How to Transfer Music From the Computer to Cassette Tapes

By James Clark

Transferring music off a computer onto cassette tapes requires a simple audio connection from the PC or laptop to a tape deck with a standard stereo cable. This project might be desirable for individuals who have a lot of music stored on a computer, but do not have a CD burner for copying the tunes to disc. Hooking up a tape deck to record audio cassettes is one alternative. The set up requires a Y-adapter to divide the single stereo output on the computer between the two channels on a standard stereo cable.

Things You'll Need

  • Y-adapter with two 1/4-inch jacks and one 1/8-inch plug
  • Stereo cables
  • Tape deck
  • Blank cassettes

Step 1

Insert the 1/8-inch plug on the Y-adapter into the Line OUT jack on the back of the computer tower.

Step 2

Connect the white and red plugs on one end of the stereo cable to the two jacks on the Y-adapter labeled L and R. White connects to the left (L) jack.

Step 3

Connect the white and red plugs on the other end of the cable to the left and right REC (record) jacks on the rear of the tape deck. White connects to the left jack.

Step 4

Insert a blank cassette in the tape deck, rewind to the beginning, and press the "Play" and "Record" buttons simultaneously (on many models), then immediately press the "Pause" button. On some tape decks, it is necessary only to press the "Record" button to start recording.

Step 5

Adjust the sound level control on the tape deck by turning the knob on the front panel to the middle setting.

Step 6

Play back a music file on the computer, then press and release the "Pause" button on some tape decks with "Play" and "Record" already pressed, or press the "Record" button one one-touch recording tape decks. Windows Media Player is the default program for playing music on most computers running a Microsoft operating system; iTunes is standard on a Mac.

Step 7

Monitor the sound level on the tape deck's LED display (or needle meters on really old tape decks). The sound level should stay within the middle range for a clear, distortion-free recording. Press the "Pause" button on the tape deck to cue up another track on the computer, then release the "Pause" button to continue recording the next song.

Step 8

Stop the tape deck, and disconnect from the computer's Line OUT jack when finished recording.

Tips & Warnings

  • A tape deck does not require an amplifier to boost the computer's audio signal.
  • Unplug the tape deck from the electrical outlet when connecting or disconnecting stereo cables to eliminate any risk of a short circuit.