Audio cassette sounds very hollow

What can I do to make this audio cassette recording sound better? I am thinking they were recorded with the microphone way too far back.

Thank you.

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That sounds like the heads are off. With tape that small, the slightest mis-alignment of the heads turns the presentation into muffled mush. Another thing to look for is all the cassette processing. They have to match. Dolby B, Dolby C, DBX. That can profoundly affect the sound quality. If the tapes are old enough, make sure all those corrections are off.


See this page in the Audacity Wiki:


Just noticed that three of the four links at the top of the referenced page (Related Articles) seem to be broken…

Thanks. I’ve updated the links.

Thanks everyone will try with another cassette player and see how it sounds.

A different player is worth a try but the recorder may have been out of alignment, which means the tape could be “bad” and your player could be fine.

I read a story about that happening in pro recording situation (from back in the analog days). The Beatles recorded some tracks at a different studio and the playback sounded fine. When they brought the tapes to EMI (Abbey Road) to add overdubs or something, the highs were missing so they sounded terrible. They ended-up using EQ to boost the highs and living with some additional tape hiss. (It was the other studio’s machine that was out of alignment.)

Seems like I had Dolby C on.

And everything is better now? Dolby C is the Howitzer of noise reduction techniques. There’s nothing subtle or gentle about it.

On the up side, if you have a “C” tape, you can make it sound like a studio recording.


Everything is significantly better sample uploaded.


There’s nothing above 6kHz. Amplifying is not going to help: 0 x ∞ = 0
If you want content above 6kHz you have to create it with an exciter plugin.

The stereo-image is fluttering about on the original.
A cure is to collapse the stereo to mono, then make a pseudo-stereo version for a stable stereo-image.