1500 Audio Cassette Tapes Preserved to Digital

Batch 4 of 1500 Audio Cassettes to Digital Files Transfer

AV Converts 1500 Audio Cassettes for Big Sur Educational Center

1500 Audio Recordings Preserved and Enhanced to Digital Files for Esalen Institute

Esalen Institute, a local Big Sur Retreat Center, recently asked AV to help them convert and preserve their audio cassette archive. This vast collection of tapes was very important to Esalen, as they held the audio recordings of their guest speakers throughout the past 50 years. Esalen wanted to have these audio recordings transferred to digital so they could be accessible and editable for future projects. Luckily, AV’s audio cassette to uncompressed WAVE file with noise reduction and level optimization was perfect for this!


Our Audio Cassette to Digital Transfer Process: 


1) Professional Grade Equipment and Capture
AV uses high quality Sony audio cassette decks to capture and digitize audio recordings. The audio runs through top quality stereo cables into Sony Sound Forge on a pro audio workstation. Each tape was only used a single time as a playback source. Any tapes that required repairs were set aside so AV could replace felts and make tape slices where necessary on our audio splicing block. AV also routinely cleans and inspects each deck to make sure the cassettes run smoothly and sound their best while being played!


Audio Cassettes in the process of being captured at AV


2) Level Optimization and Noise Reduction

After the audio was digitized at -6 db, AV applied leveled optimization which helps balance the audio. Typically, we balance the audio cassettes at -6 db (equal to 0 db analog). AV then trimmed the tip and the tail of the new digital files to eliminate any dead-air that occurs at the beginning and end of the recordings. 

AV also offers noise reduction filters. While Esalen planned to do their own post-processing and therefore did not request the noise reduction, we typically recommend it for all orders. Our noise reduction service is a manual filtration process we apply custom to each recording to remove the unwanted hiss and hum that analog cassettes are known to have.

3) Output
Each audio recording was output as uncompressed WAVE files at 44 kHz / 16 bit. This is the standard output for professional grade audio from analog tapes. WAVE files were perfect for this project since they are uncompressed, which means the digital files retain all of the audio recording data in its original format. Therefore, there is no loss in quality! This also makes WAVE files the most compatible uncompressed file type for editing software. 


Digital audio files labeled in order by number


4) Organization / USB Device
AV created a separate WAVE file for each audio cassette and labeled each file by number. AV always labels each tape as well – therefore the file numbers correspond to the number labeled on each tape. This means you can easily identify which file is from which tape. AV then dragged the files over onto a USB Hard Drive. Hard Drives and Flash Drives are typically recommended because they can be plugged into pretty much anything that has a USB port (MAC or Windows Computer / Laptop, Smart TV, etc…). Finally, the files are ready to be edited, played, or shared!


Finally, Esalen Institute received back their original cassette tapes as well as their new enhanced digital WAVE files!



If you have audio cassette tapes you would like transferred – don’t wait too long!

Cassette tapes generally have a lifespan of about 20 years. There are quite a few factors which can cause deterioration in older tapes. Some of these factors include the use of a less durable chromium dioxide coating and the decomposition of the felt pressure pads on lower quality tapes. Tapes with recordings on both sides are also more susceptible to deterioration as the magnetic fields can bleed through to each other. Don’t risk complete deterioration of your audio cassettes and have AV transfer them for you today!



Do you have Audio Tapes you want to convert to Digital?


Check out our Audio to Digital Transfer page for options and pricing.


AV Conversion Services