One of the less common requests we get is to digitize the audio from some archaic medium like cassettes and records. This process is completed in Audacity, using the equipment attached to Station 4 at PEPS.

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Insert the medium into the appropriate player. For cassettes, the slot is irrelevant - just make sure that you know what side you are recording from.
  2. Select the player on the audio switch and set Audacity's input to "Built-In Line-In."
  3. Press record in Audacity and Play on the relevant device.
  4. Check on the progress regularly - Audacity doesn't know when the media stops playing, so if you don't check often, you'll have a large silent tail.
  5. When the recording is done, press stop in Audacity and (if needed) on the player.
  6. Trim the silent parts from the beginning and ending of the track in Audacity.
  7. If the client wants the audio split into tracks, select each track (click and drag, shift + arrows) in the recording and copy them to their own projects.
  8. Export. If there are multiple tracks, export each track individually.
  9. For cassettes, be sure to check for whether the tape is double-sided. If it is, repeat steps 1-8.

Some Helpful Pictures

From the left: Pause, Play, Stop (unclickable), Previous, Next, Record.

From the left: Pause, Play (active - currently playing), Stop (clickable), Previous, Next, Record (deactivated - press stop in order to be able to record again).

From the left: Pause, Play (deactivated - stop recording to be able to play the track), Stop (clickable), Previous, Next, Record (active - currently recording, press stop to finish recording).

Exporting

  1. Click File -> Export... or press Shift+Command+E
  2. Make sure to select "MP3 Files" and press "options."
  3. In the MP3 format options, check that the bitrate is set to 320kbps with Stero, not Joint Stero. (Make sure it looks like the picture on the right).
  4. Make sure that you know where you are saving the file (a folder on the Desktop is a good spot) and what its name is.

Troubleshooting / Common Problems

The exported file isn't where I expected it to be

Common causes: Forgetting to select the export directory during the first exporting step.

Quick Fix:
  1. Open the export dialog again. (Step 1 under Exporting).
  2. Assuming that the file you cannot find was the last one to be exported, or the other files that have been exported were put in the same place, the export dialog will show the path to that file.
Longer fix:
  1. Open a Finder window. (Bottom left icon on the dock)
  2. Search for the file by name (if you know it).
    1. It may help to sort by date instead of name if you know when it was exported.
The really long (and probably not worth the trouble) fix:
  1. Search for the file by extension (type .mp3 in the search field).
  2. Sort by date created.
  3. Find the appropriate date, and hope that your file has a recognizable name.
Final option:
  1. Re-export

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