Q: What is your ordering process?
A: The best way to proceed is to either print out our paper order form to send with your cassette tapes, complete and submit an online order form for CDs or Digital Files, OR simply include a handwritten or typed note to include with your tapes.
With both the online form or printable form, you can skip or select any option you would like such as Duplicate Copies, Custom Photos, Track Separations, Jewel Case Upgrades, MP3 CD options, Permanent Archive Storage, and more. You are also welcome to include any special instructions on either order form, or include a note with your package.
Next, package your cassette tapes in a box or padded envelope and send them to our studio address below.
If you submit our online order form, we will match your order form with your package when it arrives.
2127 Rice Rd.
Chehalis, WA. 98532
You are welcome to include your payment information on our online or printable order form, send payment with your package (if you know your exact total - check, money order etc.), Or, if you would prefer, call us at anytime with your payment information, after receiving our email confirmation that your order has arrived at our studio.
NOTE: You may also instead of using our online order form, or printable order form... type out or hand-write your order information on paper, and include with your cassette tapes. This information should include: Name, address, phone number, email (if available), cassette title, and how many CDs needed (or digital drive). Plus any other information you would like to add.
Q: How long does it take to complete my order?
A: Our normal completion time is 1-3 business days for most orders. If you need it back faster, please let us know of any deadline you may have and we will do our best to expedite the completion of your order at no extra charge. For even quicker service, there are always various shipping options such as Priority Mail, Express Overnight Service etc.
Q: What if my tape is broken, or breaks while it is playing?
A: We can repair 99% of all tapes that are broken or that break while playing. If your tape happens to break while it is being played, we will fix it for you at no cost. If your tape is already broken (ex: tape has come off one side), the charge is $6.00 to repair if we can still use your tapes case, and $2.00 additional if a new replacement case is needed. If more extensive repairs are required (very rare), we will let you know the estimated cost before proceeding. Please note: If any part of the tape itself is damaged (crinkled, twisted etc.), that portion would need to be removed.
Q: My cassette tapes are commercially purchased, can you transfer these?
A: YES, fair use copyright laws allow you to have a back-up of audio that you already own. We are simply changing the format of audio that belongs to you from analog to digital.
Q: My cassette tapes are home-made, can you transfer these?
A: Absolutely, we can transfer any type of cassette tape you have made yourself.
Q: Can you combine several short tapes onto a single CD?
A: YES, we can combine numerous tapes onto a single CD, as long as the combined audio does not exceed 75 minutes (a CD's maximum capacity). However please note, the cost is per cassette tape, as each is individually processed.
There are several benefits of combining multiple tapes to a single CD.
One: We make sure all the tapes' volume levels are the same on the final CD. Rarely are 2 tapes ever recorded at the same volume, so we adjust and normalize all levels with a process we call "multiple tape decibel equalization". This way you'll never need to adjust the volume level up or down.
Two: We create and include a separate track for each tape on the final CD. This means if there are 3 tapes on a single CD, there would be 3-6 separate tracks. Meaning, you could easily locate any particular tape or tape's side on the final CD.
Three: when combining multiple tapes to a single CD, there will be less duplicates needed if ordered.
* If you would like your cassettes combined to a single CD... you can select this option on our online order form, or simply include a note with your tapes. Also, please indicate the order you would like them combined.
Q: Can you run multiple tapes continuously onto fewest CDs as possible?
A: YES, we can run all your tapes continuous one after another, and fill up each CD as we go. This is a great idea with oral history tapes, books on tape, lectures, seminars, music tapes of the same genre, or any tapes you'd like to run together. Similar to combining multiple tapes to a single CD (above answer), advantages include:
One: Volume equalization across all tapes.
Two: Separate tracks (one track per side - included). In other words when running multiple tapes continuous to fewest CDs possible, we will include a separate track for each side of each tape. This gives you the ability to easily navigate to any one side of any particular tape.
Three: If any cassettes are extended length, such as 90 minute tapes... you will not need 2 CDs for each tape (more expensive). For example 5 extended length 90 minute tapes would only require 1 extra CD when combined.
Four: Fewer CDs would be needed when ordering duplicate sets.
* If you would like your cassettes to run consecutive one after another to fewest CDs possible... you can select this option on our online order form, or include a note with your order.
Also, please number your tapes 1, 2, 3, 4, etc in the order you would like them recorded, and choose one "Main title" that will be added to all CDs. We'll then add a sequence number to the CDs as well. "Part 1 of 6", "Part 2 of 6", etc.
Q: How many minutes can fit onto a CD?
A: A CD can hold approximately 75 minutes. If your tape is longer in length than 75 minutes, it would require an additional CD to transfer the entire tape's audio. In this case, each tape's side would be put onto it's own separate CD. A double CD set is priced as 2 cassette to CD transfers.
Our online order form will walk you through these choices, or you can also include your preference with your tapes when sending them in.
As a part of our transfer service, we do eliminate/cut out large "silent gaps" (tape lead-in and lead-out times, and also the center of the tape as it switches sides). These edits can often allow an extended length tape to fit onto a single CD, but not always.
Q: What is the "Track Separations" option?
A: Track Separations is an option we commonly add to music tapes (even spoken word tapes occasionally).
Track Separations give you the ability to skip around between songs on your final CD. With OUT track Separations added, your songs still play one after another starting from the beginning of the CD, but play as one looooooong continuous track, without the ability to select between songs.
While the cost is $6.00 additional for the first CD, Track Separations are included with any duplicates ordered. With music tapes, this option is preferred by most of our customers.
Note: Track Separations can not be added to live/continuous audio.
Q: Can you add "Track Separations" to any music tape... including home-made?
A: YES, as long as there is a silent space between the songs. With most commercially made tapes this is pretty standard. However, if the songs on your home-made tapes run completely together with no space between the songs, it is almost impossible to find where one song ends and the next begins.
If your cassette tape is of live/continuous music (commercial or home-made), we prefer NOT to add Track Separations. It can be difficult to locate the individual tracks, and a new track will always add a 2-3 second "silent spot" that disrupts the natural flow of the audio.
Q: Can you add a photo to the CD or case?
A: YES, with our "Custom Photo Upgrade" we create a photo insert for the front of the case (not printed on the CD itself). You can choose the picture that is already in the case, or send us your own custom photograph with your package or via email.
Q: Can you list the individual song titles on the CD or case?
A: YES, this option we call our "Jewel Case Upgrade". We create an insert for the back of the jewel case with all the song titles listed... we do not list song titles on the CD itself.
Also please note: A very legible song list must be included with your order, or emailed to us. With this upgrade, the CD also comes in a larger standard-sized jewel case instead of a slim case.
Q: Can I pick and choose individual songs from a cassette to be put onto CD?
A: Generally no, however we do on occasion provide this service. You must include very clear instructions with your cassettes regarding song locations and a specific timeline (minutes, seconds). Please note: A custom editing charge does apply to this service.
Q: Are duplicate CDs as good as the original 1st CD?
A: YES, the duplicate CDs we create ($4.95 each) are the exact same quality as your 1st CD, as we create duplicate CDs from the same original file.
Q: Can I make my own copies of the CDs Medialocks creates?
A: YES, your new CDs belong to you, we have no copy-protection built into them. They are very flexible and can easily be downloaded into your computer for several purposes, including ipod use, or making additional copies.
Q: Will I get my tapes back?
A: YES, your tapes or any other media will always be returned to you just as we received them.
Q: What type of files are the CDs I receive?
A: The CDs we create are very flexible audio files. If you load them into your computer they will say .cda which simply stands for CD Audio.
Q: Do you supply any music or songs that I can purchase?
A: No, MediaLocks does not sell any songs or music. We provide a transfer service only of songs you already own.
Q: Do you transfer micro/mini cassette tapes to CD?
A: YES, the cost is $20.00 per tape. All other options are the same as standard-sized cassette tapes. There is a separate order form specifically for these mini types of cassette tapes.
Q: Do you keep a back-up of my tapes?
A: Temporarily yes, we do keep back-up files of your tapes in our system for about 4-5 weeks after we send them out to you solely as a shipping safety net. If something were to happen to your order during return shipping, we could easily reproduce the same exact same CDs. After 4-5 weeks we delete the files.
We do also offer a permanent back-up service (see below).
Q: What is the Permanent Archive Storage Service?
A: With this option, we will keep an extra copy of your CDs permanently in our studio. This service has 2 distinct benefits:
(1) You will always have your audio backed up in a 2nd location with us.
(2) If you ever need extra CDs made, no need to send a CD back to us for duplication... just email or call us, and we will send more out to you. We also store the labeling information!
Note: Any CD(s) stored with us always belongs to you. If you ever want them back, simply pay for return shipping.
Q: I am nervous about sending my cassette tapes, how can I know they will be safe?
A: We have GREAT news in this area!!! We have never even once had an order not reach us that has been sent. Nor have we ever even sent out an order that did not reach its destination. We also send every order out with a tracking number, as well as keep a digital back-up of your recordings for about 4-5 weeks from the time your package leaves. If something were to happen to it, we could easily make identical CDs and send them out again.
The best way to send/protect your cassettes is to completely enclose them in a box, or padded envelope. For extra further assurance, you can always purchase some type of tracking number through the US Postal Service, FedEx, or UPS. We will then email you when your order arrives.
Q: How is my tape converted to CD?
A: Our philosophy is to treat each and every tape we receive as if it were our own. Sounds a bit corny in today's "big business, money is everything" society, but taking this approach is how we remain successful every day and keep our customers coming back!!
The following is how we convert your cassette tape(s) to digital (CD). First, we fast forward and rewind each tape, to make sure it is flowing freely and will play properly. Next, we fast forward into the tape where the audio is playing. From this point we start making initial adjustments. While your audio is playing, we adjust the high-end, low end, and mid-range frequencies on our 24 band graphic equalizers to start optimizing the sound. This is just another way of saying we are making the audio play more clear. At the same time, we adjust both the right and left channels to make sure when your CD comes back, the sound plays equally in both your Left and Right speakers. Once the audio (whether spoken word or music) sounds good, we adjust the overall volume level so when you have your CD back, it will play nice and even without needing to adjust the volume up or down.
Now that your audio has been initially optimized for clarity, channel, and volume levels... we rewind the tape back to the beginning of side A and start recording. We allow the tape to play in its entirety from the beginning to the end of the first side, whether we see/hear audio or not. This way we do not leave out any recorded audio on the tape. Many times we will find large blank spaces ranging from a few seconds to several minutes, before the audio comes back in. In other words we record everything on your tape including any blank spaces to make sure nothing is missed. Once side A has been recorded, we turn the tape over to side B, and record that side as well in its entirety.
We're only about 1/2 done at this point!! Now that your entire tape has been completely recorded on both sides, we clean up the newly recorded audio file even further before finalizing and completing your CD. First, we eliminate the blank "lead-in" and "lead-out" times at the beginning and end of the tape, as well as any large blank spaces within the audio itself. This way you are not waiting for the audio to start, or having to listen to large silent spaces on your completed CD.
While your audio file is already improved and enhanced, we still have a couple more steps to go!! We now listen to various parts of the audio file to see if any more improvements can be made. Typically here, we can reduce tape hiss a little if present, as well as make final volume adjustments. Many times one tape's side will be louder than the other, we will see these type of volume discrepancies and adjust them as well.
With our company, all of these enhancements and attention to detail are given to each and every cassette tape we receive without exception. We know you'll be pleased when you choose us...
Sincerely, James Leslie (MediaLocks - Owner)