playback good, recording bad

I am running Audacity 2.0.4 on a Windows 7 Home Premium laptop with 4 GB RAM. All I’m doing is trying to record vinyl record track to MP3, using a Gemini USB turntable. The sound quality is great when I play the record on the turntable plugged into the laptop. But as soon as I hit “record” in Audacity, the sound is beset by crackling and static. Are there setting I can change so I can make decent quality recordings with this setup?

The GEMINI TT-1100USB turntable has line-level RCA outputs. Does your laptop have line-level RCA inputs?

It has a microphone jack but no RCA line level inputs.

Have you tried tightening the USB cable at both ends, and tightening the headshell if it’s separate from the tone arm?

Or tried a new USB cable?