Macbook won't recognize microcassette as line-in

I just downloaded Audacity version 2.3.0 on my 2014 Macbook Pro running Sierra 10.12.6. I’m trying to transcribe tapes from an old Sony microcassette recorder (M-679V) into digital. I purchased a 3.5mm male to male cable to attach the recorder to my computer, but I’m not able to get Audacity to recognized it after trying all the suggestions in the troubleshooting section. I only have the built-in microphone, which I could use as a last-ditch effort, but hoping to be able to record directly from the recorder. Do I maybe have the wrong cable? I believe the one I bought is a stereo connection. Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Have you tested recording from the microphone with Audacity? Does it work (recent macOS updates ‘may’ prevent it).

If you look in System Preference > Sound > Input and all you see is “built in microphone” then your MacBook Pro does not have an audio input. You will need to purchase a USB audio interface such as the Behringer UCA-202 or similar.
– Bill

Thanks very much for the helpful replies. I was able to record from the microphone with Audacity, but my concern was that this might require a good deal more signal processing to remove ambient noise, etc.
That being said, I am a complete beginner at this so I don’t have a good sense if paying the extra $30 for a USB audio interface like the Behringer UCA-202 would be worth any added quality (I do realize that’s relatively quite low for recording equipment). I can confirm that I only see “built in microphone” in my MacBook settings, so it seems I would additional equipment. And if I do purchase an audio interface like that, I’m assuming I’d need to get a 3.5mm to RCA cable to interface between the microcassette and my MacBook. Is that accurate?

Am I right in thinking that the only output on you microcassette is a “headphone” mini-jack socket?

I believe that to be the case. There is another plug on the microcassette (see attached photo), but I was assuming that was only a microphone or power input to the recorder.

A Behringer UCA 202 is likely to give better sound quality than using the laptop microphone. You will need to use a mini-jack to RCA lead. For example:

(I’ve got a really old UCA 202 - the label has fallen off with age (I’ve had it about 10 years!) but it still does great service connecting my laptop to my hi-fi system.)

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions, I’m going to get a UCA202 and cable and see how it goes from there!