How to Convert Cassette Tapes to MP3s for Free on a Mac

by Doug Felteau on July 19, 2010

Now that you have the cassette tape or a track off the cassette tape in Garageband, we need to export the song so that any MP3 player or AAC player can listen. I used MP3 instead of the native iTunes format of AAC for better portability.

In order to export to MP3, choose Share | Export Song to Disk… and name the file and directory to store the exported file.

Export to MP3 from Garageband


Once the song is exported as an MP3, I bring the file into iTunes for a quick sample and to modify the metadata.

In iTunes, click on the song and choose File | Get Info.

Setting Metadata in iTunes

If you are going to share the MP3 outside of your iTunes, you need to do one more step that could be cleaner.

Once all the metadata is entered, you need to Create an MP3 Version through Advanced | Create an MP3 Version.

Create MP3 Version in iTunes

At this point you Remove and Move to Trash the originals that were brought in. Be careful to remove only the proper files.

If you are an advanced user and have some slightly anal tendencies towards file naming conventions on your machine, you can read on. Everyone else can stop at this point and enjoy their newly digitized music in iTunes!

Again, only read on if you are an advanced Mac user. After removing the MP3s brought in from Garageband, I then remove without moving to the trash the newly created MP3 so I can rename and re-import. Once both sets of the songs are removed from iTunes, I go into the folder with the files and remove the ” 1″ at the end of the songs name then double-click the file to re-import.

MP3 before the Rename

After Renaming MP3 file

After loading all the songs back into iTunes I can play them:
Loaded back into iTunes

and confirm the metadata:
Confirm metadata

Congratulations… you’ve just digitized your first cassette tape! One item I must note, don’t let family and friends know you have this expert knowledge or you will ripping cassette tapes every night and weekend you have available!

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Jens Hegg Dec 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

You don’t actually need a tape deck with 1/8″ out. Most of those are walkmans with really poor sound quality. If you want to hook up to your stereo deck for better sound you should get some adapters from Radioshack or Amazon. Get 2 RCA male (the red and white stereo connectors) to 1/4″ TRS (large, mono headphone jack type) connectors. Then the corresponding female 1/4″ TRS to stereo 1/8″ headphone type jack. You’ll get much better sound from your stereo deck (assuming the tape is decent and you clean and demag your deck) than you ever will from a walkman.

Mike Jun 23, 2012 at 9:43 AM

It was probably long ago when you posted this but it worked great for me! Thanx!

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