Recording is flatline

I have looked at the FAQs and posts and they have not helped.
The control screen shows that there is input which matches my device but the recording itself has content that is not perceptible.
Using Audacity 2.3
Windows 10 build 1803
Recording from outputs on a Teac cassette deck to a new Lenovo.
Audio host is set to direct sound. Recording device set to Microphone Realtec(r) Audio
I set the recording slider to max.
the lenovo does not have the three audio jacks all my other machines have. Just a headphone, microphone and audio out. So I use the microphone jack.
I have reset the windows sound to use the realtek sound card installed and raised the volume slider in that setting to the max.
When I set to record up the meters in the audio input window move mirroring the output indicators on my tape deck.
I am new to Audiaciy but have used Sony Sound Forge and other devices for music recording and production in the past so I am new to the product but not the process.Not a pro but not a newbie.
My guess is there is something small that I am missing. I would have been concerned about the input but the recording meter toolbar shows signal but low. As I said it mirrors the output bars on the tape deck.
Thank you for any help you can give.
Pat Nichols

What recording level are you seeing on the meters?

-34 to -18. Thanks

What happens if you amplify the track up to 0 dB?

That’s an odd symptom but if you have a laptop with no line-in you should be using an external [u]USB interface[/u] with a line input.

A microphone input is a bad match for a line-level (or headphone level) signal. …Usually it’s too sensitive so the recording levels are too high. Plus, the mic input is usually mono and often noisy. (Of course mono isn’t a problem if your cassettes are mono.)

Recording device set to Microphone Realtec(r) Audio

Maybe you’re recording the laptop’s built-in microphone, instead of the microphone input? That’s easy to test by clapping your hands or speaking while recording. :wink:

Thank you both for suggestions. Maybe I need some kind of USB interface. The reading on the meter is with max volume both from the software and windows. Also it is not a laptop but a desktop computer. Any suggestions for a usb interface that might fix this particular issue?

Thanks for the replies. I am using a Lenovo desktop but found that the standard model has the typical three audio jacks in the back but mine does not. For some reason it only has one, audio out. So I use the mic input on the front of the box. I will order a USB interface and try that. No idea why they would build a model like this.