Transferring LPs and Cassettes to CD

Current hardware and software has reached the point where transferring LPs and cassettes to CD is fast and easy (well, straightforward anyway)...and the software is free!

The first thing to do is get a copy of the free sound editor Audacity.

[Alert! Lately I've found I have to click on an audacity/sourceforge link twice. The first time I click on it, it fails with a 404 Error, making me think the link is broken or was not coded properly. However, when I click on it again, it works the way it should.]

There are two parts to the process:

  1. transferring the music to the computer and
  2. breaking up the music into individual tracks.

Transferring Music To The Computer

Connecting Equipment

The usual way to do this is to connect a cassette deck or a stereo system to the computer. Eventually, I'll put up my own set of instructions. In the meantime, this webpage is an excellent guide.

Once the equipment is connected, Audacity can be used to capture the music by following these instructions.

Using an mp3 player

Another way to transfer music involves an mp3 player with a line-in input. The cassette deck or stereo system is connected to the mp3 player so that the LP or cassette can be recorded to the mp3 player. The mp3 player can then plugged into one of the computer's USB ports to transfer the music to the computer. I've done this a few times, but find I get better results connecting audio equipment directly to my computer. My mp3 players don't have the kind of level meters I need to judge the quality of my recordings.

Breaking Up The Music Into Individual Tracks

The instructions in the previous section create a single music file that contains the entire cassette or LP. This file could be burned to a CD, but it would produce a CD with a single track. The step that I find most tedious is this next one--breaking up the music into individual tracks. It's not hard, just tedious. The Audacity website contains a good set of instructions. Basically, it involves

To remove a label,

While this step is tedious, it turns out that there is a simple procedure in Audacity to automate it!

Now that the cassette or LP has been transferred to the computer as individual tracks, any CD burning software can be used to create the CD.