Buzzing and "Pre-echo" in electronic copy

In use: Windows 8.1 / Audacity 2.1.1 / .exe version downloaded / Grace Tape2USB equipment / Mono for talk
Project: Digitizing audio cassettes, mostly professional copies

I think my problem is something I’m not doing with Audacity. I’m getting an electronic buzz thru the recording; it’s audible but not awful. I’m also getting a “pre-echo”: a shallow reproduction of the actual voice begins about 2 syllables before the actual voice does, low but audible. I can live with it, but if some setting would help, I will do it. I’ve used Effect / Noise reduction… but I can’t tell that it makes any difference. I know absolutely nothing about this work - I’m older and struggle with my Dell laptop (why else would I have a bunch of cassettes…). I did search but found nothing like my problems, and it sounds like everyone is so much more informed about all this. I’d appreciate any help you can offer.

I’m also getting a “pre-echo”

That’s the problem right there. Do you hear that pre-echo when you simply listen to the tapes without the computer, say with good headphones? We have no good tools for that.

I applied a number of corrections and patches (attached), but it would be really good not to need that. It sounds at first pass like a bad connection or a broken cable shield or something like that. I would have picked a wall-power problem except the values of buzz (125, 251) don’t line up with either 50Hz or 60Hz power…???

That can come from bad lights, electric motors, positioning of the cassette machine. Is it sitting on a nice, plain wooden table or on top of the computer?


If the tapes have been around longer than you have, there’s a good chance of getting “print-through.” One layer of tape will print a very quiet copy of itself on the layer underneath.

I don’t know of any way to get rid of that in post production. It’s exactly the same problem as voice echo in a room with no carpets. We have no tools for that, either.


Thank you for all the help! I put the Tape2USB on a board to keep it flat and level, and then I replaced the cable. It greatly improved the recording! Yea! I’d like to know what the patches were - it did sound better. I’m so glad this forum exists and you are looking at the questions! Thanks again!