Ghosts in the cassette shell

The Tape2MP3 project is making slow but certain progress.

We’ve got it down to a finely-tuned and timed routine, where a C90 takes an average of about two hours of actual work to convert: a minute or so to adjust levels prior to the unavoidable 90 minutes of listening while recording/importing; then another five minutes of cleaning up, testing/setting noise reduction filters and a bit of fine-tuning, and perhaps even some minor editing thrown in for good measure — although I do aim to keep the final MP3 as near as possible to the original tape (warts and clicks between original copying/taping sessions and tracks included).

Once that’s done, the old 933MHz Pentium workstation takes another 15 or so minutes to write the resulting .wav file before the whole process is repeated for the next tape. The final conversion to .mp3 is done in bulk, which I usually just leave the machine running overnight for.

Of course, it can’t all be fun and games: we’ve had about three tapes so far that got munched by the tape deck, and another snapped… but nothing that a screwdriver, a pen and some sticky-tape can’t fix!

Come to think of it, it’s great fun to listen to those old sound carriers once again and, of course, the sounds that they do carry.

Each and every tape has a story to tell.

Shelf full of audio tapes
Another shelf full of audio tapes
And one more Shelf full of audio tapes

As a matter of fact, right now, as I write this, I’m busy converting tape #241 from the personal collection, which was originally copied for me by an ex-colleague named Brian Williams — and which brings me to another list of almost-forgotten names of people from the past that have made significant and direct contributions to the old collection: Louis Christodoulou, Rudi Erasmus, Jörg Geppert, Owen Griffith, Robert Gufler, Dean Hamer, Mayo Hampel, Stefan Hohl, Patrick Kirby, Guiseppe Maffia, Cecil Moult, Mark Nicholls, Johan Nieman, Dave Prinsloo, Jose Rodriguez, Brigitte Schacherl, Jacques Weingartz, and of course the parents and da sistah as well as those friendly folks at the Inner Sleeve Record Library — to name just a few.

Thanks to everyone for opening my ears, widening my spectrum and (mis-)shaping my musical tastes. I salute you all.

Photo credits: hmvh DOT net

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