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3 cassette-to-MP3 converters, so you can preserve your old mixtapes forever

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If you’ve still got a collection of cassette tapes and other nostalgic items, you’re not alone. According to research, a certain amount of nostalgia is good for you, but unfortunately, cassette tapes may not last forever. To help preserve your precious recordings, the best cassette to MP3 converters make it easy to digitize your tapes, thanks to USB cables and ports, so you can easily transfer to your computer and convert with the help of free audio capture software. Plus, some of them even have the option to listen to the tape directly on the converter with a built-in speaker or pair of headphones.

When shopping for a cassette to digital converter, there are two easy and affordable options:

  • Cassette player converters have a cable that lets you connect to your computer, where you can use free audio capture software like Audacity to digitize music and other recordings. This type of converter is also outfitted with a USB port, so you can transfer the audio directly to a thumb drive and store, transfer, and convert from there. Another plus: If it has a built-in speaker or headphone jack, you can listen to your cassette directly on the converter.
  • Audio capture cards are a great option if you already own a cassette player. All you have to do is connect one end of the audio capture card to the 3.5mm headphone jack on your cassette player, then connect the other end to a USB port on your computer. Then, use free audio capture software to digitize your tapes.

Whichever option works for you, these are the best cassette to MP3 converters that’ll help you keep your favorite music and audio recordings safe and sound for years to come.

1. A Cassette Player Converter With Headphones

This easy-to-use and totally retro cassette to MP3 converter transfers recordings via the included USB cable that connects to your computer, where you can use audio capture software to digitize recordings. Plus, this handy gadget comes with a set of headphones, so you can listen to music directly on the converter. The device is powered with the USB cable or two AA batteries, which are sold separately.

According to a reviewer: “My wife has some old cassettes of her singing in her old band and wanted to get them in digital format for her before the tapes wore away or got lost. This is a very easy process and I love the fact that with a flash drive you don't even need a PC. I used the auto tracking feature and it really works great.”

2. A Cassette Player Converter With A Built-In Speaker

For a little more money, this cassette to digital converter has a built-in speaker and AM/FM radio, so you can listen to music — out loud — right there on the converter. Like the above option, this device has a USB port for thumb drives, but can also be connected to your computer with the included USB cable, so you can convert your tapes to MP3 format with a little help from audio capture software. A set of headphones is included for private listening on the converter, and there’s also a built-in microphone for one-touch voice recording. However, there is one thing to watch out for: the auto-reverse feature. It's an upgrade that allows you to play the other side of the tape without flipping the cassette, but one reviewer noted there’s no overwrite protect sensor to prevent you from accidentally recording over your tape. This device is powered via USB cable or two AA batteries (sold separately).

According to a reviewer: “I bought this with some misgivings, but have been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sound it produces. I use it with Audacity 2.2.2 and Windows 7 and 10 and have had no problems. It appears to be sensitive to the proximity of a router or Wifi hub, but as long as these are kept at a distance, I find that the Audacity's noise reduction facility reduces background hum to virtually zero."

3. An Audio Capture Card For Anyone Who Already Has A Cassette Player

If you already have a cassette player with a 3.5mm headphone jack, this audio capture card offers an easy and economical way to convert your tapes to MP3 format. This audio grabber is plug and play, so you don’t have to install any drivers on your computer before using — just plug the headphone jack into your cassette player and the USB cable into your computer to convert your treasured tapes. And it comes with Audacity software on a CD, but you’ll probably want to download the latest version online. The card is also outfitted with RCA cables, so you can connect your cassette player to TVs and stereo receivers to play music, too.

According to a reviewer: “Hooked up to an old boom box for standard cassette tape and a micro cassette recorder. Both copied to the computer with little effort. The editing software took a few tries to figure out but it works great and I was able to save memories from long ago in digital format!”

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