Before we can teach you how to connect a tape deck to your PC in order for you to convert your old cassette tapes into MP3 files or CDs, we need to teach you how to clean and fine-tune it, so you will get the best audio quality. Let’s get down to it.

The tools you will need are a few cotton swabs (“Q-tips”), alcohol (isopropyl is the recommended kind), and a small (i.e., number one) Philips screwdriver for the azimuth adjustment.

In Figure 1, you can see the tape deck we are going to use in this tutorial. If your equipment has two decks like ours, you have to decide if you want to clean both decks or only the one you are going to actually use to play the tapes. In our case, we decided to clean only the right-side deck, so the pictures will reflect this choice.

Tape deckFigure 1: Tape deck

The first step is to open the deck you want to clean by pressing the corresponding “eject” button.

Opening the deckFigure 2: Opening the deck

On virtually all tape decks, you can remove the front plastic lid to help with the cleaning process; we recommend that you remove this lid. In order to do that, simply hold the lid and lift it up, as shown in Figure 3.

Removing the front lidFigure 3: Removing the front lid

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.