I have a few audio cassette tapes from the 1980s :)

The albums were never released on CD, and to prevent any more deterioration and from losing the songs forever I wanted to rip the tapes to mp3. Mp3 because this is the only format my car accepts. And I want to play them in my car and use the car's audio controls.

Is there an app that will let me do this?


3 Answers 3


My suggestion involves:

  • recording your tape as one file
  • Removing the tape hiss
  • Splitting the file individual tracks
  • Re-encoding the tracks into individual mp3 files

To do this will involve the following software which you can install from the Software Centre:

  • Audacity
  • Gramofile
  • Installing restricted codecs - search for restricted and choose the restricted extras for your variant of ubuntu
  • Sound Converter


Audacity is a fantastic sound editor.

  1. Plug in you jack into the appropriate sound-in / headphone socket in your laptop or PC sound card.
  2. On your tape, approximately forward to where you have the "loudest sound"
  3. Play your tape
  4. Using Audacity, press the record button
  5. Adjust the input levels so that the sound doesnt "clip"
  6. Stop recording and rewind the tape
  7. Choose from the Audacity Menu - Transport - Sound Activated Recording
  8. Play your tape and record until the end of the tape

Now a bit of clean-up of the sound recorded.

To remove the tape-hiss choose from the Audacity Menu:

  1. Effect - Normalize. This will adjust the approximate sound level through the entire track
  2. Effect - Noise Removal. This will remove some of the lower frequency sounds that is the tape hiss - just follow the two suggested steps on the window. Play with the results to get the best sound on your track.

Finally, save the file as a .wav file.

Split Tracks

To break the one big .wav file into individual tracks use the Gramofile software.

Start the application and open the .wav file. Tell the application which folder to save the individual tracks.

Convert to MP3

Finally use Sound Converter

Ensure you have installed the restricted codecs for your ubuntu variant.

Run the application and select all the .wav tracks in the folder saved to by gramofile

Choose the Convert option and choose MP3

Sit back and wait for all the .wav files to be converted to MP3.


Install Codecs

We may install the meta-package ubuntu-restricted-extras Install ubuntu-restricted-extras that will install (amongst other non-free applications) all codecs and libraries we need to rip audio files in mp3.

Set Audio Source

Audio Input is set to the proper interface (e.g. Analog Line-In in case you connected your tape recorder there) from the audio panel applet's Sound Preferences...:

enter image description here


In GNOME Sound Recorder we need to set the audio file format by choosing mp3 in Record as:

enter image description here

This enables to record the line input from your sound card and save it to your hard disk. Additional mp3-tagging can be done from most audio players after having imported this file to the library.

For more sophisticated audio recording with the possibility to process the files after having recorded them we may install audacity Install audacity:

enter image description here

Split Recording:

If we had recorded the tape in one large mp3 file we may use mp3splt Install mp3splt with silence option:

mp3splt -s soundfile.mp3

or e.g.

mp3splt -s -p th=-50,nt=10 soundfile.mp3

where th is the threshold in dB and nt is the number of tracks (see the manpage for mp3splt on further options).


Plug your cassette player into the line-in port on your sound card, then use your favorite sound recorder, exactly as you would if you were recording your own voice. Then use your favorite MP3 encoder.

FYI, for archival purposes, I suggest storing a copy in a lossless format like FLAC. That way in 10 more years, when your tapes are completely worthless, you'll have as much of the original data as possible, rather than in MP3 format, where some of the data is lost.

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