Advice for starting a large cassette to digital project


I am using Audacity 2.3.0 and I need to convert more than a thousand cassette tapes of conference speech to digital files. I am hoping to think through this at the beginning to reduce the chances of having to go back and start over as well as streamline the process. I am not as concerned about the perfection of the digital recording quality, but need to establish a consistent procedure for capturing each tape and saving the file in a format that is useful at the end.

I have numerous questions and not sure if the forum is the best place to ask all of them. Is there anyone out there that can provide oversight to my project (primarily offering advice and answering questions) for a fee?

Thank you,



and this set of tiuorials:


Thank you very much. I do have a couple of questions that I didn’t see the answer for:

  1. Once I get a noise profile created, does that profile apply to every recording? Or do I have to create a new profile for each cassettes?

  2. I am using a nice Yamaha component tape deck that has an auto-reverse feature which flips the tape when it reaches the leader tape at the end of the first side. How do I get audacity to stop recording when all of the speech on the second side is done? Are there any tools for unattended recording?

  3. I will create and export each recording as a 32-bit .wav file. What else will be necessary to play back these recordings? Do I convert to a .mp3 format? If so, is that something I do for each recording or is it something I can do in a batch later on?

Thanks again very much for your help.


The noise profile is very important as it tells the effect which frequencies it should try to remove. If the noise profile does not match the actual noise in the audio that it is being applied to, then the effect will remove the wrong sounds. The closer the “profile” matches the actual noise, the better.

If you know the duration that you want to record, you can use Timer Record: Timer Record - Audacity Manual

A lot of media players won’t play 32-bit float WAV files, so you will probably need a copy in another format.
There are pros and cons to each type of audio file format. The most commonly supported formats are 16-bit WAV and MP3 (CBR encoded). More information about audio file formats can be found here: Export Formats supported by Audacity - Audacity Manual

While it is possible to convert a load of 32-bit float WAV files to another format as a batch process, I’d recommend doing the exports in each format that you require as you go, so as to save yourself a job later.

My understanding is that the noise profile is retained until you shut down Audacity -or resample a noise profile.

If you are convinced that all your cassettes exhibit the same “noise” (and are you sure about that) - then you could create a small project with just the “noise” that you could re-open and resample each time you launch Audacity afresh

Yes, you can use Timer Record: Timer Record - Audacity Manual

MP3s arr compressed files - so some audiop data is thrwon away - they become smaller than WAV files, thir main use is for portable music players and for websites. Fo personal hi-fi use WAV ois better.

Any reason why you want 32-bit WAV as your final production format - 16-bit WAV 44.100kHz is Red Book CD standard and iplays on a wider range of players and applications?