good quality cables here - they're not that expensive and can make a big difference in the final audio quality.

There are many software packages that you can buy or download that record in MP3 files. You can download MusicMatch for free, or get Microsoft's WMA software. If you're going to do this with files that really matter to you, like tapes of your childhood, it would be worth it to pay for Easy CD Creator or other audio software that has a wide array of noise-cleaning features.

Turn off all other software on your machine, and make sure the needle or cassette player are clean. Now start the software recording, and start the music going. Most software packages will show an equalizer display during recording so you can watch how things are going. Play with the settings until the resulting file is how you want it, and then enjoy!

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