Distorted recording of lecture.

Hi Everyone,

I am now using version 2.0.2 audacity on Windows Vista, but the recording was from 1.3.? The voice on the recording is very distorted and very hard to understand. I recorded the Bible made from 300+ cassette tapes to Audacity to MP3 files. Some are very long and would take a long time to do over so I am desperately trying to find a way to fix the distortion from the original Audacity files which I still have. I am going to attempt to attach a minute section of one file as an example of what it sounds like. I will try to attach both mp3 and the Audacity file. If anyone can help I would be so grateful. Thank you very, very much in advance for anyone willing to help.


ps Below is a 15 second mp3 example of the audio and the audacity file with data folder in a zip file. Thank you.
Amos2.zip (851 KB)

Thanks for the posting. How did you connect the cassette machine to the computer? A common mistake is to use, for example, the line-out of a cassette machine and connect it to the Mic-In of a Windows laptop computer. Mic-In is not a generic stereo connection. It’s designed for a real mono microphone or headset such as for Skype.


If you connect something more powerful than a wimpy, low power microphone, the connection may distort which is what it sounds like you have. There is no recovery. Once a show is overloaded that badly, there isn’t enough voice left to recover.

It’s one of the guaranteed ways to kill a show.

It’s very unlikely this is a Audacity version thing. If the show opens up as it’s intended, then the way it was recorded is the way you have it now. Audacity Projects are intended to open in higher versions.


Did you save these performances as Audacity Projects, or did you File > Export them as WAV files?

Did they used to play when you were in Audacity 1.3? The Bible is quite a project to record without stopping to check.

It’s possible to get Audacity 1.3 again if you think that will help.


Hi kozikowskiI

I hope that this is the correct way to reply to your response. As mentioned in my post, the recordings were from cassette tapes, around 300+ of them. They were put in a cassette player and then attached to the computer and recorded by Audacity. All of the tapes are not like that. I think it happened during the recording by something like the input volume being too loud or something of that nature. I don’t think it is a version issue either. I upgraded hoping that the newer version might have a new tool to fix it. I was certainly hoping it could be corrected through one of the effects or tools that audacity has. Or could the mp3 file be corrected in another program such as Adobe Premiere Pro I wonder?

Thank you very much for your reply. If you or anyone else has any idea how to fix the distortion on the recording or Audacity file I would be all ears and very grateful. Thank you. The files are still attached to the original post I believe.


I don’t think you can do anything with those recordings except find out the problem that caused you to record them like that.

If your computer only has a mic input, buy a USB sound card that has a line-in for $30 or so.


They were put in a cassette player and then attached to the computer

I wouldn’t fly right past that sentence. That’s a critical part of the transfer and it’s almost certainly where the distortion is coming from. Connecting a cassette machine to the Mic-In (pink or not) of a Windows laptop will not necessarily damage the sound, but I guarantee the connection will be unstable.

The pink connection is used with this…

… or this …


That’s a Behringer UCA202.


Hi again Koz,

I think there was a little misunderstanding. First it was a desktop computer and it was connected to the cassette with a regular cable with a headphone jack on both ends. One end was plugged into the line-out of the cassette player and the other into the mic port of the desktop. The sound was captured straight into Audacity from there. There was no actual mic used. Does this clarify how it was done? Some of the recording came out fine, but some didn’t. So I think some settings got changed like the volume of the input on Audacity. Would this make a difference as to whether the distorted files can or cannot be fixed with Audacity or some other program? Thank you.


Exactly. That’s the problem. The recordings would probably be unusable unless you recorded at the minimum possible input level.


Would this make a difference as to whether the distorted files can or cannot be fixed with Audacity or some other program?

Nobody can rescue those recordings. We are trying to locate the source of the distortion so you don’t get it again when you transfer the tapes the second time.


Hi Gale,

Yes, you did mention that in your first post I believe. So if I do it the same way I should do it at the minimum possible input level. I take it this should be done using the input level in the Audacity program itself? What about the cassette tape? Should it be turned down to a minimum level also, or just loud enough to where it can be heard clearly? Thank you.

Besides that, is the way in which it is done alright? We done have a big budget to buy the best gizmo’s to do the job if it can be done with the cable/jack we have been using. Thank you again very much for your feedback.


Ok Koz,

Thank you very much. I do very much appreciate the efforts of both you and Gale. It is very comforting to have a place and people that care enough to help someone out in forums like this. It is people like you and Gale that are the kinds of friends I want to surround myself with. Thank you again.


I sure did try to save them with about every effect, trick in Audacity. :wink:


After the communications here about my recording woes, I bought a Behringer UCA202 to try to get the recording of cassette to computer correct. However, I could not get the connection to record. Attached are images of what I am using. I am also recording on Windows XP and the cassette recorder is pretty old but works. The cable I have does not have two jacks on both ends, it has two on one end and one on the other. I am only interested in taping/recording in mono if that means anything. I wanted the files to be light. Do I still need a stereo cable with two jacks on either side?

I plugged the single end of the cable into the MONIT port of the cassette player and the two jacks into the input of the Behringer UCA202, (red or red, white on white). I plugged the USB connector into the computer. I already had Audacity up and opened ready to record. I turned the cassette on and hit the recorder on Audacity and it did not record. The program looked as if it was trying to record but there was just a small needle like line and I could tell the audio wasn’t reaching Audacity to record. At one point trying to try different things I got an error message about the latency correction being below 0 or something to that effect, but I just could not get it to record. Can anyone help me please. Anyone have any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong and what can be done right. I would sincerely appreciate it more than you know. Thank you very much in advance. (Please see attached jpg’s).
cassette Player.jpg
Behringer UCA202.jpg

If you are connecting from line-out of the player you cannot normally control the level of the audio that is sent. If you connect to the headphones out, the volume knob on the player will affect the level sent to the computer.

If you cannot buy a recording device that has a line-in, monitor the recording to hear what it sounds like before recording for real. To do this, click Transport > Software Playthrough (on/off) so that it is on (checked). Then click in the Audacity recording meter to turn monitoring on. You will now be able to hear what the recording would sound like if you were actually recording.

Yes you can use the Audacity input slider to control the input volume but it will likely have little effect because the input is being deliberately overloaded.


Thank you once again Gale,

That gives me a clearer picture on how to record the files over again. I will copy all the replies from you and Koz and use them when doing the recordings over. I will definitely try to duplicate your last explanation so that I can hear what is being recorded before, or as it is being recorded, which sounds like the best way to prevent what happened with the distortion. I want to thank you both again sincerely for your time and efforts in helping me. You are class people. If possible I will try to find a way to let you know how the next round goes. :wink: If I don’t talk to either one of you before the new year, I want to wish you both a very Happy New Year. May it be filled with happiness and prosperity. Until next time…


I am on fb as Buzz Amos and LinkedIn as Granville Amos.

I will definitely try to duplicate your last explanation so that I can hear what is being recorded before, or as it is being recorded, which sounds like the best way to prevent what happened with the distortion.

Pay particular attention to the instruction we both used multiple times, “Don’t use the Mic-In of your computer.”

Hi Koz,

Thank you again. I am going to have to go back and look at both of the responses from you and Gale. You say not to use the Mic-in of the computer. Which port should I use if I am using a cable with a single jack on both sides of it? Thank you.


Do you have a blue line-in port as well as pink mic port? The line-in is what you want.

Also look at the computer manual to see if you can change the mic to line level (or to stereo, which probably means the same).


Failing that, you can use a stereo adapter for your computer.

Use a stereo RCA to RCA cable like this …


… and connect that to a USB adapter like the Behringer UCA202 like this …


The UCA202 converts the stereo audio to digital and the digital signals go down the USB cable to Audacity.

On many Windows laptops, there is no place to plug a stereo cassette machine. That Lenovo computer in the pictures has no stereo connection for recording. No blue socket. Most Windows laptops are like that.

Mic-In on your computer only records half the sound and many times it damages even that.


Hi Gale and Koz,

I have read and copied both of your recent responses and I believe I have enough now to know how to get the job done right. I appreciate it very much as this was a large project my mother undertook and it means a lot to her. The recordings that have to be done over will be done right this time thanks to this forum and you guys. I hope you have a happy and safe New Year. Until next time…