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High Speed Transfer: Audio Cassette to Minidisc Updated

lithoprint-2009
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High Speed Transfer: Audio Cassette to Minidisc Updated
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I appologise up front if this idea has been discussed before. Having recently become a Minidisc fan I decided to transfer all my old music to MD. This includes hundreds of cassettes, as I transferred all of my 60s and 70s vinyl to cassette years ago.  As far as I can see it has to be done in realtime.

This is going to take some time, so, using my existing MD equipment I tried to speed up the process. Using a good quality Tape to Tape Deck connected  to my JB 930 MD deck, I recorded while  the tape deck was in high speed dubbing mode (x2). The recording worked and in half the time. You only need one tape to record to and then use it again.**(or use an empty carcase see below)  I played it back using the 930's pitch control function which slowed it down to the original speed (50% -12) .

I realise you can only play it back on a machine with pitch control. ( MDLP can only be played back on an MDLP unit). Now at least you have digitally transferred and compressed your precious tapes without MDLP to 2 sides of a C90 on an MD 60 and  3 sides on an MD 74. "In half the time" and keep them safe and filed as (F)ast (C)ompressed (C)assette (R)ecordings on that little disc called "MINI".

Apologies again, if I have been telling granma how to suck eggs and preaching to the already converted. I can't see any problems with this method as I am not an electronics engineer, however, I can't accept responsibility for any problems that may occur. It works fine for me. If you have a unit with pitch control and MDLP (I have now connected a 640 to my HiFi system) you can in theory transfer your tapes with FCCR and LP2/LP4 which, on  an MD80 could give you over 10 hours of your favourite music on one disc. However, with this amount of compression the resulting recorded quality maybe an issue for some people. As a true Minidiscaholic I would appreciate any feedback (+) or (-) regarding this guide.

Update: Further information for those of you who haven't already switched off and gone to the pub. I have recently tried to make my FCCR transfers as automatic as possible, eliminating the need to watch the process all of the time. You can use the track marker function on your MD deck with prerecorded albums and good quality home recordings that have normal breaks between tracks. Set the "Marker Trigger" at around -26/-28 - not to high or with a quiet section you may trigger another track (although these can be easily "Combined" afterwards) If your tapes have excessive hiss or crackles even with Dolby NR, you may as well turn off the track marker and let it run as one continuous track. If some of the tracks have short spaces between them you may have more than one song with the same track number. Try to determine the running time of each side of the cassette as many albums have unequal lengths on each side. Start recording the side with the longest running time and there will be less "no sound" before the source cassette changes over to the next side as the "auto cut" and "smart space" on the MD deck don't always work properly with cassettes, although using Dolby NR does improve the effectiveness of the "cut/space" functions. A lot of cassette albums are less than 60 minutes in total length so if you use a 120 cassette - 60min/side in the target deck you will have recorded the full album with only one auto reverse break on the source deck before the target tape finishes its first side. With albums or recordings longer than 60 minutes (extended albums, compilations etc.) you would have to record each side separately because the target tape will auto reverse before the source tape has finished and there will be gap in the finished recording. However there is a way round this but it is "PURELY EXPERIMENTAL"

** On the target deck insert a cassette with everything taken out (unscrew the cassette, take out the tape, spools, pressure pad and back plate,  put the case back together) and use the empty carcase in your machine. The machine thinks it is a normal tape and will record to it in high speed but it will not auto reverse so you can record any length of  album with only one auto change on the source tape and no gaps in the actual music. "I MUST STRESS AGAIN THAT THIS IS EXPERIMENTAL AND I AM NOT SURE IF IT WILL HAVE ANY ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE CASSETTE RECORDER" For example are the motors designed to work under a certain "Load" and the head recording to "Fresh Air" etc. Maybe someone out there could advise me on that one. It does work on my Sony TC-WE475 twin deck. I hope this guide will be useful - I have tried to cover everything I can. "It's not a perfect science by any means" but for those of you who are going to give a try - Good luck and have fun.

Cheers Norman 

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