Can't record from a USB cable connected to a tape deck


I have some tapes I want to record, and bought a 3.5mm to USB cable to do this.

I have plugged the 3.5mm end into the headphones socket of the tape deck, and the USB end into my PC, then started Audacity. However, the only three options I have in the recording device dropdown are for other things. I tried all three, but none of them work with the tape deck input.

I had a look at the docs page, it says…

By the system clock, right-click over the Speaker icon > Recording Devices then right-click over USB Audio Codec > “Properties”.

However, when I look at the recording devices, I don’t see anything like that…

Any idea what I’ve missed? Thanks

P.S. I’m using Audacity 2.2.1 on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit in case it makes any difference.

Select “Microphone USB PNP Device…” I assume you don’t have a USB mic or any other USB audio device connected? Sometimes windows sees a generic audio device and thinks it’s microphone.

From the description it’s hard to tell that adapter cable works for recording with a computer…


I do have a headset plugged into a USB port, I use it for Skype. I tried that option, but apart form a lot of feedback, it took input from the headset’s microphone, not the tape deck.

I bought the cable based on one of the questions, where someone asked…

Does it work to actually input audio into a pc? Trying to connect my 3DS audio to my pc for recording purposes.

…and got the answer…

Yes but you have to have the software on your pc to be able to record. Audacity is a good software programme and is free to download.

I have Audacity, and now have the cable, but can’t seem to get them to work together.

Thanks for the reply.

If Windows doesn’t see it, Audacity won’t see it either. :frowning:

The Berhinger UCA 202 is a popular and inexpensive audio interface with line-inputs,* but it does cost more than your USB adapter cable and you’ll need different cables for the RCA inputs.


  • Line-level inputs are compatible with headphone-level signals, but microphone inputs are not. So… Do NOT buy a regular “USB soundcard” because they are like laptops with only line-in and headphone-out.

The cable you’ve bought will never work. It’s a charger cable for ipod shuffle and compatible mp3 players.

OK, thanks to both of you for the replies. Guess this cable is going back then.

I looked at devices like the Berhinger UCA 202, but was hoping for something I could just plug into my existing tape deck. My previous PC had a line in socket, and a standard 3.5mm jack to jack from the headphones socket to the PC worked fine. This new PC doesn’t have a line in, which is why I was looking at a cable like this.

Thanks again.

but was hoping for something I could just plug into my existing tape deck.

A “simple cable” won’t work because you need to convert analog (headphone) to digital (USB). Presumably, your existing cable has (or should have had) a chip (and some other components) built-into it. I have seen guitar-to-USB cables like that.

I recommend getting a cable like this:

If you have a Radio Shack (or other electronics store) Maybe even Walmart has it.

I’ve been recording without issue like this for years.

I recommend getting a cable like this: > … B00006HOIT

No! The cable is OK, but he doesn’t have a line-input on his laptop.