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Conversion Station Tutorial (Innovation Lab)

Guide to using the DVD burning capabilities of the conversion station in the Innovation lab.

Cassette Conversion

Using the Cassette

To connect to the computer, plug the small end of the USB cord into the Reshow device and the large end into one of the USB ports on the front of the PC tower below the table. Then insert your cassette tape.

The device has much the same functionality as any other cassette player. 'Fast Forward', 'Rewind', 'Stop', and 'Play' buttons are all located on the top of the device and function as you would expect. In order to activate any of these functions, press the button until it clicks and stays in place. The final control is a toggle switch, which governs the player's behavior when the side of the tape currently playing ends.

Make sure your tape is rewound before starting! Once rewound, the sprocket on the tape will stop visibly spinning in the window and the machine will emit a whining sound. Press the 'Stop' button when this happens.

If you want to make sure that the tape is playing properly before firing up the software, you can plug headphones into the audio jack on the side of the device. Check the volume, which is modified using the slider wheel just above the jack.

Configuring Audacity

Double click the 'Audacity' icon on the desktop:


The software will open up. Click on  Edit > Preferences

In the preferences window, click on Devices and make sure that under Recording, the Devices drop-down has 'Microphone Array (USB PnP Audio)' selected. This is the Reshow device.

Then, click on 'Recording' in the side menu and make sure that 'Software Playthrough' is checked. This means that while the tape is recording, the sound will play from the computer's speakers while it goes so that you can make sure the sound quality is okay. You can leave this unchecked if you're listening directly through headphones plugged into the Reshow device.

Press 'OK' on the preferences menu, and you're ready to get started.

Recording the Audio

When you have the tape cued up where you want it and the software configured properly, it's time to record. Press 'Play' on the Reshow device and hit the 'RECORD' (red circle) button in the Audacity player window.

Now, just sit back and let the song play. When it's over, press the 'STOP' (yellow square) button in the Audacity control panel, as well as the 'STOP' button on the cassette player.

The information from the tape is now sitting in Audacity as a project file. We need to get it out of there and into a playable format.

Exporting as MP3

Go to File > Export to open the export window.

You will need to select where and how to save the file. You can save it in the computer, or on a flash drive, navigating in the usual way. Make sure to select the file format you want to save as (most likely .mp3) using the drop-down menu and/or by manually typing the file extension '.mp3' into the File Name field.

Once you click save, you will be prompted to add .mp3 metadata to the file. Fill out the fields in the prompt to the best of your ability. This is what any mp3 broswer you use to play the track will use to identify it.

Once you click 'OK' you will have your very own .mp3 file waiting in the specified location!

You can repeat this process for as many separate tracks as there are on the cassette. If you fill out the track numbers correctly in the metadata they will behave like any other album when collected in a single folder.

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