Monday, February 8, 2016

How to Covert Cassette Tape Interviews to Digital

Remember cassette tapes?  It turns out that people used them for things other than mix tapes.  I got some from my grandmother in her papers and one is a cassette recording of my great grandfather, Benjamin Worth Hursey, and his son, talking about things...  the crops, who they are, the weather.  I've seen him on film, but now I've also heard his voice.  A strong, growling,  resonant voice with a South Carolina lilt and a southern slur to his words.

Getting into digital format is much easier than The Great Film Project of 2015 was.

First, I tried "cassette tape to MP3" conversion kits you can buy on amazon.  I'm not going to link to any of them because they were terrible.  Ultimately, the kits are made to be inexpensive and so the tape players (without fail, if you read the reviews) are crap.  They play at variable speeds, giving the resulting audio a warble.  One I tried even had a steady 'thump thump thump' behind the audio.  if you're working with genealogy stuff, you want a high quality recording.

So, failing an out-of-the-box solution, I pieced together a really cheap (under $40) and easy way to do it myself, which is what I'm giving you here.