Sound Quality Question

I’m new to Audacity.

I have a lot of old audio cassette tapes (factory and homemade) that I want to put on the computer to later make CDs.

The tapes are several decades old and I wasn’t sure that the project would be worthwhile if the tapes were in poor condition.

I had to throw out my old cassette player because nothing worked so I bought a used JVC dual cassette deck (TD-W254) from an audiophile.

I hooked up the deck (line out) to the computer (line in) and setup up Audacity to listen to the music (factory tape - not Dolby) while it was being recorded.

Wow! I was amazed at the fullness and richness of the music coming out of my cheap computer speaker during the recording but after I stopped and listened to the .wav file the sound was not as good as when I was monitoring it.

Here are my basic stats:

Dell Studio 540 Desktop Computer about 4 years old.
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Intel 2 Quad CPU - 6 GB RAM - 2.5 GHz
AMD High Definition Audio Device (on the mother board I’m guessing, not a sound card)
Realtek High Definition Audio
Large hard drive with plenty of space.
Audacity 2.03
LAME 3.99.3 for Windows (haven’t saved anything to mp3 yet).

1 - Any suggestions for getting better sound quality from the initial recording?

2 - Is there a way to play my tapes through the computer without actually recording them on to the computer?

Are you sure it is a “line” in and not a “mic” in?

Click in the recording meter to turn on monitoring then Transport > Software Playthrough.

If you prefer not to run Audacity to listen to the recording, right-click over the speaker icon by the system clock, then choose “Recording Devices”. Right-click over the input you are connecting to then choose “Properties”. Click the “Listen” tab then follow the instructions on that tab.


Yes. It’s “line in.” The blue input at the back of my computer which is shown as “line in” in my computer manual.

Had already done that before recording.


That allows me to check out my old tapes to see if they are in good enough shape to record.

Turns out some of them aren’t.