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Thread: converting analog to CD format

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    converting analog to CD format

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    Could someone please explain what interface I need to connect my Tascam Portastudio (488) to my computer so that I can burn 8 track master tapes to CD format. Currently I am copying to a cassette deck but would like the option of using CD format. In addition to the hardware, what software will I need?

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    I'd think that all you'd need hardware-wise, is an 1/8 inch headphone jack to RCA stereo adapter (EDIT: Radio Shack should have this). RCA out from your cassette deck or portastudio to the microphone input on your comp. I'm planning on digitizing all my vinyl that way at some point in the near future. I downloaded a copy of Audacity ('cause it's free), but I have no idea how good it is. I suppose if you're serious enough you could buy a copy of Pro-cut, Reaper, or something similar.

    Is this a good way? Anyone want to chime in?
    Last edited by Audiophallic; 11-03-2010 at 22:51.

  3. #3
    Peck Guest
    you could get an mbox and protools for the software....

    or you could get a stand alone Tascam CD Burner (hardware option) and just plug RCAs into the back of it for your final mix...

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    I have a stand alone cd burner but it uses a usb connector. Is it possible to connect the stand alone cd burner to the portastudio without actually using the computer (for the usb ports)? I assume that somehow i need to go from the rca jacks on the portastudio to the usb ports on either the computer or a stand alone cd burner? Thanks for the help.

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    I think what is meant by "stand alone" cd burner is that you don't need a computer to run it - so only having USB ports without audio in (rca or something) wouldn't qualify as "stand alone"...

    but more to the point:
    I don't think you can use your exact CD burner to go directly from your 488 (but you could list a model number & photo here if you want to be sure). What you can do is go from the RCA outs of your 488 into the mic inputs on your computer through the built in soundcard using the adapter as Audiophallic suggests.(no extra hardware except the adapter!) Try Audacity just so you can figure out how it works w/o blowing money.(there's tons of options for software - if you're spending money on anything i'd suggest Reaper, but for what you want to do, something free should be fine.) you'll be recording onto your hard drive and then burning a cd. It can be argued that this is better than going direct to a stand alone cd burner, because it gives you a buffer stage where you can add effects & make sure everything is how you want it before it gets burnt to disc (without wasting a bunch of discs making the 'perfect mix').

    IF you want to improve on that setup (try it first, some built in soundcards don't sound THAT bad.) the hardware to buy would be an external Audio interface. the most popular and low hassle ones seem to be the usb connected type. (if you're computer has firewire you could do that as well). as i understand it what you would be improving is mostly the A/D converters, though the preamps (even if you're not really amplifying the signal with them) could play a role as well. If you bought even a cheap usb interface like Tascam US-122 (often under $100) you would make an improvement on the sound quality compared to the built in soundcard/ 1/8th" mic input.
    "Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. " - Bertrand Russell

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    Thanks much for the information, very helpful.

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    Peck Guest
    sure. i mix to 1/4" tape on a tascam 42... and then to this

    http://www.amazon.com/Tascam-CD-RW90.../dp/B000WKW59C

    not cheap though... but nothing is

    just one suggestion out of a million I suppose

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    Quote Originally Posted by Audiophallic View Post
    I'd think that all you'd need hardware-wise, is an 1/8 inch headphone jack to RCA stereo adapter (EDIT: Radio Shack should have this). RCA out from your cassette deck or portastudio to the microphone input on your comp. I'm planning on digitizing all my vinyl that way at some point in the near future. I downloaded a copy of Audacity ('cause it's free), but I have no idea how good it is. I suppose if you're serious enough you could buy a copy of Pro-cut, Reaper, or something similar.

    Is this a good way? Anyone want to chime in?
    You want to use the line in on the sound card, not the microphone in. There is a standard colour chart for that, can't remember it off the top of my head.
    I'm guessing the CD burner is not "stand-alone" but "external" ie you still need a PC. I recorded part of an LP on my laptop using audacity an RCA -- 1/8" stereo plug and the tape 2 loop on my receiver to test the concept a while ago. I opted to use 1/4" tape as an intermediate step, because I need to make things as difficult as possible.

    Also, the quality of A/D may vary with the sound card chips/clocks naturally, but probably any decent sound card will give you a decent cd.

    Audacity is fine and fun to use for htis purpose. There are also other free or cheap softwares, like Kristal (free), energyXT, and Reaper (fairly cheap I think energyXT is like 50 euros or something) that may have other features you want.

    You need CD burning software of course.

    You may want to look at something like 64Studio or UbuntuStudio and a dedicated PC if you want a full blown free DAW.

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    Quote Originally Posted by radioone View Post
    I have a stand alone cd burner but it uses a usb connector. Is it possible to connect the stand alone cd burner to the portastudio without actually using the computer (for the usb ports)? I assume that somehow i need to go from the rca jacks on the portastudio to the usb ports on either the computer or a stand alone cd burner? Thanks for the help.
    Does the burner only have usb connectors ? Does it not have rca connectors ? I have the 488 and I mix straight to CD. I have a Phillips CD recorder and the 488 outs just go straight to the ins of the Phillips. Don't need the computer at all. I know that's not quite what you asked but it shows you it's possible.

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    Thanks grimtraveller. You are correct, my CD burner connects to my computer with a USB drive. My computer also has an internal CD Burner so the computer is a necessary component in going from the RCA outputs on my 488 mk II to the CD. I decided to purchase the Behringer interface (UFO 202) to convert from the RCA outputs on my Tascam to the USB ports on my computer. Now my computer is giving me fits (config issues) and so the battle continues. I just sent my Tascam to the manufacturer for repairs and so hopefully by the time I get it back I will have the process for converting from analog to CD format figured out. Thanks for your input.

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