Dubbing cassette tapes without clipping

I’m using Audacity 2.2.2 on Win 10. I have a whole lot of audio cassettes that I need to dub. They’re mostly speech and I’m having a problem with clipping. Specifically, some speech is very faint and some is very loud. I think that what I have to do is set the input level so that there won’t be clipping and then later perhaps apply an AGC effect. But I can’t tell ahead of time what the loudest will be. So if I set the input level at what I think is a good point, I can get clipping.

How can I avoid clipping in this situation while still getting a good recording?

I think that what I have to do is set the input level so that there won’t be clipping

Right. Don’t be afraid of recording too low. If your peaks are hitting -6dB (50%) or less, that’s OK. Digital isn’t like analog tape where you need a hot signal to overcome tape noise (and changing the recording level won’t affect the signal-to-noise ratio of the original tape). …If your peaks are down around -20dB something’s probably needs to get re-adjusted.

But I can’t tell ahead of time what the loudest will be.

I’m not very good about predicting the future either. :wink: Sometimes you just have to start-over.

OK, thanks for the tips. I’ll see what I can do …