What is the best way to convert a cassette tape to digital?

i have my cassette deck hooked up to a intensity shuttle by blackmagic and it has a thunderbolt 2 cable running from it to a thunderbolt 3 adapter to my imac but it is not registering that any thing is connected to the usb c port. i want to go from rca to usb c or usb a and have the computer register that something is plugged in what is the best way to do that? don’t worry about the intensity shuttle i’m just looking for a recommended way to do it.

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Audacity all the way https://www.audacityteam.org

Also works on Mac. Great little tool for bringing audio data straight in from tape. I have used it many times. The results can be edited within the software, and then exported to WAV, FLAC or MP3.

As long as you can attach your tape deck to the computer so you can hear audio at the computer, then Audacity can do the rest.

I am not sure what an Intensity Shuttle is. Does it not have an audio in? Or microphone jack? Or is this like a normal Apple with no connectors? I do a fair bit of format shifting like this on various machines so can help find something.

Edit: Just seen what a shuttle is, so we need to poke and troubleshoot the mac a bit to get it to work with the device. Have you hacked around in the audio input settings? Is it visible? It is a driver issue?

it is not a computer it is like this one but with a thunderbolt 2 connector were the usb connector is
and my computer is not recognizing it as being connected i need something that will go from tape deck to the computer that works

Sorry - been on a long phone call trying to rescue a backup of some legal document from an email…

We need to get that Blackmagic box working on the Mac. So if does not yet appear in the OS, we need to either poke harder there, check drivers. OR abandon it and swap to a different product.

Has this device worked in the past for you?

This daft design of a Mac with no inputs. :smiley:

I did record a cassette by plugging the cassette deck to computer LINE IN with an RCA to jack wire.
Then you can make your audio editor (like audacity) analyse a silent part of your recording (where there is only regular noise), to take it as model to remove that noise from the remaining of your recording.

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How do you do this bit? Is that applying it as an effect? I’ve only just done the basic transfers before - noise and all.

I’m not on computer right now but I found this:

I used discovered this technique with Cool Edit (such a cool name) long time ago, before YouTube and all this:

I am still not used to Audacity as much as to Cool Edit but it’s super that Audacity exists, free, multi-platform. And Cool Edit doesn’t work any more.


i don’t have a line in so it will not work that way i purchased the Blackmagic box a while ago to import old super 8 tapes to my mac but i’ve not gotten around to it yet. im happy to give a different way ago if i have to i can plug it in to my pc the biggest thing is filing a connection that will work it has to be usb a or c there are cables that will go from rca to c im just trying to see what people think will work

Thanks @jesus2099 - I’ll look closer at that.

@st3v3p - I have never tried getting audio into a Mac. Only via a USB microphone. That box you have looks good, but it comes down to getting the drivers to work. A PC is easy as they all have a line in\mic in socket. So you can just work with standard audio cables - no USB needed.

If you do have a PC in the house it may just be simpler to connect tape deck direct to that and use Audacity. Then you can copy the files to your Mac after.


Any USB audio interface should work so long as it has a stereo line input - a quick precursory search on Amazon (UK) shows me a wide range of products at different price points.

The Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle should be fine - as it appears that i can capture audio as well as video.

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yer you may be right i decide to contact the manufacturers to see if they can help before i give up on it. i may be just missing something it could even be the thunderbolt to usb c adapter i got on ebay that is faulty as it came from china (no offence to any one from china but here if it has made in china it means it may break sooner then something from most other countries) that’s australia for you

Chasing the manufacturer for an updated driver and\or confirmation as to which Macs it works on sounds best to me. I tried to read their forum, but it seemed a bit vague\unresponsive.

@sound.and.vision is right that Amazon(aus) also has heaps of those audio to USB adopters, but they either seem to be for heaphones or Chinese tatt. The reviews are not too polite about them. We also suffer with the same quality control issues from those same Chinese factories.

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i also posted on the apple forums they told me this
“Yes, you must only use a genuine Apple thunderbolt adapter. Thunderbolt adapters are classed as active, meaning they have a controller chip powered by the Mac.”
i don’t think may from china will have it. rip me

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Official Only makes sense. As an Apple owner you should be used to the Apple Tax by now :laughing:

I’ve seen some very weird adaptors sold on Amazon. Especially in the AV world. They sell 'em cheap on the basis that you won’t bother returning them if broken.

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i’ll return it if it does not work i have the one from apple on the way so we will know for sure

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So they don’t provide standard inputs and they don’t allow any compatible stuff either? :face_with_hand_over_mouth:
I hope it’s the last time you buy an Apple computer.


i have a pc right next to my imac i like having both as it gives me options my pc was a high end gaming computer a few years ago and my imac i use for other stuff if i can but i can use the pc for most things i do on my mac

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In this case you have the perfect headache free adaptor you need already to hand. Look on the back of the PC box for the pink connector to plug your audio jack into. It will accept a standard line-in. This means you only need a cheap $15 audio cable to connect your tape deck to the PC. ( https://www.amazon.com.au/Cable3-5mm-Auxiliary-PhoneCarHeadphoneSpeakerStep-Gold-Plated-Braided/dp/B07PYHF5QT/ )

Use the PC to process the audio using Audacity, then transfer to your Apple. You could even transfer it as an Audacity Project file if you prefer working on the Apple.

If you have a cheap tape deck, the headphone socket is enough to work with. If a fancy deck then you’ll have a pair of phonos as output.


it was the garbage adapter i got from ebay it is showing up but i still can not get audio coming thru tho so i will have to contact the manufacturers

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