Song vocal barely audible

I have a song I’m moving from tape to CD. When I play it back after recording it from the tape deck, it seems like either the right or the left side of the audio (can’t figure out which) has a vocal that disappears. I can hear it as if someone is in another recording booth down a long hall. The other channel sounds fine.

How do I bring that back? On the tape, when it plays on the cassette player, it sounds fine. It only disappears after I copy it over to .aup.

Recording goes through a .35mm jack to RCA L/R split to a ADS Tech Instant Music pre-amp (same as I use for turntable audio processing) and then into the USB port of my laptop.

Audacity Microphone is Realtek High Definition.

Windows 8.1

Nothing leaps out at me. We need to fix this at the capture step. Not post production.

Download this 39 second stereo test clip.

First, play it in Audacity and make sure it sounds perfect. The four segments announce themselves. Left, Right, Mono, and intentionally damaged (phase reversed) mono.

Copy that clip to your Personal Music Player, plug it in in place of your cassette machine and capture it. What failed?

I expect as you play that clip, you’re going to find either segment 3 or 4 is going to be horribly damaged or missing. In a normal stereo system, segment 4 just sounds a little weird, not missing.


Realtek High Definition is the motherboard audio. If you are recording from a USB device you need to choose the USB Audio CODEC for that device as the Audacity recording device.

If you don’t see the USB CODEC, do Transport > Rescan Audio Devices from the Audacity menu bar.

Also make sure Windows is set to record in stereo from that USB CODEC. See:


If you are recording from a USB device you need to choose the USB Audio CODEC for that device as the Audacity recording device.

If the wrong service was being used, that would give no audio, not damaged audio. That’s the magic with this question. It has an odd combination of analog and digital errors.


By the way, you can get seriously surreal results if the 1/8" plug isn’t all the way in or has a bad connection. Clean with alcohol or unflavored vodka and fresh paper towels and reseat firmly, maybe two or three times.


Webidextrous appeared to state that he or she was choosing what amounts to the wrong source.

There are at least two ways a poor signal could be recorded from the motherboard internal mic, if that is what is happening. A) User could have “Listen to this device” enabled in Windows, which sends the USB input to the chosen computer speakers or headphones. B) User could be listening to the tape with some device (small speakers, headphones not being worn) that the motherboard mic could hear.

No problem with those if you choose the correct source. If Webidextrous is choosing the USB CODEC, then I suggest (s)he checks out both your idea of a bad connection and mine that they are actually setting Windows to record the USB codec in stereo.



I understood you were recording through an ADS Tech Instant Music USB interface. Why would you need a microphone?

Or am I being dense again and is it just a language/terminology problem? :blush:

I assume a 1/8" stereo plug jammed into the cassette player, adapted to double RCA.

and then on to the ADS Tech Instant Music. I can’t find a picture of the rear.

The microphone mentioned was the label of the Audacity setting, not an actual microphone.

Unfortunately, the ADS Tech has no place to stick a headphone. So we can’t stop the signal in the middle and listen to it.


Yes, but that label would not say “Realtek” for a USB Audio Device. For all we know, the user could be using “Listen to this device” and recording Realtek stereo mix.