downloading and install

I am 73 yrs old and have many music albums on cassette. I just want to be re-assured of how to do this process to get them on my laptop to make a cd of all that music as I am not a pro at these types of things. First, I have HP 64 bit W10 Pavillion laptop. I have read many of these “transcribing” programs mess up the W10 system but yours said it is good for W10 32 bit but I have 64 bit. If ok, just download your program and accept defaults if asked questions. Then I have an old cassette player that I take the earphone jack from that and put into my microphone/earphone combo jack on the laptop…Open your program and Press play on the cassette player and the laptop program will “hear” the music and convert it to a format that I can then make a cd of. Am I on the right path? Thank you for your patience and help.

  1. Audacity runs fine on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.

  2. The current version of Audacity for Windows is 2.3.0, which you can get here:
    The link that you need is the first one “Audacity 2.3.0 installer (25.46 MB, includes help files)”

  3. To install Audacity, just run the installer and accept the defaults.
    For making CDs you do NOT need the optional “LAME” or “FFmpeg” add-ons.

  4. Connecting a cassette player to the microphone/earphone combo jack on the laptop is not ideal, but “may” work. The problem with doing this with SOME laptops is the the jack socket is too sensitive and it can be difficult to get the level from the cassette player low enough to avoid distortion. (The signal level from an actual microphone is around 1000 x lower than the output from a headphone socket). However, SOME laptops have a more general purpose input that can accept either a mic, or a higher level signal such as a cassette player. Unfortunately there is often no way to tell other than by trying it. Ensure that you start with the headphone level very low - if the laptop socket is for microphone only, playing the cassette loudly into it could cause damage.

If you find that you can’t get the level from the cassette player low enough, then an inexpensive alternative is to use a USB “line level” audio device (such as a Behringer UCA-202, which costs around $30, and has very good sound quality. I have one myself :wink:).

  1. Read the documentation.
    There’s a lot of good information in the Audacity manual about transferring cassettes to CD. The manual is included in Audacity, and there is also an on-line version. See this section:

Good luck, and enjoy. If you get stuck, feel free to ask.

Thank you very much. Much to read and learn.

Oh, and one other thing that I’d recommend - don’t start with your best, favourite tapes. You will probably find that the quality of your recordings improves a lot when you’ve had a bit of practice :wink:

Again, thank you…started reading and got sort of lost just reading so think I sill do on another laptop that has a separate input for mic and maybe doing will not seem as overwhelming…Was hoping you just used a menu to ask like New import and point to connected casette and press play and off it goes…I am sure with time I will get it. Does it ask you where you want to save the imported files…like windows media player?

OK, so here’s a basic, but important concept about Audacity:

Audacity works with “Projects”.
An Audacity Project consists of two parts: A “Project file”, and a “_data folder”.

The Project file is a single text file, with specially formatted instructions for Audacity. You should never manually edit this file outside of Audacity.

The “_data folder” has the same name as the project, with “_data” appended to the end of the name. Inside this folder is the audio data that is used by the project. Never manually change this folder outside of Audacity. This folder contains lots of other folders, which contain the audio as little snippets of audio data. You should never interfere with these.

Audacity never works directly on audio files. Audio may be “imported” into the project from a file, “recorded” into the project, or “generated” in the project.

An Audacity Project may contain multiple audio tracks, label tracks, note tracks, time tracks, and other stuff, but generally you don’t need to worry about that - just let Audacity manage it.

To get an audio file out from Audacity, you “Export” the audio from the Project.

It is not always necessary to Save a project, but if you do, then Audacity saves the entire structure of the project as well as saving the audio in the _data folder.

You WILL always want to Export your recorded audio. That’s the only way to get a normal audio file that will work in other programs.
It’s generally a good idea to Export a backup copy of your recording immediately after you stop the recording. If anything goes wrong while editing or cleaning up the recording, you will then have the backup copy and won’t need to re-record.

The way I think of it is:
Open / Save - Projects.
Import / Export - Audio files.

When you have recorded something:
“File menu > Export > Export as WAV”

(for making CDs, you will normally use WAV files as they are excellent quality, and compatible with just about everything.)

By the way, a nice thing about Audacity on Windows is that if you inadvertently mess everything up, it is easy to reset Audacity completely, so don’t worry about experimenting or making mistakes.

I am pretty proud of what I have been able to do…not perfect but its recording from the Cassette as I type this reply. After I finish recording the only way I found to save was to do a File>Exit and it asked me if I wanted to save and I said yes. Then I went into the Audacity file>export as a .wav file. (not sure that was the exact path). Now on the list shows the file as a .wav and I right clicked it and selected to open with Windows Media Player. I was able to play it on WMP but now did not save there (have to learn that ) and then I would imagine once in the library of my WMP I can burn to CD and then to ITunes>iPhone. Not sure how big this .wav file can be to burn to one CD or how to tell how big it is just yet. Whew!!
I did not get into any editing of the sound as that seems like a multi day of trial and error. Do you edit the Audacity file for sound quality and then redo the .wav file or edit the wav file? My guess is the audacity file is the one. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your detailed help. I have many to do and some cherished ones of my children when they were young and in school plays and want to do this for them.
Anything else you think of just add to this post or message me - always willing to learn but hate the learning curve. :slight_smile:

As a follow up, not too clear how but i have the file now playing on WMP but it is only one big 54 min file…no song listings…hummmm. Is this because the tape I am copying is a created playlist tape and not an original recorded tape? Hope this is all making you smile…I am trying to…old dog new tricks!

The easiest way to save a project is with:
“File menu > Save Project > Save Project (Ctrl + S)”

The easiest way to export a WAV file is with:
“File menu > Export > Export as WAV”

Excellent :slight_smile: That means that the WAV file is correctly saved (“Exported”).

First, export a backup copy of the original recording that you’ve just made(just in case),
Then, edit that audio track (it’s already in Audacity).
If the recording is good quality, you may not need to do much more than trim the start and end, though there’s a lot that you can do if you feel more ambitious (such as Noise Reduction). You’ve always got the backup WAV file in case you make a mess of the editing :wink:

It’s because the recording is just one long file.

To get separate tracks on the CD, you need to make one audio file for each song, and then use the CD burning software to put the tracks in the order that you want on the CD.

Sounds like you’re doing great so far :slight_smile:
Here’s the instructions in the manual for splitting that long recording into separate files:

I created and saved the project and back up and wav file. Now I want to re-record the first 5 minutes of one of the files. I open the .aud file and start recording but it jumps to the end of the recording and not OVER recording at the beginning (which is what I am trying to do)…Can you not do this? My recording has as terrible hissssss thru out.might be the turning of the cassette recorder. . I tried noise reduction and played the beginning where all you here is this hissss so I think that identified it and said again to apply that and I think I lost most of the file…did not save…any suggestions? Last thing…how do you advance through the adu file so I can delete sections. don’t see a fast forward and only see a minute or so on the screen to jump to…what am I missing? …boy this experience is a real challenge!

You can’t record before, or into an existing track.
You can record onto the end of the track (and then cut and paste it somewhere else), or
You can record to a new track (hold Shift key down and Click the Record button, or press “Shift + R”).

Probably the easiest is:

  1. Click the “Mute” button on the first track
  2. Click the “Rewind” (<<) button to go to the start.
  3. “Shift + R” to record the first 5 minutes.
  4. Click the “Mute” button on the first track again so that it is un-muted.
  5. Use the Time Shift tool to slide the first track to the right so that it starts at the end of the second track.

Tip: To get a really good (seamless) join from the second track to the first, you could use the “Crossfade Tracks” effect. See:

Is there more hiss than when you listen to the tape playing directly on the cassette player? If so, then the mic input of your laptop may be contributing some hiss. (The mic input on my laptop produces extreme amounts of hiss, which is why I never use it for recording - I use a USB audio interface instead).