Problems linking to a brand new iMac

After nearly nine years with an iMac stuck on Lion OSX 10.7.5 I have bought a new iMac on El Capitan OSX 10.11.3. With the older mac I could digitize LPs and cassettes using a line in socket on the back of the computer as it would not recognize Audacity with a USB cable. That worked well and I am still learning how to do it better and better. Problem now is the the modern iMac has no line in socket! What do I do? I have yet to discover the joys of Thunderbolt. Is there a way in though one of these? If so with an adaptor or some sort of interface? Or would the headphone socket do? I haven’t tried that because we are warned against that practice in the Help program.

This is the new Stereo Line-In… and Stereo Line-Out.

That’s a Behringer UCA-202. I have two. Also see: Behringer UCA-222 and UFO-202 which has a a built-in phono preamp for conventional analog turntables.

My so-new-it-squeeks Air still has a conventional USB connection. Actually two, in addition to the Thunberbolt I use with various adapters for wired network and backup hard drives.

There are certainly other ways to do this, but that’s been my hero device for a while now. Also see:

Be careful not to fall for one of the ultra-cheap USB adapters such as the ICUSBAUDIO by Startech.

Turn a USB port into a Stereo Sound Card. Sounds terrific, doesn’t it? It doesn’t. It has a stereo headphone connection and a mono microphone connection. It’s not stereo Line-In. I use one of these for a microphone connection for minor recording jobs that don’t need a full studio.

The UCA202 is certified for overdubbing/sound-on-sound because of its built-in zero-latency monitoring. No I don’t recommend using earbuds for advanced musical production. Those were graphically convenient for the photo.

Fair warning, the combination of El Capitan (10.11.5) and Audacity 2.1.2 can give stuttering or damaged recordings. Test it thoroughly before you commit to a critical recording. The days of pressing Record and walking away vanished with the Mac Stereo Line-In port.


Thanks for that comprehensive reply. I will get hold of one of these a.s.a.p.

Post back even if it worked.


There is the remote possibility of an overload condition if you have, for example, a cassette machine with an uncontrolled playback set for high volume output combined with a hot cassette. There is no way to fix that and the only way out is one of the much higher-end interfaces with controls or the addition of a small sound mixer also with controls. And even that may not work. You may need a higher-end cassette machine with playback volume controls.

But that’s not normal. You are now in disaster recovery, not normal dubbing.