I can't get going - please help!


I’m new!

I bought the device from Aldi in October of 2011. I never even got to open the packaging as we had a family bereavement the very same day so nothing ever got done.

I have just picked the box up and looked at the contents. I have followed the instructions enclosed and I have printed the user guide that was included on the disc that came with it.

I installed the software and plugged the cassette converter into my USB and that seems to have installed OK too.

I tried to follow the preferences, although I didn’t see the same thing under Recording Device (I don’t see and can’t select USB Audio Device).

I inserted a tape and pressed Play, but I don’t see any movement on the screen. I should see the Input Level meter moving side to side but I can’t see anything moving. I stopped the tape after a couple of minutes.

I am running in Windows 7 (64-bit Home Edition).

The version of Audacity on the disc I think maybe 1.2. which I can see is no longer valid. I updated the version to the current version from this web site.

I tried running the tape again but I’m still not getting anything.

This seems very complicated - all I really want to do is transfer some music I have on some old tapes to CD. I am not very technically minded regarding this sort of thing and I am feeling quite lost.

Is there anyone who can get me going on the right course?

Please keep it as simple as you possibly can.

So looking for support, I finally ended up here

I set the tape going and

A USB cassette player?

Unfortunately some companies are still bundling old versions. You’re quite correct, 1.2.6 is obsolete.
The current version is 2.0.5, available from here:

Assuming that you downloaded the recommend “Audacity 2.0.5 installer (.exe file, 21.2 MB, including help files) for Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8”
I’d suggest that you run the installer again, and look for the “Reset Preferences” option during the installation.
Select “Reset Preferences” then complete the installation.
On first start you will need to confirm resetting preferences, but don’t start Audacity yet.

If Audacity is open, shut it down.
If your USB cassette is connected, use “safely remove hardware” and then remove it, OR, shut down your computer, disconnect the USB cassette, then reboot.

For Audacity to be able to “see” a device, the device has to be present and correct before Audacity is started (or you can “rescan audio devices”, but it’s generally easier this way):

When your computer is fully booted, connect the USB cassette and wait for Windows to recognise it and install it.
You can check in the Windows Sound Control Panel that it is installed.
Note that Windows often sets the output to the same devices - you don’t want that, you want playback through your normal sound card, so you may need to change the default playback device back to your normal sound card. This is only likely to happen the first time that the device is used. Windows should remember the settings once you have set this up.

In the Record tab of the Windows Sound Control Panel, if you play a cassette, you should see the music registering on green meter bars.

Once that is all working, launch Audacity and set the Recording Input to the USB option and the Playback Output to your normal sound card.
You should now be ready to roll.

More detailed instructions are in the manual: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_copying_tapes_lps_or_minidiscs_to_cd.html
(the manual is also included in the Audacity Help menu, if you installed the recommended version of Audacity).

Thanks for your response - I really appreciate it!

Yes - its a USB cassette player. It’s listed as a “Tevion Portable Cassette Converter” with the by-line “Play and Record with Auto Reverse Function”. It is supposed to convert cassettes to MP3 and is either USB or battery powered.

I have started from scratch somewhat. I uninstalled version 2.0.5 and reinstalled and did as you said and ticked the “Reset Preferences” box.

I didn’t have the device connected at the time any way so shut the computer down and rebooted.

I then connected up the cassette device and noted in the Windows Sound Control Panel that it was installed but named as “Microphone” - “USB Audio Device” - “Default Device”. I placed a tape in and switched on and Hey Presto! there were the green meter bars - just as you said!

I then launched Audacity from the Desktop and then from Edit/Preferences I set the Recording Input to Microphone (USB Audio Device). I’m not sure what the Playback Output setting should be but it has defaulted to “Speakers( Realtek High Definition)”.

I then set the tape going on the cassette but I still cannot see anything registering on the Audacity screen.

I clicked on the Input Level monitor and I can see red. But I cannot hear anything - should I be able to hear something to indicate to me when things are starting and finishing and how it is progressing?

What do I do after this then?

All good :smiley:

The meters only become active when you either, click on the meter to activate it, or start recording (including record mode when paused), so that is all normal.

Note that the record level should not go all the way to the end of the meter (0 dB) or it will be distorted,
You can make the meter bigger by dragging it out of the main interface and resizing it (and then “dock” it back in the main interface if you want) See: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/meter_toolbar.html

An ideal recording level is about -6 dB. You can make the recording a bit louder before exporting by using the Amplify, or Normalize effects.

That is the normal default behaviour.
If you were using a USB microphone then it would be important that sound is not coming out of the speakers, because the mic would hear it as an echo.
When using a USB cassette, it’s OK for the sound to come out of your speakers:
“Transport menu > Software Playthough” ON (selected).

Note that because the sound is routed through the computer software from one device (the cassette player) to another (the sound card), there is a slight delay before the sound comes out - typically around half a second.

Then you work through those tutorials and end up with a terrific digital copy of your cassette :smiley:
If you get stuck, feel free to start a new topic. (We like to keep each forum topic specific to one question, as this makes it easier for others to find solutions to problems).

Thanks for all of that - I have actually got some sound coming through now, although I am still uncertain how I should proceed.

The tape I want to convert is approximately 50 minutes long.

I think what I need is a simple video tutorial - can you provide a suitable link?

Sorry, I don’t have any video tutorials, and most of the one’s I’ve seen on the Internet are very poor, often with obsolete versions of Audacity and frequently quite misleading.

So OK, I’ll try and manage with the written ones. Where are they? Are they at my level (i.e. basic)?

There’s a whole bunch of related tutorials here that should cover everything: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_copying_tapes_lps_or_minidiscs_to_cd.html