I’ve had a couple of questions lately about transferring cassette tapes to digital files on your PC.

It’s not necessarily difficult to do, but it is time-consuming since music on a cassette tape is in analog form and must be transferred in real time. However long it takes to play the song is how long it will take to transfer it to digital. You’ll also have to stop down between each song if you want them as separate files or cut them up later with a digital audio editing program.

But you should first ask yourself if it’s truly worth your time.  If the music is available in a digital format, you are probably better off to just repurchase it. Not just because of the time it takes to transfer, but also because the quality of a cassette tape begins to deteriorate after a few years.  Unless it’s a one-of-a-kind recording, it’s likely not worth the effort unless you really enjoy a project.

If you still want to copy cassettes to a digital format, there are a couple of ways to go about it. If you already have a cassette player with RCA audio outputs, you can try a cable like the EasyLink 2.0 audio grabber cable. This would also work with a turntable to transfer albums, an 8-track, or a CD player if your PC doesn’t have a CD drive for direct transfer. Plug the audio cables into your stereo and the USB end into your PC or Mac. At the time of this writing, it was $16 on Amazon. Click here to check it out.

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I like this device because it also has a 3.5 mm jack. That means you can plug that into an old Walkman or any device with just a 3.5 mm headphone output and record the audio from that as well.  Some cables of this type only offer either the RCA cables or the 3.5 mm output and this one offers both.

If you don’t currently own a cassette player, there are models like the DigitNow Cassette to MP3 Converter that allow you to convert the music to an MP3 file and save to a microSD card on the device. It’s also Bluetooth compatible, so you can actually stream music from the device. As of this writing, it’s $40 on Amazon. I’d suggest doing the transfer, though. Those tapes won’t last forever.  Click here to check out that device.

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At around half the list price, you can get the Reshow Super USB Cassette Capture for $21.99. It allows you to transfer from the headphone jack to USB. Click here to check it out.