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Cassette To Computer


Patricia from CA wants to transfer her cassette music to her computer but is up against a problem.  She writes “I watched your video on transferring cassette to mp3.  I have a laptop that has a built-in microphone, it has a headphone jack but not a microphone jack. how do I hook up the cassette player to my laptop?  Thanks for your video and help.”

Hi, Patricia.  Thanks for the great question.  I’ll admit to being one of these who wants to move all of his music to his computer but haven’t even managed to get all of my CD’s over, let alone my records and tapes.

There are a couple of ways for you to do this.  One is to buy a 3.5mm plug to USB like this one:


This should cost you less than $10.  Download Audacity (if you don’t already have it), and change the microphone input to USB.  Remember to have your cassette player at a comfortable listening level or the music will sound distorted once you record it.  You can either record a track and save it or (my preferred method) record the entire side and then split it out into tracks.

Another method that will also allow you to transfer any records that you have is to buy a USB turntable.


These will cost you anywhere from about $40 to $400.  One note about going cheap on these things… I went cheap when I bought mine, and it turned out to have a weak right channel.  That means that any songs that have a lot of separation between the stereo channels will be quieter on the right speaker than on the left.  You also want to make sure that it has a headphone input (on the lower left of the one pictured above) to hook your cassette player to.  You will also need a 3.5mm to 3.5mm patch cord.  Then follow the instructions above and get your music.

I hope that this helps!

~ Randal Schaffer

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