Get rid of those old boxes of tapes and digitize your audio cassettes

I got an email this week from a reader asking how to digitize audio cassettes. I’m guessing he wants to make sure the recordings don’t disintegrate from old age. Also, cassette players aren’t exactly commonplace these days.

It’s not really hard to turn those analog cassette tapes into decent-sounding audio files that are playable on any computer, smartphone or tablet.

You’ll need just a few things: a working cassette player, the right cable to connect it to the audio input of your computer, a free audio recording app called Audacity and a box of old cassettes.

Start by downloading and installing Audacity. Then figure out which port on your computer is used to import audio. It might be a light blue 3.5 mm input on the back of your PC. Mac users will likely find it’s combined with their headphone jacks.

You’ll have to do a bit of research on the type of audio input you have.

Once the cassette player and your computer are connected, you launch the Audacity software and start the cassette player to see whether they’re talking to each other and happy.

If you want to make things a bit easier, look for a cassette player with a USB interface that you can plug directly into the USB port on your PC or Mac for easy recording.



Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at