Mix Tapes Go Digital

I haven’t made a mix tape in about ten years. I still listen to my old tapes and I really enjoy them. But tapes aren’t the portable magic that they used to be. Most people don’ t have tape decks in their cars anymore, walkmans are relics of the past, and new stereos don’t come equipped to play tapes nowadays.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see that my girlfriend still has a tape deck in her car. What better motivation than to dust off the old mixer and make a new tape?

I brought out all my old gear. I hooked up two CD players to my mixer. I got all the music that I wanted to include ready but when I started mixing the tracks together I found out that my crossfader needed replacing. It crackled when I switched from one channel to the next. It also wouldn’t completely shut off either source. There was no way I could use this old gear to make her a tape.

I didn’t want to make her a mix CD. That would’ve taken no effort at all. I could have easily thrown tracks together and burned her a disc. But that’s not what a good mix tape is about.

All my mix tapes have a spoken introduction to them. The songs fade into each other so that there is a 90-minute wall of sound broken only by the short amount of time that it takes to flip the tape over. I also like to get on the microphone and tell the listener to flip over the tape and then thank them for listening at the end. I think it gives the whole experience a more personal touch.

The old gear was definitely out but I really wanted to make her a mix tape for her car. So I had to come up with a way to use what I had to get the job done.

I looked at the iMac sitting in my living room and thought “that could work.” So I opened up iMovie and built a soundtrack to a non-existing video project. I was able to layer the songs over top of each other and adjust the volume levels so that they all blended perfectly. I used the built-in microphone to record my spoken word parts of the tape. The program even kept a running time so that I knew when I had enough material to fill one side of the tape.

After I had set up both sides of the tape on the computer, I hooked up the tape deck and hit record. Digital meets analog.

Another cool thing about making a mix tape on iMovie is that it can imported into iTunes. So my girlfriend now has an actual cassette tape to listen to in her car and a digital copy of it to listen to on her iPod.

I wanted to share this tape with all of you but I am not sure how to do so. I figured out how to put up short video clips here but I haven’t found a way to put up a 47 minute one. So if you want a copy of it, let me know and I can email it to you.

In the meantime, here is the track listing,

T.I. / RIHANNA – livin’ your life
MAESTRO – God bless da child
MC LARS – true player for real
BIF NAKED – everyday
AVRIL / LEONA – I will be
LONESTAR – my front porch looking in
TAYLOR SWIFT – love story
DEF III / MOKA ONLY – speed demon
BROTHER ALI – baby don’t go
DAVID MYLES – when it comes my turn
SHAYE – this is the moment
FYC – she drives me crazy

Side B

KELLY CLARKSON – my life would suck without you
MEL C – Carolyna
MURS – everything
ANIMAL FARM – we came to rock
TIFFANY – I’m not sleeping
TLC – waterfalls
BABYFACE – when can I see you again
KREESHA TURNER – don’t call me baby
2PAC – changes
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. – 1970 something
O.C. – ma dukes

2 responses to “Mix Tapes Go Digital”

  1. Hi Silverfish,

    I’m getting used to it.

    I still can’t figure out Garage Band though. I tried making some beats on it and it is a bit limiting and doesn’t seem to do what I want it to. Maybe I just need to play with it some more.

    But it certainly was nice to make a digital mix tape on this computer. I am already planning the follow up tape.