Is there a program out there that will convert my old cassette tapes or vinyl records to CD?
The short answer is yes. There is a program out there that will record cassette tapes or vinyl records to CD. Today, I will show you how. If you have the right software and the right cords, getting your cassettes and Vinyl onto your computer, then onto CDs, is a pretty easy task. Just follow the steps below and you will be on your way to bringing your audio into the 21st century!
What you need: To make the conversion, you will need a (free) audio recording program, a tape or record player and a cord to connect the device to your computer. Here’s a breakdown:
1. Audacity. This is the program that will record your audio to your computer.
2. LAME-encoder. This is a file that will convert your audio to MP3.
3. A record player or cassette player. Hopefully you already have one of these.
4. A cord to connect the player to your computer.
Let’s get started.
The first step is to install Audacity and LAME. Click here to download Audacity.  After completing the download, run the file that you just downloaded. This will install the program. Next, download the LAME MP3 encoder by clicking here.  After downloading this file, do the same thing. Run the file and click next through the steps.
Now that we have the software installed, we can look at connecting your tape player, or record player, to your computer.
Your player will have one of two types of outputs. You will either have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, or RCA audio output jacks. (Pictures below).
The other end of the cable will connect to the line in jack on your computer(image below).
So far, so good. Right?
Now that we have the software installed and the cassette/record player connected to the computer, let’s record something!
Put a cassette or LP into your player. Get the player to the place where you want to start recording and pause or stop the player.
Now, let’s stop messing with all this hardware and get the computer set up. First, go to your control panel and open your audio settings.
In XP, go to the audio tab and click “volume” under sound recording. Place a check next to “line in“. If you don’t see a “line in” option go to options and click advanced. Place a check next to “line in” there.
In Vista/7 go to the recording tab. find your line in, select it then choose “set default“. Click on “properties“, go to the levels tab and turn up the level to 80 or 100. (This varies depending on what you are recording so you may need to adjust this to get it right).
Now let’s open Audacity. (screen shot below).
As you can see, Audacity is pretty much a more advanced sound recorder. To begin recording, press the play button on your record/cassette player then click the red “record” circle on audacity. You are now recording to your computer! When you are done, click stop on audacity and press stop on your player.
After recording, you can now export your audio as an MP3. Go to the file menu and click “Export as MP3″. You can now choose the name of the file and save to wherever you want. You are done recording!
NOTE: The first time you export as MP3, you will see the warning below. Click yes, then navigate in the window to C:\program files\lame for audacity\lame_enc.dll and click OK. You will only get this warning once.
Now that you are done recording, you have your MP3 files on your computer. You can stop here if you want or you can burn them to CD. To do this, just open any CD burning program and choose to create an audio CD. (If you are looking for a free CD burner, you can get one here: http://www.worldstart.com/tips/tips.php/cdburnerxp )