Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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Hi, all

I have reel-to-reel tape that I want to record onto CD. Can anyone help? I
am in Melbourne?


Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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you need sound capturing software, i recomend totalrecorder however it
is not free - you need somthing that will show a dB graph or VU meter so
you don't overload the input and create distortion (digital audio has NO
headroom for distortion once it peaks, its peaked)


COPYRIGHT: - a quick word here about copyright infringement. To the
letter of the law it is of course ILLEGAL to copy any work that is
copyright protected. DO NOT be tempted to copy anything that has
copyright protection for FINANCIAL GAIN. If you do you will be delt with

That said, making a single backup copy of a tape for your own personal
use is not likely to get you into hot water. The enforcement bodies are
more concerned with commercial set-ups that make big bucks from
duplicating and distributing hundreds or thousands of boot-leg copies of
the latest releases.

Hardware: - That said, we now need to know what will be needed to get
going. First off of course is a computer. Almost any computer will do
this job. You do not need an all singing, all dancing 1200 machine. Far
from it. A 400 MHZ processor with 64 MB or 128 MB of ram is quite fast
enough. 10 GB or more of available hard disc space will be enough to
start off with.

If you do not already have a PC check out the advertisers on this
website, the freeads page, or the for-sale columns in your local press
for one of similar spec. to this. Any sound card will do the job and can
either be built in (to the computers motherboard) or an add-in PCI (PCI
= expansion slot) sound card. If your PC does not have sound already you
can add a 5.1 sound card plus speakers for less than 25. Next you will
be needing a CD writer. Again, if your PC does not have one, you can get
one for less than 45. Check out our advertisers or your local computer
fair. Always a good source for great bargains and free advice.

So much for the computer, now how about the tape deck. I moved the old
(but good) midi system into the computer room, but any reasonable
quality personal cassette player will do the job.

Connecting up: - You will now need to be able to connect the cassette
player or music systems output to the PC's 'line in' jack. Use the
'headphone out' jack socket (may require an adapter for this) and a
stereo jack to jack lead. WARNING- when using the 'headphone out' method
of connecting be sure that the volume control is turned down completely
BEFORE switch-on. The output voltage from the headphone jack will exceed
the line intput jack's voltage considerably, leading to sound distortion
and possibly overload of the PC's sound card. Not good !! O.K. so we are
'now wired for sound'.

Software: - surprisingly, this part of your setup is not going to cost
an arm and a leg. In fact it may surprise you to find that you may
already have all the software you need, at least enough to get you
started. Most CD writers are normally supplied with CD creating
(burning) software - usually Nero 6, which allow you to capture and burn
both regular audio format discs and also MP3 format discs. Also, some
PCI sound cards will have an audio recording program such as MusicMatch
included with the driver disc. You can download a free version of
Musicmatch from their website, however the full version is recommended
as it will  allow you to record as audio files or MP3, compile and burn
to disc, and it is very reasonably priced. Free to download is the very
usefull  edit and cleanup program 'Audacity' . See the DVworkshop Links
page for this and many other useful 'free-bies'.

Settings: - once connected up and with your software installed it is
time to get the settings on the PC ready. Firstly though, do check that
the volume on cassette player is set to minimum. Boot up the system and
then check the Systray in the bottom right corner of your screen. You
should find an icon for either 'volume' or 'mixer' or both. If not,
click Start > settings >control panel. Select (double click) multimedia.
This will bring up multimedia properties. Select the audio tab and tick
the 'show volume control on the taskbar' check box. Click on OK and then
close control panel. Right click the 'volume' icon and then click on
'open volume controls'. Click Options > properties. Check that your
sound card is selected at 'mixer device' and then set 'adjust volume
for' to 'recording'. Make sure that 'line-in' is ticked in the 'show
volume controls for' panel and then click OK. Now tick the 'line-in'
select box, adjust the slider to near to maximum and you are ready to
go. Left click the volume icon in the system tray, ensure the mute
checkbox is unticked and then set the slider to over half way up.

If you also have a mixer icon in the systray you may find it easier to
carry out the above setup from the mixer instead. Either way, you do not
have to set up both as changing the setting on one automatically adjusts
the other - in fact they are both the same thing.

Select a tape and start it playing. Now slowly turn up the players
volume control to bring the sound level from the speakers up just enough
to be comfortable. WARNING setting the players volume too high WILL lead
to distortion. Leave this set as low as possible and increase as
required with the computers volume control.

Recording: - open your audio recording program and adjust the input
level to suit, and then re-adjust the speaker volume. Most clean up
programs work using WAV audio files, so it is a good idea to record to
your hard disc in this format. Set up 2 separate folders within your 'my
documents' folder and name them 'raw audio' and 'clean audio', or
similar. You can then set the recording program to write tracks into the
first folder ready for clean up and restoration work. When cleaned up
these tracks will be transferred to the 'clean audio' folder ready for
compiling into your choice of artist and tracks, and then writing to disc.

Once you are happy with the levels restart the tape at the beginning and
start the PC recording. As each track is done use Windows Explorer to
open your 'raw audio' folder and right click the new file. Select rename
and type in the track title. Do this as you go to make identifying
tracks easier. Double click a track in the Explorer window to play it
from the hard drive. If it does not need any restoration work applied to
it drag it directly into your 'clean audio' folder ready for burning. If
it does require noise removal refer to the DVworkshop Audio page.

Burning:- or writing to CD. Once you have recorded all the required
tracks from a tape and removed any tape hiss or noise, it is a
straightforward task to write the tracks onto a blank CD using your CD
writing software.

First decide if you want an audio CD or would rather make up an MP3
disc. A normal CD will play in any domestic player, but an MP3 CD needs
a player that can cope with this format. They are now more widely
available than previously, most domestic DVD players - some in car CD
players and some personal CD players will play MP3 'tracks' or files.
The big advantage with MP3 format is that of capacity. A normal audio
disc can hold say 20 tracks of average length (80 minutes or
thereabouts), while an MP3 format disc can hold about 10 to 20 albums !!
This is done using data compression techniques which result in much
reduced file sizes with very little loss in sound quality. So, unless
you really need to replace every tape in your collection with an
equivalent CD, consider making MP3 discs as a serious space and time
saving alternative to burning audio CD's.

Once you have decided between these two types of CD you can make your
assembled audio tracks into an audio CD or into a data CD (MP3 disc).
It's that simple. Still undecided? Make your first album into both and
then compare the playback from each. There's not much in it as regards
playback quality. Try it and see !!

Label and Case Insert: - go on. You've got this far. Finish the job off
properly. Pre cut self adhesive disc labels are available for pence, and
they are easy to design and print. Do get a disc label applicator
though. An out of balance disc won't do your CD or DVD player any good.
Happy listening.

Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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That said, it should be pointed out that Australian copyright law is
more restrictive sometimes than US law: In Australia it is not even
legal to create a backup copy of a copyright item for personal use.
That's right: You can't legally even put your own CDs on your iPod.

When you purchase a recording (or software or a book) you are only
purchasing the right to use the work *as provided*.

Be aware of this as you transfer any material. The chance of being
caught (much less prosecuted) is minimal, but it is still illegal.

Rick Measham

(NB. I am not a lawyer or law expert, readers are advised to seek their
own legal counsel before believing a word I have to say)

Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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The generally understood meaning of "illegal" is that you have
committed an offence punishable by State or Federal authorities.
Copyright infringements of the type you describe are only "illegal" in
the sense that the copyright holder is entitled to sue you for the
damages that you have caused him plus, in extreme cases, extra
punitive damages. It is in the same category as not paying your rent.
It is also difficult and expensive to prove an infringement because it
requires a court order to come and inspect your iPod (or computer) and
the damages that the copyright holder would receive would be about the
cost of a CD.

To put it another way, the acts that you have described are not as
"illegal" as the current "Piracy is Theft" advertising campaign.

Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

"David Segall"
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**  "Contrary to law"  is the more accurate definition.

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**  Same as defamation is illegal  -  in some cases criminally so.

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**  Nonsense  -   that is merely a minor breach of a private contract.

...........  Phil

Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

"Rudolf Ladyzhenskii"

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**  Do you have a machine that can play the tape ?????

This is essential to know as folk with capacity to dub to a CD rom will not
likely have a RR machine.

............  Phil

Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

This is the first problem -- I do not have the RR machine.

Second problem is that I do not have any "musical hearing" and I will not be
able to clean the sound myself.
I need someone who can do it professionally. For a resonable fee, of course.


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Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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OK, so tell us what format the tape is, and how much and what type of
processing is required, and you are prepared to pay for. (Will depend on the
current tape condition and intended use)


Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

Thanks to all who replied, (except Phil of course)

Tape is 15 years old. Keep in mid that I was not involved with RR at all, so
my description might be vaque.
Recording is about 1 hour long -- two channels (left and right). Originally,
it was professionally recorded. I would like to have good quality on CD. I
do understand that I will not get "digital restoration", but as close to it
as possible.
Recording is a phonogram from a play in amatuer theater and it is memory I
would like to preserve.

As for price -- I really have no ideas what service like that would cost.
Tell me, please.

Someone had send me an e-mail already and I will contact him tomorrow.

P.S. Phil -- I am surprised! Someone with an IQ of a bean can actually type
and post on the Internet! Wow!

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Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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Tape width, tape speed and number of tracks must be known to match with a
suitable tape deck.

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You will have "digital restoration" if it is to be transferred to CD. The
quality though will depend on the source tape, the quality of  tape deck and
digital recorder used, the ability of the operator, and the care taken.

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It will depend heavily on the type of tape deck needed, and how much manual
processing is required.
A basic transfer of a 4 track stereo 7-1/2IPS tape for example, would cost
you about $50 from a non pro studio.
Tape baking, recorder re-alignment, editing, track indexing, proper noise
reduction or custom equalisation will cost more.


Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

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Cheap and nasty way if you have a pc.

Just connct the output from the reel to reel to
the line in input on your pc's soundcard.

Check the output levels from the reel to reel first to be safe.

Record as a wave file.
Then later if necessary can filter or run it through a few programs to clean
up the sound
remove hiss / noise etc

Then if you have a cd burner , just make an audio cd.
Can use one of the many cd burning programs.
Nero is easy to use from (for windows)

Can easily do this with windows , mac osx etc


Re: Reel-to-Reel to CD?

"Alex Gibson"

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**  Like the famous recipe book says -  first catch your RR machine.


Try reading  **all**  the posts from the OP.

.............   Phil

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