Cassette ripping– yes, it’s crazy

A few months ago, I mentioned that I’d been going through my cassette tape archive, and had discovered a heap of taped broadcasts still awaiting transfer. Shortly after writing that entry, I contacted my go-to guy for “hey do you happen to have a _____,” this being my helpful friend Karthik. As it happened, he did have a machine dedicated to ripping cassette tapes directly to my PC, and was happy to loan it to me once he had a chance to retrieve it from storage. Some of these tapes had been waiting patiently since 2002– no big deal waiting a bit longer!


Last weekend, Karthik showed up with the machine, and I’ve been ripping tapes successfully since last night. I did encounter a couple problems along the way, though.

First off, the manual is about 50% Chinglish. My favorite part is on page 44. “This is the main funtion of the Plusdeck2c.” For some reason, stating the main “funtion” of the unit halfway through the manual just cracks me up, and I made no shortage of dumb jokes about this for the rest of the evening. That the phrase appears as a bullet point seems to increase the hilarity– I may need this on a t-shirt.

Secondly, the PC I chose to mate with the cassette ripper has a thin-profile case. In other words, only PC components for the gnome hobbyist fit inside. I ended up using one of my various Dremel tools to chew a neat hole in the side of the case, allowing the PC power cable to emerge. It’s not exactly elegant, but plopping the ripper directly on top of the PC was a fair enough workaround, especially since I lay this PC down flat anyway.

Other than that, everything works fine. I had to screw around with the levels a bit, but I have to admit that the included software does a fine job of making cassette ripping into a set-it-and-forget-it experience.

It’s also fairly exciting! I’ve already ripped two shows from 2003, and two from 2002. One of the 2002 shows is from 7/26, which includes two improvisational mixing sets of mine. I’m pretty cheesed about the playlist:

EKV - Testimony
Kid Koala - "Nerdball" and "Fender Bender"
Hoppy Kamiyama - Fresh for the Jet Set
Art Bears - Collapse
Dave Fischoff - 926
Tuxedomoon - Dark Companion
Jackie-O Motherfuckers - The Pigeon
The Saboten - Unmitigated Audacity
DaveX - Happy Birthday Archie
Forma 4 - Reproduction
Kalma - Toob Steak
:::::::IMPROV PORTION OF SHOW (list of materials used, in whole or in part):::::::::
Jimmy Swaggart - May the Circle Be Unbroken (speech in Detroit, Mich.)
John F. Kennedy - Nuclear Tests Speech, Nov. 1961
James Bailey - Train to the 8th Dimension
Gen. Douglass MacArthur - Keynote Speech, 7/7/1952
John Coltrane - The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost
Eccentre - Gray Landmarks
Jimi Hendrix - Star-Spangled Banner
Rasmussen - Zac McKracken (Commodore64 Remix)
Adrian75 - Elves in my Bathroom
Keith Jarrett - Live in Lausanne, 1973.. solo concert
::::::::::2ND IMPROV PORTION OF SHOW (list of materials used, in whole or in part):::::::::
Rune Lindblad - Optica 8
July Fourth Toilet - Noise Maker Pomposity
Contrastate - Northern Twilight
Merzbow - Bamboo Honey
Hoppy Kamiyama - Insect's Dream
Kalma - Scrubbing Lockdown

Right now, I can’t be sure of how much of this show was on the tape, but I’d imagine this is only half of the show. Hopefully, another tape from this date is in the pile as well. I also saw five tapes from 1/28/06, the day of my infamous six-hour broadcast. Some of the tapes seem to indicate eleven sides were originally recorded– I’ve only located nine, so who knows where the gap will be?

One Response to “Cassette ripping– yes, it’s crazy”

  1. I’m back! (A Quick-Start Guide to DaveX) | Startling Moniker Says:

    […] Show. I have problems with depression, but I’m still hopeful. I enjoy collecting records and tapes, reading, and circuit-bending. I make noisy things (and sometimes, I sell them!) I’m a […]

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