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Bring Your Cassettes Back to Life

Lloyd Dobler expresses his  love the only way he knows how - through a cassette boombox
Lloyd Dobler expresses his love the only way he knows how – through a cassette boombox

For me, there’s a lot of nostalgia tied up in cassette tapes and I know I’m not alone. I came of age just as cassettes were on their way out to make room for CDs, but everyone still used them here and there for different reasons. Let me tell you about a few of my cassette tapes.

Ninja Turtles
Pizza Power!
  • My first music collection was on cassette and included when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came “out of their shells.”
  • I dreamed of being on the radio, so I would get together with a few friends and pretend we had a show. We used the built-in microphone on a boombox and recorded a “radio show,” dropping in sound effects from the Windows 95 operating system as needed.
  • I recorded songs off the radio, which is no easy task. It requires precision and lightning speed decision-making skills. You have to memorize the first few notes of a song so you can hit record just in time, and then hope the DJ doesn’t ruin your recording by talking as the song ends.
  • Once I started purchasing CDs, I made mix tapes. Lots of mix tapes.
  • As I was learning guitar my instructor recorded a 12-bar blues onto a cassette for me to jam with.

When the iPod came out, all of these cassettes along with most of my CDs were boxed up and thrown into a closet where they remained in exile for a decade.

I love the convenience of digital music, but every time a new format comes around collections get lost and recorded memories fade away if not preserved and carried along into whatever format society has adopted. That’s why I’m so glad that our new Digital Studios provide a way for you to digitally convert your cassette tapes to mp3s – digital files that can be played on any digital music player or shared online.

Say hello to the TEAC AD-800 – a cassette digital converter located in the Cook Park Digital Studio (currently unavailable at Aspen Drive Library). I know TEAC AD-800 sounds like a Terminator, but it’s actually a very friendly machine, here to help you convert your cassette tapes to digital files. Here’s how it works:


Insert your cassette into the TEAC AD-800.

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Plug a flash drive or hard drive into the machine’s USB port.

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Follow the directions provided in the Digital Studio Manual and before you know it those cassette recordings will be preserved and ready to be used however you like!

Listen to this cassette conversion done in our Digital Studios. Mary used the studio to convert a piano performance of a relative that hadn’t been heard by her family in years.

If you have any cassette tapes that you’d like like to bring back to life, check out our Digital Studios page to get more information and book a session.

Categories: Digital Studios

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