Transferring Records HELP!

I’m new to Audacity, though I’ve seen and heard other people transfer their 78rpm, 45rpm and even LP Records from their record players into Audacity, and I’m attempting to do the same thing here.

My set up involves a Dell Latitude and or a Lenovo Idea Pad (I’ve tried and regularly use both), running Windows 10 and Audacity 2.3.1 . The record player I’m using is a Califone 1030-AV from what’s theorized to be between the 70s & 90s (It’s hard to date one of these).

The cable I use to run between the Califone and my computer is comprised of two pieces.
One: a JEEUE 1/4" to 3.5mm Headphones Cable Adapter, 6.35mm (1/4 Inch) Male to 3.5mm (1/8 Inch) Female TRS. connected to
Two: a Monoprice 100646 25-Feet 3.5mm Stereo Plug/Plug M/M Cable. On my Califone, it had 3 places for it to plug into, Mic Aux, Speaker Aux, and Headphone Aux.

I’ve tried hooking up to all 3 of them and the other end into my computer into Audacity. After an INCREDIBLY PIERCING sound emitted from the Califone after trying to the Mic Aux, I’ve figured out that it probably isn’t the right one to put it in.

I’ve tried both others with no trouble from the Califone, though when putting it into the computer, I cant get the audio to go through the jack. It just records through the external mic to pick up the noise in my room. It doesn’t give me any option for a “In-Line” microphone or anything else like it that people have told me to look for. Can someone please help me get this problem solved?

In the absence of a manual (I’m guessing that you don’t have one and can’t find one on the Internet), my guess would be:

  • Mic Aux = microphone input
  • Speaker Aux = mono output for an extension speaker
  • Headphone Aux = output for headphones

Ideally there would be a “line out”, but the Califone does not appear to have one. However, it should be possible to use the headphone out and connect it to a “line in” of a computer sound card / audio device.

Are you able to test if the “Headphone Aux” socket works? You could try plugging in a pair of cheap headphones (“cheap” headphones in case the Califone is faulty and damages them).

What are the inputs on your laptops? Are they “line level” or “microphone” inputs?
I’m guessing that they are stereo.
Do they have separate input and (headphone) output sockets, or just one socket?

I suspect that you will eventually be disappointed with any recordings you make with the Califone 1030-AV. As steve suggests, the signal levels could be wrong and you could end up damaging your computer. Furthermore, this unit seems to be mono and not stereo. Simply, it is likely not worth your time to mess with this unit.

I am thinking you could find an old stereo turntable probably for close to free, with a pair of RCA stereo cables sticking out. They would plug in directly to a UCA202 or UCA222 (still $19 at Sweetwater).

I hope this helps. :smiley:

Some things to consider - How important is sound quality? How important is stereo? How important is cost?

You’ll probably have to spend some money (on a USB audio interface) since most laptops don’t have line-inputs.

You are also going to spend some time. Not only recording but splitting-up the songs and adjusting the levels (after recording) and possibly spending some time making other adjustments/improvements like EQ or noise reduction. You can spend LOTS of time if you “manually” fix-up the clicks & pops. …You don’t want to do this twice!

You can probably get better sound quality with a better setup but you’ll never get “CD quality” (or “MP3 quality”) so if you want the best quality or if there are few recordings that you really care about, look for digital copies.

If you’re satisfied with the sound from the Califone then the headphone-output to line-in on an interface (or soundcard on a desktop/tower computer) should be fine. But, you will get a different “tone” from a different speaker, etc.

78’s are mono and some 45’s & LP’s are mono, so for these you don’t need stereo.


If you want to “upgrade” and you have the budget, you can get a pretty-good turntable with USB for $200-$300 USD. (Then of course, you don’t need to buy a USB audio interface.) I’d say that’s about the “sweet spot”. With analog, the more you spend the better sound you get. But like I said, you can’t get “digital quality” no matter how much you spend… You get to the point where the record itself is the limiting factor. (With digital, a cheap CD player can be better than human hearing.)

[u][/u] has lots of turntable reviews & recommendations and lots of good advice.* Stanton, Newark, and Audio Technica are “good brands”.

Of course 78 RPM isn’t very common on “modern” turntables. And as you may already know, 78’s need a different (larger) stylus. Your Califone might have a flip-over 78-LP stylus but you won’t find that with a good magnetic phono cartridge. You’ll have to get an optional 78 stylus. (People who actually play 78’s usually have a separate-complete plug-in headshell with a cartridge and 78 stylus that they can easily swap-in.)

It’s possible to record 78’s at 45 or 33 and then it’s easy to change the speed in Audacity. This does throw-off the RIAA equalization but 78’s didn’t use standardized equalization anyway and if it needs adjustment you can tweak by-ear.

If you buy a stand-alone analog turntable you’ll need a phono preamp plus an interface, or there are a few interfaces with a phono preamp built-in. (This is different from a microphone preamp… A phono preamp has RIAA equalization and higher input-impedance.) Older stereo receivers had a preamp built-in but most modern receivers don’t. USB turntables also have a built-in preamp and virtually all of them bring-out the amplified & RIAA equalized line-level outputs to RCA connections so you can plug-into a modern stereo (or you can plug those into line-in on a regular soundcard).


  • Knowzy doesn’t like Audacity :stuck_out_tongue: but should know that your choice of recording software does not affect sound quality.

It’s just one socket for headphones, but how would I identify the inputs on my laptops to be line level or microphone inputs? Feel free to send pictures of otherwise in response. As for your guesses as to what I meant with all of the plugs, you got them right. I’m going to try and see if the headphone jack works or not like you recommend now.