input too loud

I’m running Audacity 2.0.5, Mac OS 10.10.2 Yosemite
Recording from a cassette, direct output from a Kenwood KX W6050.

When I make a test recording the input is way too loud, causing serious clipping. I’ve tried the obvious things like reducing the input level in Audacity to the minimum possible, also reducing the input level in my System Preferences. Any ideas?

What kind of Mac, and do you have two audio connectors that look like this:

If not, you may be able to look in Apple > System Preferences > Sound and switch what you have to a stereo connection.

If all that fails, then you may be a candidate for a Stereo USB adapter such as the UCA202.

That’s one of mine and my stereo mixer.


Thanks for the quick answer. I’m using a MacBook Air and a SpeedLink USB audio input.

Another thing: there is no way to change the output level of the cassette player. It’s just direct output which usually goes to the input of an amp.

SpeedLink USB

Web page. They only make about a thousand different things.

Chances are terrific it’s going to be a version of StarTech ICUSBAUDIO.

That’s a headset adapter with stereo headphone and super sensitive mono microphone input. No stereo input.

Yes, you’re right. Macs tend to take digital inputs at their word. No knobs.

I don’t have a ready answer for a high-quality digitizer with a knob. That doesn’t come up nearly as often.

I did some phono transfer work for my sister and I used my Hafler HD101 preamp and a UCA202 digitizer. Under some conditions (cassette transfer), I would use my small sound mixer to set levels and then on to the UCA202. That’s my mixer in the picture to the right.

We did some research into audio interfaces.


Thanks again for your efforts. The Speedlink USB adapter you refer to is indeed much like mine. But I also have an old Griffin iMic lying around somewhere. I’ll try that.

OK, it looks like I have found a way. I dug out my old DJ mixer, a Pioneer DJM-300, and fed the cassette deck through that. I am now able to control the volume in detail, as well as having an EQ for fine tuning. The tape I’m digitising is purely vocal – from an old lecture from 1985 by a teacher who recently passed away. If this works, I have about 20 tapes – his whole lecture series from back then. We plan to put the audio together with slide carousels he left behind.