How to digitize an audio cassette

Before you start

  1. Push the power button in on the TASCAM CD-A750. You should see an orange-lettered display above the CD player at left.
  2. Make sure the MONITOR slider on the TASCAM CD-A750 (between the EJECT button and the PHONES jack) is set to TAPE.
  3. Make sure the MODE slider on the TASCAM CD-A750 (just under the PLAY and READY buttons) is set to TAPE.
  4. Make sure the REV MODE slider on the TASCAM CD-A750 (to the right of the MODE slider) is set to the middle setting, which plays both sides of the tape and then stops.
  5. Push button IN 3 on the MT-VIKI switch dedicated to audio (note: not the one dedicated to video! You want the button labeled CASSETTE, not VHS). Audio Switch

Audacity and its settings

  1. Start the Audacity software by clicking on the Audacity logo Audacity logo in the ribbon at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Check that the following settings are correct:
    • The button bar should read, left to right: “Windows WASAPI,” “Line In (TASCAM US-366),” “2 (Stereo) Recording,” “Speakers (TASCAM US-366).” Audacity button bar
    • At bottom left, Project Rate (Hz) should read “44100.”

Digitizing

  1. Push the EJECT button on the TASCAM CD-A750 to open the tape drawer (please remove any cassette accidentally left inside and take it to SLIS Library staff)
  2. Put your cassette in tape-side down and with the first side facing out.
  3. Press the rewind button. Rewind button Rewinding will stop automatically when it reaches the start of the tape.
  4. Click the Record button in Audacity. Audacity record button
  5. Press the rightmost PLAY button (arrow pointing right) Play button on the TASCAM CD-A750. Wait a minute or so to be sure Audacity is capturing the audio; most cassettes start with a silent section.
  6. You can monitor the sound with the Audio-Technica headphones, or by watching the blue lines jump around in Audacity.
  7. When the tape stops playing, click the Stop button in Audacity. AudacityStopButton
  8. Save your file (to your own USB stick or USB hard drive) by going to File > Export Audio. We recommend exporting to 16-bit WAV or AIFF (not mp3). If you plan to do more work on the file with Audacity, you can save it as an Audacity project (*.aup).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the Desktop on the computer. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving audio or video files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly, and possible cause your digitization process to fail if the file size is very large. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

Post-digitization clean-up

If you wish, you can eliminate lengthy sections of audio silence in Audacity by clicking on Effects > “Truncate Silence” then clicking the OK button.

When you’re done

  1. Remove the tape and take it with you – people do forget!
  2. Make sure you have all your files on your USB stick/hard drive.
  3. Push the Power button on the TASCAM CD-A750 to turn it off.
  4. Exit Audacity.

Troubleshooting

I can hear the cassette through the headphones, but Audacity isn’t capturing anything!

Check the MT-VIKI audio switch. Was button 3 pushed?