Digitizing audio cassettes and extracting the contents of digital cartridges.

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Thu Sep 7 22:02:21 UTC 2017

Probably off topic,

APH and NBP were selling blank NLS cartridges and a cable.  If you have 
that cable, you can copy any regular NLS cartridge and play it on an 
authorized player.  Or you could download it from the NLS web site.

On 9/7/2017 12:51 PM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Okay, this isn't strictly Linux related and is more a hardware issue,
> but I'll be using a Linux PC in text-mode for anything in the solution
> the requires my PC.
> Okay, so I want to rip my collection of 4-track audio cassettes, but
> none of them are the standard format used for Music back in the days
> before CDs. Some of them are Library for the Blind/Free Matter for the
> Blind format(i.e. half-speed and mono, playback in a regular tape
> player would result in doubled speed and different parts of the
> program overlapping), and some are 2-XL format(i.e. normal speed,
> mono, with tracks 2/4 reversed. Playback in a normal player results in
> program overlap on side 1 and reversed playback on side 2). I have the
> means to play these tapes properly(a library for the blind tape deck
> and a Tiger 2XL Robot) as well as a portable media player with line-in
> recording(a blaze ET) and the right kind of cable to connect cassette
> player's earphone jack to recorder's line-in jack, but it seems rather
> tedius to rely on a method that takes the full run time of the
> source(or 4 times the run time for the 2XL tapes) to make a digital
> copy, and I would assume such is far from being the least lossy means
> of ripping cassette tapes not to mention that the resulting rips of a
> 2XL tape might not be in sync. Ideally, I'd like a method that would
> be able to capture all 4 tracks from a cassette in a single pass and
> at an accelerated pace and account for the oddities of format in the
> tapes I'm working with(i.e. extra speed correction on the LFB/FMB
> tapes and joining the tracks as single mono stream instead of pairwise
> into a stereo stream, composing the 2XL tapes into a single quad
> channel stream while accomodating two of the tracks being reversed on
> tape), and with minimum loss of fidelity. Also, if anyone knows a
> command line program that, given a multi-channel stream, can play one
> channel at the time and switch between them on the fly with a single
> keypress, that  would be useful.
> Also, perhaps the easier problem, since its dealing with current tech
> rather than tech from 25+ years ago, I recieve several audio magazine
> subscriptions on digital cartridge, and depending on what else is on
> my plate, I sometimes struggle to find enough time to listen to a
> cartridge's contents within the window I have before I need to mail
> the cartridge back. I would like to extract the content of the
> cartridges so I can listen at my leisure and put them on my Blaze ET,
> which is far more portable than the digital cartridge player I
> have(it's nice for home listening, but completely unwieldy for
> listening on the go). The cartridges are basically just flash drives,
> but the casing is shaped in a way that prevents plugging them into a
> USB port on a desktop computer, and while a USB extension cable seems
> like the obvious solution, every such cable I've ever owned has a
> guard around the connector on the end the cartridge would plug in to,
> again preventing the connection. Assuming there's no proprietary
> filesystem on the cartridge, the solution should be as simple as
> finding a USB extension cable with unguarded connectors, mounting the
> cartridge on my PC and copying files, but I'm not sure how to find
> such a cable, and my attempts to remove the guard from a cable myself
> resulted in ruined cables.
> Any assistance with either of these issues would be greatly appreciated.

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