How to Use Garageband to Copy Tapes to CD

By Chris Anzalone

You can use a variety of programs to transfer cassette tapes to a digital format, but Mac users may want to consider using Apple’s GarageBand software. After all, GarageBand comes standard with newer Macs, saving you a great deal of money, and the program integrates smoothly with the iTunes digital media player, giving you the ability to swiftly copy your tapes to CD format immediately after you transfer them to your computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Cassette deck
  • RCA cables with mini jack connector
  • iTunes

Step 1

Plug your tape deck into your computer using the RCA cables. Plug the red and white connectors into the corresponding ports on your tape deck and plug the mini jack connector into the "Line-In" port on your computer.

Step 2

Place a cassette inside the tape deck and fast forward or rewind it until you reach the spot where you want to begin recording.

Step 3

Open GarageBand and create a new project. If you do not see a window prompting you to create a new project, you can do it manually by clicking "File" on the menu bar and selecting "New" from the drop-down menu.

Step 4

Click "GarageBand" on your menu bar and select "Preferences" from the drop-down menu.

Step 5

Click the "Audio/MIDI" tab and select "Built-In Input" as your "Audio Input" source. Then you can exit your preferences. If you have an older Mac and you do not see "Built-in Input," click your "System Preferences" tab on your main Apple dock, select "Sound" and choose "Line In" as your input source.

Step 6

Create a blank GarageBand audio track for recording. Click the "+" button in the lower-left region of your GarageBand browser and select "Real Instrument Track" from the pop-up window that appears.

Step 7

Press the "Record" button in the lower-left region of your GarageBand browser. It looks like a red circle, similar to the "Record" symbol on a remote control.

Step 8

Press the "Play" button on your tape deck.

Step 9

Press the "Stop" button on your tape deck when you want to end your recording.

Step 10

Press the "Record" button a second time in your Garageband browser to stop the recording in GarageBand.

Step 11

Click "Share" on the menu bar and select "Send song to iTunes" from the drop-down menu.

Step 12

Type in a name for your recording and click "Share." Make sure that "MP3 Encoder" is selected as the compression method and iTunes will automatically open with your recording saved in the music library.

Step 13

Repeat the recording and saving process for as many individual songs or cassettes as necessary.

Step 14

Create an iTunes playlist for your recordings. Click "File" on the iTunes menu bar and select "New Playlist" from the drop-down menu.

Step 15

Type in a name for your playlist and press "Enter."

Step 16

Drag your recordings to your playlist. Click the "Music" tab in the left column of the iTunes browser, directly beneath the "Library" heading and your recordings will show up on the list. To move them onto your playlist, use your mouse to drag them onto the playlist title.

Step 17

Insert a blank CD into your CD-ROM drive.

Step 18

Click the title of your playlist to highlight it.

Step 19

Click the "Burn Disc" button in the lower-right corner of the iTunes browser.

Step 20

Eject your disc when it finishes burning.