Converting cassette tapes

My apologies if this has been asked before but…

I am running a WINXP device with the latest version of Audacity. I am using a separate cassette player playing cassettes running into the winxp machine via stereo headphone out and then stereo line in on the winxp machine.

What I am trying to do is convert several cassette audio tapes to individual MP3 files. I have Audacity recording fine. What I would like to know is if there is a way for audacity to automatically create individual files for each song as the cassette plays all the way through.Obviously we would like to have a file for each song, but I am think it is going to be some sort of manual “start record/end record/save” process. Any suggestions/comments?

This comes up regularly when someone realizes how much work it’s going to be to transfer all those records or tapes.

Audacity doesn’t do anything in real time except record, play and timer and in general, you only get one of each. Audacity does have a Batch system called Chains. But I don’t think you can chain live recording.

There is another slightly odder problem with doing what you want. The only good way to sense the gaps between songs is the silence, and tapes don’t have silence. [End Of Song] ffffffffffffffffffffffff [Beginning Of Song]. If by some miracle you managed to get one tape to work, it’s going to crash on the next one. It’s a given that you are trying to transfer 3-minute, dense, popular songs. Operas are hopeless. the first time somebody take a dramatic pause, you’re dead.

Vinyl records have the cat-hair pops between songs to mess them up, so this isn’t a day in the park for anybody.

So someone will correct me, but it doesn’t look good.


Assuming it might not be possible to split the long recording automatically, the next quickest way might be to add a label track and add a label at the start of each track.

By looking at the waveform, you should be able to see which sections are quiet. Then you can listen and check, and add a label if it really is the gap between songs. Then use Export Multiple to generate individual mp3 files by splitting at the label locations.

Then the next problem is that you’ll want to name all the exported files according to the song names, which will be tedious, but if you’re happy with them just named with the track numbers there are options to do that.

What I do is to drop a label at the gap between songs while I am listening - using the Ctrl+M shortcut.

Or if the LP/tape has a song listing with timings I sometimes set up the label track ahead of making the recording.

I subsequently adjust the label positions as part of my subsequent editing.

This is my workflow from the Manual:


What I do is to drop a lable at the gap between songs while I am listening - using the Ctrl+M shortcut.

Thanks that helps immensely…

How do you setup Audacity so that you can listen while you record?

:slight_smile: :smiley:

Basically to monitor the recording you need to activate Software Playthrough from the Transport menu - and make sure that the output device is targeted on you PCs speakers and not the USB tape deck.