Top 5 tips for enhancing a cassette demo?

I have some old cassette demos of me singing that I want to sound as good/professional as possible. The demos were recorded at home using an analog four-track tape/mixer, so it sounds amateurish except for the three-part harmonies.

Recently I read in the Audacity wiki that “Applying a small amount of stereo reverb to an untreated mono signal duplicated into a two-channel stereo track will usually make it sound more natural.” I wasn’t at mono at any time, but I was wondering if there were tips like this that could make a normal acoustic guitar demo (with voice) sound more professional. Noise reduction is one; any others? Any filters I should be using?


Do you know if Dolby B, Dolby C or DBX were used? You can do really well with cassettes if you used Metal or CRO2 tapes, Noise Reduction and were careful with your levels.

And played the tapes back with the player set to the right tape type and noise reduction.

If not, there may not be any good filters or processes. Straight cassette recordings can be really difficult to rescue and impossible without hearing the work. So post a representative sample on the forum.


The distinctive reverb from the walls of the room is often a giveaway that it’s a home-recording.
That can be camouflaged if you’re willing to add plenty of reverb, (unfortunately removing reverb isn’t possible).

Thanks for the tips so far. Here’s a clip of a typical song I recorded using a microphone on the guitar and voice (Two different tracks):

I can’t hear the room, but what I can hear is a lot of computery data-compression artifacts, possibly* due to use of MP3 . You should only use MP3 in the final mix to be delivered to the customers, and even then only with a high bit-rate (e.g. ~256 kbps). When editing your project only use WAV or FLAC formats, as they don’t suffer from generation loss , (mp3 does, accumulating damage with each generation : like a photocopy, of a photocopy, of a photocopy, etc).

[ * If the computery distortion is not due to (repeated?) use of mp3, then noise-reduction is the next suspect.
If you didn’t deliberately apply noise-reduction, look for any “enhancements” in recording devices, and disable them , (the “enhancement” to disable may be called “Noise Suppression”). ].

then noise-reduction is the next suspect.

I’m probably out of my mind, but I think I hear volume pumping.


It’s not Dolby C. You can’t ignore that. Dolby C is in your face. So maybe Dolby B??

Add performance space ambience.

Last time I tried this, Audacity couldn’t do it. So who has good theater ambience generators?


There’s a Pseudo Stereo and Stereo Widener.