There are always a ton of tech questions on the Teachers.net music teachers chatboard, and recently one came up regarding transferring sounds from casette tapes to computer files and/or CD’s. I’m sure many of us have recordings of concerts or other things from “the old days” that we would enjoy having available in a more permanent and convenient form. Fortunately if you have some basic computer skills it is easy and inexpensive to transfer those casettes to your computer with materials you can buy at RadioShack.
Rather than reinvent the wheel myself I am going to direct your attention to this excellent tech-help blog where the writer has created a really helpful, detailed tutorial with photos and screen caps on how to accomplish this task using a PC and the free program Audacity (if you are using a Mac this is also possible with GarageBand.)
Basically if you have a sound card with an audio-input jack (usually blue, if you have a MacBook it is the one next to your headphone jack marked with the symbol that looks like a circle flanked by inward-pointing triangles,) a casette player with any kind of output (in the tutorial he uses RCA but this is just as possible with an 1/8″ headphone jack, although of course the resulting audio quality will vary) and a cord that can go between the two you can make this happen!
You do not need a special machine to accomplish this task!! Those things are available and if your afraid of your computer they might be easier, but they sure are going to be more expensive!