How to increase input level - uca 202

Hi all,

New to Mac/Audacity/uca 202/digitizing cassette tapes. Need some help with increasing input level while recording.

Latest iMac (no line in jack, hence the uca202)
OS - 10.9.3
Audacity 2.0.5

I am trying to convert old cassette tapes into digital format, using tape deck connected to uca then to iMac, but the input level is really very low. I have searched and read many posts here and try to find out how to increase the input level of the uca. I have modified all the settings in Audacity, Mac-system preference-sound, and also Mac-utility-midi, making sure the uca is selected and everything matched (44100, 16 bit, stereo). I know many people here use uca, so how do you increase the input level? My tape deck does not have output level control and Mac does not allow me to change the input level, so what should I do? I bought the uca 202 because a lot of people recommend this to be used with the new iMac and Audacity. I never expect the input level to be so low. Any suggestion, please?

Also the recording is not balanced - there seems to be very little input on the left channel. Is the uca broken? (just received it 3 days ago). Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

uca 202 left channel.jpg

Probably not. Behringer is pretty good about delivering quality equipment at a good price. Our recommendations almost always have price right up there at the top of the decision tree because all our posters seem to be destitute and money-free. This certainly isn’t the only way to connect stereo Line-Level cables to a computer, but it does deliver very good performance at a terrific price.

But it has no volume controls.

What are you using as a player? Does it have sound meters on it? What do they say?

Disconnect the computer completely and plug headphones into the player. I’ve never met a player that doesn’t have some provision to listen on headphones. What happens? Do you get a balanced stereo show left to right? If you do, there are ways to connect the headphone socket to the Behringer which gives you the headphone volume control to play with.

Billions of “mix tapes” were created when cassettes were popular and none of them were particularly high quality. Also, if these tapes were live spoken word, very few cassette machines had provision to mix one microphone to mono. If you can get the show into Audacity, there are ways to correct most of these errors.


Thanks, Koz, for replying.

I am using a Pioneer tape deck. It does have sound meters showing the channels have adequate and balanced volume when playing. It just does not have output control. So I am very surprised to see the recording level so low and unbalanced in Audacity when it goes through the uca. I also tried inputting sound from my TV to uca to Audacity as a test - same unbalanced, low record level. That’s why I was wondering if it’s something wrong with the uca re: unbalanced recording.

Assuming I can fix the unbalanced problem, if I ended up having to use the headphone socket to uca to record, what type of cables will I need to buy?

What other usb interface is recommended besides the uca 202? All I want is to digitize my tapes. I am not a musician trying to record live music, so a simple interface or external sound card is sufficient, as long as the sound quality is comparable to the uca.



I use an Edirol UA-1EX - unfortunately these are largely unavailable as Roland has stopped manufacturing it - but I do note that there is one currently available on eBay with no bids and a starting price of UK£0.99 (I think I paid 50-60 quid for mine) the auction has a couple of days left to run - see:

Failing that I would have a look at the ARTcessories USB Phono Plus:
This does more than you need in that as well as a soundcard it also incorporates a phono preamplifier (for recording from LPs) but it does have a switch to change it to line-level input by-passing the phono pre-amp which is what you would need for connecting your tape deck. Importantly it does have a gain control.

I like ART products they have excellent sturdy build quality and produce good results. I used their DJ-Pre11 (connected to my UA-1EX) when I was converting my vinyl - if the USB Phono Plus had been available at the time I would have bought that.


Before we wander off and start writing checks.

Connect the UCA again and make sure the sound levels are off. Now reverse the INPUT sound cables on the UCA. If the left channel stays low, then the UCA may be fried. If the low channel reverses, either the cable or the player may be bad.

I have been a party to buying four UCA-202s and I own two. All work perfectly, so I’m betting on the player or the cable.

Let us know.


Assuming the headphones output is 1/4 inch then a 1/4 inch stereo TRS to stereo RCA.


@ WC
I’m NOT going to buy from ebay again, at least not for a while. I got this defective uca 202 from ebay and the supposedly good seller sent me this unit without original package even though they advertise it as NEW. :frowning: I will check out ART. Thanks!

I did switch the cables and tested it with both the tape deck and the TV - still only the left channel stays low. It is very likely the uca is defective. I am going to test it on my win 7 laptop today but I doubt it will work. I so wanted this “deck to uca to iMac” set up to work when I digitize my tapes. No luck, yikes!

Thanks! I will keep that in mind.

How do I put quotes in my reply? Just click on the “quote” button and copy and paste?


How do I put quotes in my reply?

If you can type fast, you can do it manually, too.
[ q u o t e ] paste some text here [ / q u o t e ]
Take the spaces out.


Sorry. Paste some text, drag-select it and press the quote button.

I just tested the uca 202 with my win 7 laptop - same problem with left channel not getting signal and general low input level. I changed everything in Control panel/sound and Audacity. Both record levels are already at max but still the input level is way too low. But anyway, the important thing is the left channel is still not working, so I guess the uca I got is faulty.

The ART USB Phono Plus is looking very attractive at the moment. Anyone knows of any known issue using it with OS X 10.9 and Audacity? Would appreciate any input regarding this little unit.

Thanks to all who replied. Much appreciated!


Just to check this again: Disconnect only the two plugs from the UCA 202 Inputs, and swap them round so that the “left” lead from the tape-deck plugs into the “right” input of the UCA 202 and the “right” lead from the tape-deck plugs into the “left” input of the UCA 202. Is that what you tested? (We don’t want you to swap the leads round at the tape-deck end, only at the UCA 202 input end).

Read your private messages.
User Control Panel > Private Messages.

Koz wrote: Disconnect only the two plugs from the UCA 202 Inputs, and swap them round so that the “left” lead from the tape-deck plugs into the “right” input of the UCA 202 and the “right” lead from the tape-deck plugs into the “left” input of the UCA 202. Is that what you tested?

Yes, I did test that. Same, left channel not working.

Read your private messages

I saw your message, but am not allowed to post (new to forum) and there is no reply button.
I opened a dispute through Paypal to eBay and am in the process of negotiating with the seller. I don’t know if I have to return the item to the seller for refund or exchange. I’m not familiar with eBay rules. So I just need to wait a bit and see.

Thanks for all your help.

Disconnect only the two plugs from the UCA 202 Inputs, and swap them round so that the “left” lead from the tape-deck plugs into the “right” input of the UCA 202 and the “right” lead from the tape-deck plugs into the “left” input of the UCA 202. Is that what you tested?

Oooops! This was posted by Steve, not Koz. Sorry!!! My mistake!

That would indicate that the problem is with the UCA 202 (very unusual).

You should now be able to reply to the PM.