Recording from VHS to Computer Hard Drive


This may be a most unusual question that I have, but I’ll give it a shot…

I have several videotapes of recorded content from radio talk shows. No video involved, I just used the 6 hour videotapes to record audio. This involves mostly music played from the radio program. I have several videotapes like this that probably involves about 20+ hours of songs.

I would like to copy these songs from the videotapes onto blank CDs so I can play them in my car. The only CD recorder I have is on my Dell Vostro 260 Mini-Tower.

Is there any easy way that I can do a playback of these videotapes (I have VCR machines) and patch them into the computer to record them on the computer’s hard drive? If I can do this, I should be able to then burn them onto blank CDs from the hard drive.

I would think that I could patch the VCR into the audio inputs of the computer? If so, would that old Windows program, “Sound Recorder” be able to record these songs for me to subsequently burn onto CDs? Or could tihs be accomplished with my Audacity 2.0 program?

Thanks for any help anyone can offer,

If your VCR machine has a dedicated audio-only output you can follow, but this requires either a proper line-in (blue) on the computer (separate from mic in), or the mic input must be “compatible” (detects stronger line level stereo signals without distorting them).

If you don’t have such an input you can buy a Behringer UCA 202 or similar. See


The only CD recorder I have is on my Dell Vostro 260 Mini-Tower.

That’s perfect!

Audacity won’t burn the CD, so you’ll need to use Windows media Player or another application, (I use [u]ImgBurn[/u].)

the 6 hour videotapes…

… so I can play them in my car.

A regular audio CD can hold up to about 80 minutes of audio. If your car stereo supports MP3, you can store about 5 times as much high-quality MP3 music on a a CD.

If you want to make MP3s with Audacity you’ll need the optional [u]LAME MP3 encoder[/u].

Another advantage to MP3 is that “tagging” with artist/title/album information, etc, is better supported. If your car stereo can display that information, it’s a nice feature, or if you play the CD in a computer, you’ll also see that information. (You will have to enter that information manually.)

Of course, the “disadvantage” to MP3 is that it’s lossy compression. But, a good quality (high bitrate) MP3 will usually sound identical to the original. Still, you may want to keep a lossless archive (WAV or FLAC, etc.). FLAC is lossy compression so the files are smaller, and tagging is better supported compared to WAV.