I have audio of my grandfather on mini cassettes (see attached photo) and I'd like to get it onto my mac so that I can use it in a slide show. Once the audio is digital I'll have no issues, but I don't even know what search terms to put into google in order to find out the hardware I'll need to purchase to make the transition. Obviously there is sentimental value so I'd also like it to be as lossless as possible.
Conversion from an analog format to digital is pretty simple, but you'll need a few things before you get started. First, you'll need a micro or mini-cassette player that has an output - you'll be using this to output to the line-in of your sound card. Which brings us to the second requirement; some software to record into mp3 format. These programs are a dime a dozen, but remember, free is always better! PC users can use WMP with Superpack and OSX users can use Garageband (which comes standard with iLife) or Quicktime Pro (requires mula for registration).
On the other hand, using an outboard analog-to-digtal converter (or at the very least an external soundcard, i.e. M-Audiophile Firewire) would greatly increase the quality of the transfer. If you want to trim your sound file, try Audacity (hey, it's free) - there you can get rid of silence where it's unneeded.
Of course, it's much easier if you have a more standard format such as vinyls or regular cassettes. In which case, you could resort to Ion's Tape 2 PC converter (supports both Mac and PCs) or their LP Dock via a simple USB connection and their software to streamline the conversion process.
If anyone else has any tips, please let Emily know!