Problems converting certain cassette tapes


I’m using Audacity 2.1.3 on a laptop running Windows 10. I’m trying to convert some old recordings, mostly speech, from cassette and have successfully done this with several tapes so far. My problem is that with certain cassettes - generally seems to be the oldest ones - I’m not managing to get any sound to import into Audacity at all, or at best it’s so quiet as to be almost inaudible. The problem cassettes only have sound in one ear when listened to through headphones.

I’m using an old radio cassette recorder hooked up to my laptop via a Behringer guitar/usb interface (UC6102). As I say this setup has worked for several tapes so far, but I’m at a loss when it comes to getting anything from the tapes with sound in one ear only. I don’t need the sound to be top quality, just enough to preserve the memories. Any tips would be much appreciated.

If the sound is in left ear only, record in mono (set this in Device Toolbar).

If the sound is in right ear only, record in stereo, Split Stereo to Mono then click [X] to close the upper track.

Your guitar interface won’t add as much gain as a USB interface with stereo line in. You are not really using the correct interface.


Depending on the cables/adapters you’re using, you may need to swap the left & right connections or get some different cables that allow you to do that.

i.e. If the sound is coming-out of the right channel, but the mono guitar interface is physically connected only to the left, you’re not going to get anything.

In that case, you may need a cable/adapter like [u]this[/u] for the cassette player and another cable/adapter like [u]this[/u] for the guitar interface.

BTW- You shouldn’t connect the left & right cassette-player outputs together to make mono. If you have any stereo recordings (with different sound in the left & right channels) you need a stereo interface. Then if you wanted to, you could make mono in software after recording.

Belated thanks for the advice - have now got it working as you suggest here :smiley: