Cassette tapes/New user questions


Before I get to my question, I am using Windows XP-Pro.

The message board was for Audacity version 2.x and there was a note for users of 1.3 to either update or go to another section.

I had version 1.2.6, so I upgraded to 2.0.1

Do I need these plug-ins and if so, what folder should I download them to?

LADSPA plug-ins 0.4.15 installer (.exe file, 1.5 MB) - Contains over 90 plug-ins.
Plug-Ins - Download additional effects and filters.
LAME MP3 encoder - Allows Audacity to export MP3 files.
FFmpeg import/export library - Allows Au

Anyway, here are my questions.

I have a lot of old cassette tapes and reel to reel tapes. I want to convert some stuff to comper, mp3, etc. and burn some to CD. I have a lot of old scratchy sounding things I taped off the TV, etc. Some that have that “Brrrr” sound in the background, that I need to clean up.

Before I get playing around with cleaning things up, what is the best way to convert these? Should I buy a regular cassette player and connect it to my computer through the audio out (ear plugs) to audio in? Or is it better to purchase a cassette player with a UBS connection?


These are all “optional extras”.
To Export in MP3 format you will need to install LAME. The other items you probably will not need (though they can be installed later if you find that you do need them).

Full instructions for downloading and installing LAME are here:

I’ve not used one, but I get the impression that the USB cassette players are generally fairly low quality. The way that I record cassettes is with a reasonably good hi-fi cassette deck connected to the computer via a Behringer UCA 202 USB sound card. This gives much better quality than using the computer’s built in sound card.

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reply. Sorry, I didn’t check the FAQ section first. I just saw you message about that now.

That’s interesting, I thought the answer was going to be UBS. I was going to buy a portable cassette recorder from Radio Shack, but it didn’t have the UBS connection. I am fine with Audio line, I just thought with UBS being more new, people would prefer it.

So, if you are saying that the USB connection is not as good, then how does the Behringer UCA202 USB sound card become better then the computer sound card, if it uses a USB connection?

I am pretty sure I have seen a big elaborate cassette player with a UBS connection that had the Audacity logo on the front of it. I want to say Best Buy for about $80, but not certain. do you know anything about that?

I have played around with a few already from a Walkman, but need to learn more about cleaning up the tapes. I’ll check the FAQ on that one, and start a new thread if I need anything.

Thanks again. Anything else to add, please let me know.

USB is not inherently bad, but many inexpensive USB cassette players / turntables seem to have rather low quality components which can cause problems. The Behringer UCA-202 has surprisingly good electronics for the price and is regularly reported to be surprisingly good. The UC-202 is little more than a small circuit board in a plastic box, so it seems that Behringer have put all of the cost into the parts that matter - the electronics. I’ve used a UCA -202 for several years and it continues to serve me very well, (though the label fell off the top about a year ago).