As a regular reader of Om Malik’s blog, I never cease to be surprised by the variety of topics he covers. In a shameless tip of my (virtual) hat, here’s a utility I found immensely useful and reckoned I’d share with you.
My wife, whom readers of this column know figures big in any new learning I have, as a classical musician, has an immense, I mean, immense collection of old style cassettes. Even after CDs became prevalent, a great deal of Carnatic music continues to be put out on cassettes. I’m not sure if it’s the price difference or some other thing at play. Nevertheless, things got really out of hand, when we moved a couple of years ago and discovered 20+ years of music in cassette form, a great many of them unopened, still in their plastic wrappers. Soon as we got settled in our new digs, one of my projects was going to be transfer these into digital MP3 format. However, after an initial attempt with a 2.5mm male to male cable from our mini-component system (remember those?) to my Windows PC, I threw in the towel.
Recently while trying to avoid something more critical that needed to be done, I began researching once again a painless way to convert the music on these cassettes into digital form. On a trip the US MidWest, I checked out Radio Shack, Best Buy and other big box stores, but to no avail. Surprisingly they carried LP to MP3 converters but not cassette to MP3. Amazon offered a variety of such converters in Walkman-like form factors, but I was hesitant to buy these sight unseen. Having returned empty-handed the project languished, till a friend mentioned that he was traveling to the US. So once again I got online and voila this time discovered Ebay carried the darn things in India (the same Chinese units that were available on Amazon.com). So whipped out the credit card and got myself the EZCap USB Cassette Capture.
Two days later I had the unit in my hand and now have converted 5 of the
hundreds thousands of cassettes we have. So far am delighted. If you have cassettes that are crying to be converted run out there and get it.
ps. I should add I used Audacity on my Mac running OS X Yosemite with the USB PNP Audio Device setting as my audio input and haven’t tried the software (for PC) that shipped with the EZCap. Has worked like a charm.