Nebie Having Trouble

I am running Win XP Home on a Dell desktop, and have been trying to find out if you must first download cassettes to a hard drive folder before trying to create MP3s with Audacity?

I have read all I can find, and it seems that all I have to do is use a 2-plug for the player and a single stereo plug for the PC. I then turned on Audacity and then the cassette player. However, I can’t get anymusic to the blank cd.

I know this is dumb but I don’t know where to start. Pleas help!

Thanks in advance. :mrgreen:

The signal flow can be broken up into steps.

Yes, connect your CD player (RCA connections) to the Line In connection of your sound card (1/8" single plug). If you have a portable PC, then it’s more difficult.

Install, set up, and run Audacity. You should get red bouncing lights in Audacity when you press record and a cassette is playing a show.

After the cassette runs out, stop Audacity and Export as WAV… (not MP3). MP3 can damage your sound, WAV (Windows Wave format) will not.

After you finish producing your show WAV file, drag and drop that into your CD burning/authoring program, put a blank CD in the machine and burn. iTunes on the Mac, Windows Media 11 on the PC.

We can flesh that out more when/if you get stuck.


Thanks for the fast comeback, Coz!

It was my understanding that you could convert WAV files into MP3 formats so you don’t have so many disks after recording. I have several old cassettes I want to go to CDs so that’s why I thought I had read of the Audacity ability to convert.

So you are saying that I turn on cassette and audacity recording together, and then store the program in a new Audacity file for later export to Wav CD burn. Right?

I was trying to start Audacity, then immediately turn on cassette player, and burn at the same time. Wrong, huh? :blush:

Thanks for the reply! Jack

Short answer: you are likely to need WAV files to burn your musdic CDs - it is unlikely that MP3 files will work for you.

Long answer:
you will be recording your Audacity projects from tape. Audacity will create its own file structure - when you save an Audacity project as <project_name> it creates a number of things

  1. a top level master project file called <project_name>.aup
  2. a folder at the same filing level called <project_name>
  3. and within the folder lots of little .au files - segments of the recording

When you re-open a project with Audacity you should always open the <project_name>.aup top level file. This tells Audacity how to thread together all the little .au files. It is deliberately designed this way so that Audacity doesn’t have to open and work with a single humungously large file, which would hamper performance.

When you have finished editing your Audacity project you can Export it from Audacity as a WAV file or MP3 file. WAV files are around ten times larger than the equivalent MP3 files but are uncompressed and thus the audio quality is higher. Once you have exported and backed up the files then you can delete the whole of the Audacity project you created - do this to save space on your hard drive Audacity projects are BIG - there is no Audacity Delete function, you dust delete the file and folder called <project_name> that you created.

You are almost certainly likely to need WAV files - most CD players will not play music CDs that have MP3 files on them - some can, though not many - so you may want to test by making an initial MP3 CD and testing it in all your CD players (deck, car, boat, truck, portable, friends’ players etc.). MP3 files are most commonly used in applications like portable music devices (iPods, Mp3 players) where disc space is comparitively small - though this is rapidly not becoming the case - the new iPod classic has a massive 160Gb drive.


Thanks “Wax”,

That was great of you to come back with that excellent information! I owe you! :smiley:

By the way, I should have told you that I have saved on my PC both MP3 and WAV files from music sites. Some of the cassettes I want to record are stereo and I guess some are mono. Any comment on this?

If not, I now know where to start after spending many hours reading and re-reading on line so I could get the program to operate.

Regards, :laughing:



Re stereo/mono - my only comment is that I think you can save disk space by setting the recording to mono (halves the space occupied). I have very few mono recordings and I don’t like fiddling with my Audacity settings once I’ve got it all working well - so I Don’t bother - anyway disc space is so cheap these days …


Hi WC!

Thanks again for the info. The statement about monos is a little confusing to me. Did you mean to put stereo in there somewhere? Thanks, Jack :unamused:

PS. I know what you mean about leaving the setup alone after getting to do what you want it to.

Jack, - for clarification - mono is by its nature a single channel. If you have your Audacity set up to record in 2 -channel stereo and you record a mono signal then you will get 2 channels exactly the same i.e. the same mono track on both channels. My earlier email is to say that when recording mono you can, if you wish, reset your Audacity to record a single channel of mono - thus saving half the space.


OK Wax! Got you loud and clear. I see your reasoning now. I knew difference between mono & stereo but didn’t understand the little “twist” that you added.

Thanks again friend. Expect to work with Audacity in a few days after I feel a little better and get caught up on some things around the house. Jack :slight_smile:

I didn’t see the CD authoring program mentioned. You can’t just drag music files over to a blank CD and burn. You have to use a music CD “burning” or authoring program.

It will open and ask you which music files you would like included on your CD. Usually there is a little thermometer which tells how full your disk is going to be as you add music. If the program needs to “manage” the music, this is the step where it happens (Uncompress MP3 files, make mono into stereo, etc. etc.) I have one CD authoring program that will not tolerate mono audio tracks.

Then, you press the burn key, put a blank CD in, and wait. That’s the type of CD that will play in your car. Sometimes they will play in your car even though you don’t have a CD player. We’ve never completely understood how that happens, but sometimes it’s not good to get too close to technology.

iTunes will author, as will Windows Media 11 (and probably earlier). I’m running Easy CD Creator on one Windows machine.

MP3 (MPEG1, Layer 3) audio is damaged. You may not be able to hear it, but the MP3 process is destructive and gets the small file sizes by very gently (hopefully) changing the quality of the track (permanently) so the file sizes are small. It’s a slider. You can get really small MP3 sound files, but the quality of the performance will not be very good. You can get much larger MP3 files sizes that sound exactly like the original track.

Windows .WAV files are at maximum quality always. There is no slider. Once you choose the coding numbers (441000, 16-bit), then that’s the quality. .Wav files–especially high quality ones are the ones you want to use for edits and effects.

.WAV files are the safest, highest quality thing to supply to your CD authoring program. The down side is they’re very large on the hard drive.


Hi Coz! Good to see you back!

I will attempt to use WIN 10 player.

You surely are jesting, I hope!

Good information!

Thanks again, Jack

Hey Wax or Koz.

I finally got the program to work. Many thanks to you both!!!

I have another question. Would you be kind enough to list the step by step instructions for recording different tracks ( inserting track 1, track 2, etc) while I am playing and taping a cassette on audacity?

I need to know how to do that because the final CD would start from the beginning when I cut off the car and restart it.

Thanks again, Jack :blush:


All you need to do is to place a label at each track break - use the Ctrl-B shortcut - and don’t forget to place a label right at the beginning for the first track. You should not do this while Audacity is recording - finish the recording - do any edits (click/pop removal etc.) - thendo the track breaks/labelling.

Then use Audacity’s Export Multiple command (available from the File drop-down) to export a multiple set of WAVs, MP3s or whatever - you should use WAVs for CDs.

The Audacity Wiki, Documentation and Turorials have much useful information on how to do this - a recommended read -


Hi Wax,

Good man! Thanks for the advice. Will get to it tonight. Jack :smiley:

Hey Wax!

I am slowly getting there. However, I don’t know how to return to the 1st track after using Audacity to record. studied the material but couldn’t find that. I went by your instructions as well as those under Wiki’s “Label” section. Thanks. Jack :blush:

Jack, to get back to the beginning of the first track after recording, just use the double-back arrow icon (similar to th icon on a tape/CD player’s fast rewind).


OK Wax! Thanks a million! One can do a whole bunch of things with the program. Regards, Jack :laughing:


Automotive CD players don’t do that. They sit right there and wait for you to come back from the store whether the car is running or not. My car CD player failed and I’m forced to use a portable CD player and one of those stupid radio transmitters. It does work, but it’s noisy and that player does, in fact, start all over again when I turn it off.


Hey! Wax.

Hold off on answering that PM I sent you. Tonight, I re-read the tutorial again and think I have found out why my check points were not saved. Right now, I am very tired, but will try the “new” procedures out tomorrow. Hope they work! LOL

The next time I am in the UK, I will have to take you down for fish and chips or a pint or two if you imbibe. LOL :laughing: Jack

Jack, the PM system is very slow, yours hasn’t arrived in my inbox yet. I think they sit in your outbox for a long time till they eventually get a prod to move on out.

And do I imbibe? Do sharks bite? I’ll gladly take you up on that offer sometime …

Glad to have been able to help you.