Trying to record cassettes from an old PC.

I have some old audio cassettes that I am trying to convert to digital format. I have a cassette player connected to the line in on my PC. When I play the cassettes through the PC they sound fine.

I have used 2 different tools (including Audacity) to record them to files. Each program recorded them with a nasty hiss. I don’t get the hiss when listening to the cassette source through the PC, just from the recorded files.

Any ideas? The content of the tapes is not available for purchase, I would really like to get these onto a CD.

My PC is running Windows XP and the sound card is a Creative SoundBlaster AWE64.

Thanks in advance.


I have the same problem. I think that it’s inherent with cassettes. (though if anybody knows better, let us know!)
after you’ve finished recording onto your pc in Audacity, find a spot of a few seconds with no voice, just hiss, and highlight that area. now go up to effects, noise removal. Then click on “get noise profile”. That window will close. Then go back down to the main audacity window and highlight everything that you want the hiss removed from. Go back to the noise removal area, go to step 2, and select how much of the noise you want removed. I usually keep it on the low side otherwise it will sound funny. Then listen to the preview and when it sounds like what you want, click ok. this will probably take up to 4 mins to process a 45 min selection. When it’s finished the dialog box will close. This does a decent job of getting out the hiss.
I’ve been trying to figure out how this works and only figured it out a few weeks ago.
Good luck-hope this helps.

Hi Dixie,

Thanks for the reply. I will try the noise reduction. It is strange that the audio sounds so much better when it is playing through the PC from the line in than it does once it is captured from the line in. I guess that is the part I don’t understand. I would think that they should sound the same or very close to it. I tried recording from the radio on the cassette player and seemed to get a lot of noise with that as well…

Maybe the issue is with my cheapo, old sound card.

If the radio does it, then the sound card or it’s settings are a likely culprit. You are sure you have the Line input selected not the Mic input? In principal the digital copy should be as good as which you get from the tape, provided you play it over the same speakers (PC speakers often have much more treble than those on cassette machines, which makes the hiss more obvious).

Also, ensure that you play the tape back with the same Dolby setting that it was recorded with.


I am not sure what the problem was. The cable seems to have a short in it, I have to bend it just the right way to get a clear sound.

I was finally able to copy all of my tapes to my computer.

Thanks for your suggestions. I am very psyched to have these tapes available to listen to in my car again.