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Converting cassette tapes to a digital audio format
Converting cassette tapes to a digital audio format
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Old 17th October 2020, 02:37 PM   #21
BasicHIFI1 is offline BasicHIFI1  Sri Lanka
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Location: Near Colombo
Quote:
The above pictures apply to "Oye Como Va" by Carlos Santana, converted from a cassette to CD.


The clipping was from the tape I got converted by a friend from cassette tape to CD. I guess he had the recording levels wrong. I get another chance now.


Bob, to avoid clipping is it enough to use the Audacity 'show clipping' feature and adjust accordingly?


Quote:
6. set playback volumes for digitization at peaks below 0DB - otherwise clipping
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Old 17th October 2020, 09:39 PM   #22
CaliforniaBob is offline CaliforniaBob  United States
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from my experience, as long as the analog output does not exceed 0DB
(according to the display VU meter - on all cassette decks) then you're OK.

I assume that audacity understands this - that some incoming signals
that is equal to 0DB does not clip. I assume audacity knows and does this.

A long time ago, some dolby encoded tapes added a dolby calibration tome
at the beginning of the tape to match the dolby marker on the VU meter
and as I recall, it was also 0DB or max the tape could output. this meant
that if your digital recorder could match it, you would not get clipping.

i would test all this, for one tape, match audacity to the loudest you find in,
say, the first minute. then find another tape section that is louder,
record it, then listen for distortion.

one of the bigger probems is that over the decades, using hundreds of different
tapes, the recorded levels is all over the territory.

I would then find the loudest record levels of a loud tape and match the
digitization to that. then almost all tapes will come in unclipped. some will
come in (digitized) with lower overall volume.

bottom line: its best to "under" then you coud use Audacity to UP levels. or
use some DAP's feature to equalize playback volume so you don't have to
adjust the volume for each track.

Last edited by CaliforniaBob; 17th October 2020 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 17th October 2020, 09:51 PM   #23
adason is offline adason  United States
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Analog tapes are typically recorded over 0dB in peaks.
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Old 17th October 2020, 10:04 PM   #24
MAAC0 is offline MAAC0  Portugal
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Just a hint:

Depending on which deck the tapes were recorded, I would after cleaning the heads adjust azimuth aligning for the tape inserted before recording. This ensures You get the last juice from the tape.

On earlier days I used to use Soundforge (now Sony Audiostudio), but I'm sure You are fine with any audio editor / recording software)

My brother is now experimenting doing the same thing but with old Video tapes.

Last edited by MAAC0; 17th October 2020 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 18th October 2020, 01:30 AM   #25
BasicHIFI1 is offline BasicHIFI1  Sri Lanka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaBob View Post
from my experience, as long as the analog output does not exceed 0DB
(according to the display VU meter - on all cassette decks) then you're OK.


I would then find the loudest record levels of a loud tape and match the
digitization to that. then almost all tapes will come in unclipped. some will
come in (digitized) with lower overall volume....


This sound like a good idea. If you are familiar with Audacity or any other software, are there any other settings that would help improve the tape sound? Noise reduction and equalization come to mind, as well as lowering the amplitude to a level where it does not clip.
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Old 18th October 2020, 01:45 AM   #26
BasicHIFI1 is offline BasicHIFI1  Sri Lanka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adason View Post
Analog tapes are typically recorded over 0dB in peaks.

Had a look at your site. As usual I find a whole lot of equipment that I cannot make head or tail of, as well as some Dire Straits album pictures, so I have one of those very albums to convert, "Brothers in Arms" maybe I will post a converted clip.


As an aside, is that an amplifier in a wooden case you have at the lower end of these pages: I think I can work with wooden cases for amplifiers but not metal ones. Metalwork at home is out of the question.



Audio Pages
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Old 18th October 2020, 07:00 AM   #27
Rick PA Stadel is offline Rick PA Stadel  United States
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You may draw unwanted attention from copyright holders by posting conversions of commercial recordings.

Maybe just a few bars here and there wouldn't get you in too much trouble.

Cheers
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Old 18th October 2020, 03:37 PM   #28
adason is offline adason  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliforniaBob View Post
from my experience, as long as the analog output does not exceed 0DB
(according to the display VU meter - on all cassette decks) then you're OK.

I assume that audacity understands this - that some incoming signals
that is equal to 0DB does not clip. I assume audacity knows and does this.

A long time ago, some dolby encoded tapes added a dolby calibration tome
at the beginning of the tape to match the dolby marker on the VU meter
and as I recall, it was also 0DB or max the tape could output. this meant
that if your digital recorder could match it, you would not get clipping.

i would test all this, for one tape, match audacity to the loudest you find in,
say, the first minute. then find another tape section that is louder,
record it, then listen for distortion.

one of the bigger probems is that over the decades, using hundreds of different
tapes, the recorded levels is all over the territory.

I would then find the loudest record levels of a loud tape and match the
digitization to that. then almost all tapes will come in unclipped. some will
come in (digitized) with lower overall volume.

bottom line: its best to "under" then you coud use Audacity to UP levels. or
use some DAP's feature to equalize playback volume so you don't have to
adjust the volume for each track.
How to make excellent recordings - The Walkman Archive
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Old Yesterday, 12:43 AM   #29
BasicHIFI1 is offline BasicHIFI1  Sri Lanka
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Near Colombo
Default A sample of the recording

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick PA Stadel View Post
You may draw unwanted attention from copyright holders by posting conversions of commercial recordings.

Maybe just a few bars here and there wouldn't get you in too much trouble.

Cheers

I have decided against hosting even a short clip of the recording, however I am posting a spectral analysis of a short clip, which tells its story. For comparison, a spectral analysis of another file, an .ogg file, from Track 2 of the Bee Gees "Main Course" album. High end is lacking, and it can be boosted satisfactorily with bass and treble. I will look at equalization after playing through my desktop system.
Attached Images
File Type: png BarryGibbNowVoyageTrack2.png (109.2 KB, 8 views)
File Type: png NightsOnBroadwayClip.png (51.2 KB, 7 views)

Last edited by BasicHIFI1; Yesterday at 12:50 AM. Reason: Added another pic
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Old Yesterday, 12:59 AM   #30
BasicHIFI1 is offline BasicHIFI1  Sri Lanka
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Getting this recording took some doing. The USB input as audio did not work with my laptop, either in Linux Mint or Windows 7. Maybe it was a defective cable (supplied with the kit) although the 'plug and play USB device' was detected. I had to resort to an old laptop with separate microphone and headphone jacks, the Compaq NX-7010 which seemed to have been a high end PC in its day: I bought it used as a temporary replacement when my laptop was out for repair.


The spec for the ports on the NX -7010, being sold on e-bay for around $35 without battery and hard disk. Not bad.



Quote:
1 x docking / port replicator
1 x audio - line-out/headphones - mini-phone 3.5 mm
1 x microphone - input - mini-phone 3.5 mm
1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11
1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45
1 x infrared IrDA
3 x USB 2.0 4 pin USB Type A
1 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire)

After getting an input signal I adjusted levels to reduce clipping to one or two rare occasions in the song. I played the entire tape through, stopping a tape mid way causes problems for the tape as I have found in the past, and recorded a large clip of several megabytes in .wav format.


I was surprised by the result. The tape played without any detectable wow and flutter, and as I recall at the correct speed. This I can check against the YouTube version. It was all there, the music from 36 years ago, I had occasionally listened to this tape in its highly muffled form a few years ago, but nothing like this. Definitely recoverable. CrO2 tape, it is, one of the first I think, and was played over 1,000 times at least.



The quality is acceptable, now if I can only get the USB connection working...

Last edited by BasicHIFI1; Yesterday at 01:07 AM. Reason: I sometimes lose the post
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