Trouble getting starting with Laptop with single audio jack

Using Audacity 2.3.3 on Win 10.

My issue seems like it should be easy to resolve - or already resolved on the forum, but I cant figure it out, so please pardon my ignorance.

My HP Stream laptop running Win 10 has one audio jack. Settings - Sounds shows one Output, Speaker/Headphone (2 - Realtek High Definition Audio); and two Inputs, i) Microphone (2 - Realtek High Definition Audio), and ii) Stereo Mix (2 - Realtek High Definition Audio).

I’m connecting a walkman-type cassette player to the laptop’s audio jack with a 1/8" audio auxillary cord, and trying to have Audacity recognize the cassette’s audio signal, but I cant get Audacity to recognize the signal – no squiggly lines at all. I’m obviously not properly enabling or disabling the audio output or 2 audio inputs, and not properly setting the Audio Host, Recording Device, Recording Channels, and Playback Device in Audacity. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Thank you

Stereo Mix is where you tell the computer to record itself. That is how you record YouTube or other on-line sound.

Is this your adapter?

Pay attention to the number of black rings on that single plug. I believe the official adapter has three black rings, not two.

We wrote a number of tutorials about this.


There’s nothing simple about this. In Days Gone By, machines had Recording and Playback connections and it was relatively simple to connect one.

Crawl around on the floor behind your computer. You want the Blue connection.

Laptops try to smash all the connections into one socket and it’s a little more of an adventure to record your tapes.


The computer I’m using is a laptop with only one audio jack, so I don’t have separate input/output/mic jacks to choose from. This also means my cable from the Walkman cassette player to the laptop is an auxillary 1/8" (3.5mm) male plug at both ends. But even reading the manuals, I can’t get Audacity to read the audio signal

The combo jack works with a regular (TRS 3-conductor) plug for headphones/speakers but it requires a special 4-conductor [u]TRRS connector[/u] to make the microphone connection.

**The microphone input is for a mono microphone and it’s “wrong” for a headphone signal.**A headphone or line-level signal is about 100 times stronger than a microphone signal, and you may have stereo tapes.

You should be using a USB interface with line-level inputs such as the [u]Behringer UCA202[/u] Don’t buy a regular “USB soundcard”. They are like laptops with only mic-in and headphone-out.

That’s a UCA202 in action.


Walkman cassette player

So you would be using the adapter cable.

Backwards to get your Walkman into your UCA202 USB adapter.

I’ve never seen a 4-conductor to 3 conductor adapter cable which is what you would need to use your laptop audio connection. That’s a Headset connection, by the way. And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, there are at least two different common standards for headsets.
Screen Shot 2019-12-01 at 1.26.40.png
So there is no “buy the one adapter.” That and note there is no record Left and record Right. It’s mono only. Some laptops have provision to record stereo using yet another audio standard.

The Behringer UCA-202 is the answer. I have two.


Thank you very much for taking the time to provide this information