Cassette deck output plugged into sound card (line in) input.
Download freeware recording program called Audacity
Download the LAME mp3 encoder (also freeware but needs to be downloaded as a separate operation)
Set options in Audacity so that it knows where to go and “find” the LAME encoder (only have to do this once)
Set Audacity for input “What U Hear”
Set record and playback levels.
Turn off all Windows sounds (Control Panel/Sounds)
Push record in Audacity
Push Play on cassette deck.
You will either need to stop the deck and Audacity at the end of each track…and make a new mp3 at that point, or,
Record the whole side, look at the sound graph as Audacity has been recording and observe the silent (level) spaces inbetween songs, select the length of the first track, and make an mp3 out of that, and then on to track # 2, etc.
You’ll need to let Audacity knwo the bit rate for mp3 files you want to create. From tape, 192 kbps would probably suffice.
This is time consuming, especially since you’re going to need to subsequently use something like MP3Tag or Media Monkey to properly tag the songs within the album with proper Artist, Album, Genre, Comments, Track #, and imbed album art/photo once they are all ripped to mp3. Audacity give you some basic tag input when you save to mp3 but not much. Also, if you save out more than one mp3 from a big file of multiple songs, you will only get the opportunity to add tag data upon saving the first mp3. Subsequently it assumes the same artis and album and comments as the first one. Makes things difficult later on. I’d recomment recording one track, saving it to mp3 and then start up audacity for the next song you plan to record.
Personally I kind of like this work if I’m just hanging around but it is detail-oriented and can’t just “be done all at once”.
Personally I would rethink things with hundreds of casettes on the table. Dupe the ones that are not replaceable and look elsewhere for the replacement music. Especially since you will not have, usually, a great recording on that old casette tape to begin with…there’s all that hiss and the audio spectrum ange of a good LP or CD is not present.