hi, i could really use some help with this, is anyone willing to do a little Q&A with me so I can get this up and running? For starters, I am using Audacity 2.0.5 on a Windows 7 machine.

I am using my HP Pavilion laptop which has two headphone ports -

Here is the cassette player I’m using -

Here is the cable I’m using -

Already, from the very beginning of the Audacity instructions I am in deep way over my head. On this page - file:///C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/Audacity/help/manual/man/how_to_set_up_audacity.html … which looks like this -

it says “Set the Output Device and Input Device drop-down menus to the built-in computer sound device, or to the specific sound device your cable is plugged into”

I am already lost, here are the options I have for the input and output devices, WHICH SHOULD I CHOOSE?!

input device -

output device -

Thank you for the excellent information given.

Simple answer, don’t waste your time recording into the external microphone port of the computer. It’s the wrong type of input, unless perhaps these are speech tapes and you don’t care about quality or whether you get mono or stereo recording.

Best bet: buy one of these USB interfaces that has RCA inputs, and get a cable that has RCA red and white at both ends.

Another good reason to use a USB device is that your machine built-in sound device has “Beats Audio”, which creates many problems if you want to record rather than just play.

Connect the USB device to the computer using the USB cable, launch Audacity then choose the USB Audio CODEC as the recording device (the exact name may vary, but it should have “USB” in its name).


wow, thanks! my project here is to convert about 50+ audio cassettes that in fact ARE talks, not music, to mp3’s … I finally, just by trial and error, got the settings right to make my first recording and there is, as expected, a loud hiss that I need to figure out how to “clean” up … so would you indulge me a few followup questions?


  1. in light of the fact that I am only converting talks do you STILL recommend those devices? Trying to go low budget here and after this project I will never (never say never) need to do this again,

  2. any recommended procedure for removing the hiss? other than noise removal, I googled that and think I can handle it,

  3. any recommendations on a good, but not overpriced tape head cleaner kit or method? I imagine I should clean the heads after every few tapes or so?? (I realize it is now 2016 and depending on your age you might not even know what I’m talking about lol!)

The external mic input is often too strong for tape deck output. If you recorded flat-topped waveforms, you recorded at too high a level. If so, turn the recording level down in Audacity. In Windows Sound, check that there is no boost being applied to the external microphone and turn all recording enhancements for the external microphone off.

Post an audio sample of the recording if the problem is other than background hiss - Audacity’s Noise Reduction can deal with that.

Actually I have a standalone tape deck. There are some tips here that someone wrote: Recording from Cassette.


WOW, this is such interesting stuff but it is over my head right now, any chance I could send you a clip of the recording I’ve made so far and you can tell me what adjustments, if any, I should be making? I am new to this forum and not sure how to upload a clip, could you explain or point me to instructions for that?

Here is the link again that explains how to attach an audio sample to your post:

The attaching is simple (“Upload attachment” below where you write your replies). The trick is in giving us a WAV file that is short enough to attach, but the link shows how to do that.


thanks, i might post a sample later … right now, I just did some noise removal of what I recorded which definitely got rid of the hiss but what I am hearing is an echo of the recording … it’s weird, but maybe after years of sitting in the box the tape being wrapped in a circle like it is, the magnetic imprints on the piece of tape next to it or something, it’s like whatever was said 5 seconds ago is being heard faintly in the background

Yes that does happen. It’s called “print-through”.

wow … there probably is no way to remove that using audacity huh?

It may be possible to make it less noticeable.