Audio Cassette - Recording


In my rush to get the tape recorded I was remiss in neglecting to thank you.

Thank you ever so much for all your kind and appreciated help.

It recorded so clearly with Audacity.

I love this program and you helpers!


Hi Gale and Steve,

May I please follow up with a question about dividing a file in 1/2?

I successfully recorded one side of my cassette tape and saved that as a .wav file.

I was able to then convert that .wav file (saving it as a different name) into an mp3 but it’s 39MB.

I want to split that file in 1/2 (approximately) so that each half in 20 MB (or less).

What would you suggest as the easiest way to do that?

I see markers for 15:00 30:00 45:00 but none for 20.

I surmise those are for time and not size.

I want to avoid screwing up all the work I’ve already accomplished so I would very much appreciate your help in devising the best way to accomplish this goal.

Thank you so much for all your kind help.

The ruler line at the top indicates time.

One way to do it:

Click on the track at a convenient point close to the middle of the track.
Click the “Zoom to fit project” button so that you can see what you are doing:
Hold down the shift key and press the End key. This will select from where you first clicked to the end of the project.
File menu > Export Selection

You should now have exported the second half of the project.

Click the Del key to delete the selection.

File > Export > Audio

Export the remaining (first half) of the project.

Hi Steve,

I needed to delete the first 17 seconds of silence before the music starts at second 18 of the beginning.

I did this by clicking on the + Magnifying Glass and then placing the mouse cursor into the wave box *with dark blue colors) and pushing the finger backward from 18 to 0 and then right clicking on it and choosing Delete.

So, now the recording begins correctly at second 18.

Then, I pushed the finger to the right all the way to 19:51:596 but I wanted to listen to near that end (around 19:50 minutes to see where a good place was to stop it so I can then save all that In Export to File. But, I’m afraid I will lose all that I pushed in purple to the right to reach 19:51:596.

I’m trying to recall how I can save all that and listen to near the end of the first half in case I need to elongate it past 19:51:596 or shorten it from 19:51:596?

Then, once I export that roughly first half of the recording I’ll want to pick up right where I left off and then grab from that point as the beginning of the 2nd file to export and drag that to the end of the recording to save that section as the 2nd half.

Would it be easier to do this using the digital counter starting with End Length?

Thanks so much.

Hi Gale and Steve,

Well, I guess I’ve inadvertent touched the wrong button! :slight_smile:

I think my step-by-step procedure for recrording my need tweaking.

I place the cassette tape in the deck and turn the deck on with it connected to the line in on the PC running XP Pro.

I open Audacity and click on that microphone on the upper right with the drop down menu with Start Monitoring. I then click on Start Monitoring and sometimes (but not all the time) I can see the red horizontal bars on the L and R lighting up.

I then hit Play on the deck and sometimes it records. Sometimes not.

I notice that the pencil thin vertical line going down from the time number is not always starting at 0. Sometimes it starts at 15:00 or between 0:00 and 15:00 so I use the finger to push it back to 0 and then that graph lights up in ink-blue but often it means it’s no longer recording because I don’t see those red horizontal lines lighting up on the L and R.

Am I following the exact correct steps to simply record a tape? How do I make sure it starts recording at 0 and not 15:00 or other demarcation?

Should I be doing anything with the Transport button where it has a drop down men with Record? Right now there is a check mark (by default) next to Overdub. Should that be un-checked? Should I place a check mark next to Software Play through?

Thank you so much for your help.

There is no right-click menu on selections; that’s a feature request.

It would be easier on the tendons to hold SHIFT and press K.

If you have a complete track with no clips, you can always double-click in the waveform to reselect all of it. Or you can save the selection with Edit > Region Save and bring it back with Edit > Region

To play from 19:49 (or 19:50 or 19:51) to the end, hover the mouse pointer in the waveform underneath that point in time, then press B on your keyboard. This plays from the mouse pointer to the end of the track. This works whether there is a selection or not. See .

You can also drag a selection above the waveform, where the Timeline is ( ). That selection will play as soon as you release the mouse. This method does not change any selection you already have in the track.


Presumably it only records when you first see the red bars when monitoring?

You have to leave the Device Toolbar input choice set as here, set to line-in:

There is no need to do that. Press the Skip to Start button

or press J on the keyboard.

If you were able to record with the selection present, the recording would start in the track underneath, starting from the left edge of the selection (wherever it was).

If recording doesn’t start every time you press Record, try rebooting the computer.

It depends what you want to do. Software Playthrough lets you hear the monitoring before you start recording and lets you hear what you are recording while you are recording. Normally you would Software Playthrough on for recording from cassettes, unless you can already hear the cassette play in the computer without enabling playthrough.

Overdub lets you play and hear other tracks already present in Audacity when you record. If you are still wanting to sing to the recordings already made in Audacity, you probably want Overdub on.


Hi Gale,

For some reason despite placing a check mark next to notify me about a post I didn’t receive e-mails about posts here.

Anyway, trying to cut to the chase…

I’m hoping you can please share the easiest way to accomplish my goals?

The goals are to have 2 separate MP3 recordings of Side One and 2 separate MP3 recordings of Side Two of the cassette tape.

I have recorded one side of a audio cassette tape. It’s 39 minutes and several seconds - let’s just say it’s 31 seconds.

I want to divide that recording into approximately equal halves. First half being 20 minutes (approximately) and the Second half being 19 minutes (approximately).

I’m trying to avoid editing any half so that it does not cut off a word or syllable. The goal is to have the First half end in a silent point and the Second half begin on a silent point so there are no awkward vocal cut offs.

I can’t detect if I’m ending the First half or beginning the Second half at a silent point or interrupting a word or syllable unless I’m listening to the tape (or recording).

I’m not familiar with nomenclature like Software Playthrough or Overdub nor how to activate either so I’m trying to keep this in layperson’s terms?

I’m not sure exactly what my step-by-step process should be?

  1. I place the tape in the cassette deck (connected to the PC) and turn the deck on but not hit Play yet.
  2. I open Audacity.
  3. I click on that Mic icon on the upper right toolbar(?) and choose Start Monitoring
  4. I click the Play button on the deck and the tape begins playing

I’m lost after that.

I want to be able to detect when I’ve hit the 20 minute (approx) point so I can stop the recording at a silent spot and save all the recording up to that point but no further. I’m not sure what I hit at that point? The stop button icon in Audacity and the Pause on the tape deck? Then, do I choose File >Export Selection to save just that first 20 minutes?

Then, how do I pick up where I left off? How do I start the Second half at a silent point right where I left off without losing any of the Second half?

For a recording l already have in MP3, how would the steps differ?

I open the MP3 file in Audacity and hit play and how do I then listen to that and stop at the 20 minute point and save that First 20 minutes? Then, how do I return to then save the Second half of that MP3 as a separate MP3 recording?

Again, the ultimate goal is to have 2 separate MP3 recordings of Side One and 2 separate MP3 recordings of Side Two of the cassette tape.

Thank you so much for all your help and understanding.