Quick and dirty cassette to mp3?
February 3, 2011 12:18 PM   Subscribe

Best Windows free/shareware software for recording analog cassettes to mp3?

I have a collection of analog casesettes (Joe Frank, fwiw) that I want to get on my mp3 player. I've got the analog end covered - I used to be an audio engineer - but I want to streamline the capture and mp3 encoding as much as possible. I'm far more concerned about making this quick and easy than audio quality since they're crap mono recordings to begin with.
Previous questions in this vein mostly recommend Audacity, which I downloaded, but it requires a separate plug-in for mp3 export, and the whole thing seems like it's trying a bit too hard to be a ProTools clone. I've got ProTools; I want to avoid the hassle of setting up each cassette tape as a full-blown recording "session" since I've got dozens of these tapes. My ideal solution would be a program where you

1. check levels,
2. click "record" and
3. click "stop,"
4. an mp3 file is deposited in a directory.

Does such a thing exist? I don't need the WAV or AIFF, just the mp3. I'll be using the built-in soundcard on my laptop for the ananlog-in, btw. I do have a Griffin iMic also.
posted by werkzeuger to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
.Net Voice Recorder will record to LAME MP3. You'll need to install the LAME executable, but that seems pretty simple to do.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:33 PM on February 3, 2011

For legal reasons, lots of software is going to want to use an external MP3 library.
posted by odinsdream at 1:38 PM on February 3, 2011

Yeah, you're probably not going to find a free option that has built-in MP3 support.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2011

Don't have it set up on my own computers, but I've used my father's system for this. It's a two-step process, and he downloaded both programs for free. First, generate .wav files from your analog input with CD Wave. Then convert the wave output to MP3 with another free program, CDex. Note that fiddling with the volume controls may be necessary before recording your waves, in order to insure a consistent level across all your files. You may also have to edit dead air at the end and beginning.
posted by Rash at 3:47 PM on February 3, 2011

Apparently you don't even need CDex: CD Wave (1.92) can write files in OGG Vorbis format, in FLAC (lossless compression) audio and in MP3 format (if you have the LAME encoder) directly.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:49 PM on February 3, 2011

I use Spin It Again, but it does cost $34.95. I had more complicated audio reconstruction software, but Spin It Again is better at automating the process of ripping a record or tape to mp3. It has built in pop and crackle filters (and more complicated audio processing options), and it will split the recording into tracks and then convert to mp3.
posted by rfs at 7:37 PM on February 3, 2011

Thanks everybody. I've got LAME downloaded already. I'll check out CD Wave, between it and Audacity I'll get something going.
posted by werkzeuger at 10:17 PM on February 3, 2011

And rfs, that Spin it Again software actually looks to be very close to what I want. Thanks.
posted by werkzeuger at 10:22 PM on February 3, 2011

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