Digitizing audio cassettes and extracting the contents of digital cartridges.

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Fri Sep 8 00:29:35 UTC 2017

I just saw a message that the Perkins Library is now selling these 
cartridges, and cables that work with them, on Amazon.

On 09/07/2017 05:02 PM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> 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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Christopher (CJ)
Chaltain at Gmail

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