problem with clipping

I’m recording from a cassette using the Behringer UCA 202 because my computer doesn’t have a line-in jack. Audacity is able to record. The problem is that the clipping indicators (red bars at the end of the input meters) are on all the time. When listening to the recorded track, it is noticeably lower in quality. I lowered the input level in audacity which is reflected in the decrease of the waveform. But still, the clipping indicators are on. There is no volume control on the cassette deck or the Behringer UCA 202 so volume can be controlled only from the computer.

I also noticed that the waveform of the recorded track looks unusual. Usually, the outer dark blue part shows great dynamic change. However, the recorded track has a waveform the outer dark blue part of which looks very constant. I’m suspecting the waveform and the clipping issue are related.

I would greatly appreciated any help. Thanks in advance.

As I recall, the UCA202 has no way to control sound volume. You always run the risk of hitting the one player that’s going to deliver the show too hot and cause damage. Does your cassette player have a meter on the front? Mine does. I bet your show is hot on the tape.

I do know one other way to deal with this. My small Peavey mixer has adjustable “hifi” inputs and the next model up from the one I have will drive a USB connection directly.

Borrow somebody’s Mac.

Or see if somebody has a deskside PC with a good sound card.

The UCA202 was the cheap option.


The “big brother” of the cheapie UCA-202 is the Edirol UA-1EX, now superseded by the Cakewalk UA-1G. It is a similar size so very portable but it has two hardware gain controls in and out and in addition to to the RCA inputs it also has a digital input - with the UA-1G they also added a guitar jack input. It is more expensive than the UCA-202.


Does the cassette deck have a headphone socket?

Yes, it has a 1/4 inch TRS headphone socket.

I presume that there is an output level control for the headphone socket, in which case you could get a 1/4" stereo jack (TRS) plug to 2 x phone (RCA) lead and record from the headphone output of the cassette.

I think that’s what this one does…

Oddly, it doesn’t say the size of the plug. It’s looks 1/4"


There is no volume control, for the headphone socket or otherwise.

The only thing I see is a slider that says “rec level” going from “min” to “max”. I think this is for recording from one cassette to another (the deck has two slots).

That’s highly unusual.
What is the make/model of the cassette player?
Do you normally have the cassette player plugged into an amplifier? If so, does that have a variable output that you could use?

It’s a Technics Stereo Double Cassette Deck RS-T11. I got it specifically for the purpose of converting cassettes to lossless files so I haven’t had an amp connected to it. I guess the solution is to get an amp between the deck and the computer.

So what does the slider at the bottom right of the front fascia do?

I can’t see a manual online - and the best piccie I could find has insufficient clarity to understand what that slider does:


That’s for adjusting the recording volume.

That would be one solution.
Alternatively, if you’ve ever done any diy electronics, it would be easy to make a level control to go between the tape out and the UCA-202 input (and would only cost a very few $'s). I can post details if this sounds like a practical possibility.

I’m probably going to use an amp in between. But still, I would like to know the DIY solution if you don’t mind steve.

You just need a couple of potential dividers.

To halve the input signal from the cassette to the UCA 202, a couple of 10 k resistors would do.
This is for just one channel, you would do the same for the other channel.
To make it fully adjustable, use a stereo 20 k Ohm “pot” (variable resistor). Each output from the cassette would go across the full 20 k, and the output to the UCA 202 would be taken from the “wiper” (the adjustable part). Ideally the entire thing would go in a metal box so that it is shielded from electromagnetic interference though it’s unlikely to pick up much hum as long as the connecting leads are shielded (co-axial audio cable).

Thank you.