I need guidance on the following. I need to transfer about 200+ audio cassettes to CD's. I think it would be best if I bought a "one-step function" machine, say like an Audio Technica or Tascam for the job. I could use guidance on what's the best and fastest process for something like this. I would prefer not having to upload to the computer first to then burn to a CD, but would welcome helpful suggestions.
Cassette to CD is done in real time the same as if you ripped the cassettes to a computer so it won't save you any time. It also makes editing and fitting content tricky sometimes.
CDs usually hold about 70 minutes. That means if you have a C60 cassette you can fit it on one CD. If you have a C90 cassette that won't fit on a single CD so you would have to monitor the recording to stop it at the right time. You can avoid that by just recording each side of the C90 onto one blank but that might not be convenient for playback,
The older high quality cassette to Cd recorders aren't made anymore and used ones are expensive. The mini systems with CD recorder have a poor quality cassette deck and cheap analog to digital converters so the quality isn't very good.
Teac makes a CD player with cassette recorder that will convert cassettes to mp3 files but not burn discs for about $400.
Using a PC allows for easier editing, making tracks, and offers the ability to reduce noise after you make your rips. You can also rip to CD quality files rather than mp3 which are lossy.
If you have a cassette deck for playback then I suggest you use a PC. Audacity works well and is free.
Don't use MP3 format - or any other lossy format, for that matter. While it would be nice to edit some of the music before putting it on CD, you mentioned you're not interested in that kind of stuff. So your best bet would be an all-at-once unit.
What's your budget? There's units available from $20 to $2000.
1. you really should match whatever noise reduction your tapes were recorded with. With commercial tapes, that means you should get a recorder that has Dolby B.
2. Take care with your analog to digital conversion. CDs are encoded with a 2-channel signed 16-bit Linear PCM sampled at 44,100 Hz standard. Look for this standard when shopping for a converter. Any other encoding used will have to be re-encoded to this standard before being burned to disk anyway. And you never gain quality through re-encoding. You can only lose quality. So encoding it to the right standard only once will yield the best results.
3. There are actually better encoding standards available. You could rip your tapes to a computer with much higher quality encoding. But to make an audio CD, you MUST use the aforementioned Sony standard or many CD players will not be able to read it.