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DonianAzar

@rr.com

Recording from tape to Audacity

I have encountered a problem while recording my tapes to Audacity on my new computer.

So my old Dell worked fine when recording tapes to Audacity, but on my new Windows 7 when I record tapes to Audacity the sound is terrible (it sounds disoriented and not clear like it does on the cassette).

I have used different tape recorders, used different tapes, used different cables (stereo and mono), and even tried changing sound modes and tried different things in Audacity (even using different versions of Audacity and all my drivers on my computer), and still the same problem. What can I do? I'm using Audacity 2.0.2 in case that helps. How do I fix these sound issues?



mack1951
Universal Soldier

join:2000-04-18
Bayonne, NJ

Use a line to microphone adapter. Your tape player is putting out line level and your PC is likely Mic input. That would cause the signal to be over modulated and cause distortion.
--
THE ROAD: Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1
reply to DonianAzar

What mack1951 See Profile said...or you can pick up something like this which will give you stereo line-level inputs via USB.



DonianAzar

@rr.com
reply to DonianAzar

Thank you both. I'll go with the second option for now and see if that works.



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1

Good luck. Let us know how it goes!



DonianAzar

@rr.com
reply to Steely

I have purchased the suggested device, but it still doesn't work. I've fixed the sound bars and everything - nothing. I plugged in the USB and the cable into the headphone slot and tape recorder. The cable is fine and still nothing.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to DonianAzar

Can I ask why you are using tapes?



DonianAzar

@rr.com

Well, I'm actually trying to convert all my tapes to MP3, then I won't have to use them anymore. I'm using music to convert it to MP3, but it doesn't even detect sound in Audacity like it did before.



Sandman
Premium
join:2002-07-10
Strafford, MO
reply to DonianAzar

I don't know that it will make any difference, but Audacity 2.0.3 has been released. »audacity.sourceforge.net/
--
Rule #62: Don't take yourself so damn seriously!



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1
reply to DonianAzar

said by DonianAzar :

I plugged in the USB and the cable into the headphone slot and tape recorder. The cable is fine and still nothing.

It's early in my day so forgive me if I'm not understanding the obvious, but what do you mean about the headphone slot? The only thing you should be plugging into a "headphone slot" is a set of headphones for monitoring. If you're using a headphone jack for any other purpose something is incorrect in your setup. Can you elaborate on how you have everything connected?


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA

1 edit
reply to DonianAzar

Two different computers?



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1
reply to DonianAzar

Maybe these Audacity instructions will help: »manual.audacityteam.org/man/Reco···rntables

"Much of the information on this page, and the pages linked to below, also applies to recording with USB tape cassette decks and external USB sound cards.
Please see the Audacity Wiki page on USB Turntables for a fuller discussion of the operation of these devices."

There are specific instructions for USB recording with Windows 7.



DonianAzar

@rr.com
reply to SysOp

Yes, you are correct SysOp. It recorded great from tape to old computer, but tape to new computer the sound quality is horrible. Don't know why a new computer would have those kinds of problems.



DonianAzar

@rr.com
reply to Steely

Actually I meant microphone slot, sorry. I use the microphone slot to record the tapes, but the quality is still lousy even though the tapes sound fine played on their own.



SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
Reviews:
·voip.ms

4 edits

Use line input rather than mic input.

Reduce the line input level to 30% in the windows audio controls. Using the meter in audacity, monitor the levels as you adjust them, making sure the levels don't clip.

Running line input level at 100% is most likely the cause of your sound distortion.

I also dub tapes and LPs but only at 24 bit!



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1
reply to DonianAzar

said by DonianAzar :

I use the microphone slot to record the tapes...

That's your problem right there. As mack1951 See Profile tried to explain in the second post from the top, you cannot use a mic input with line-level outputs, such as from a tape player. You need a stereo line input. Some computers (maybe your old one?) have a single COMBINED mic/line input that senses the audio signal and automatically switches to the correct setting. If your new computer has only a typical simple mic input, your recordings will be distorted from over-modulation.

That's the reason I suggested the inexpensive Behringer device above. It accepts your analog line-level tape signal and converts it to a digital signal which is fed to your computer via USB, bypassing your new computer's mic input and sound card completely. To make a recording with Audacity, you have to set it up for "USB mic" recording (that's how Windows 7 somewhat incorrectly refers to any USB audio input) using the specific, detailed Audacity instructions I linked above.

If you are using the Behringer device correctly, NOTHING should be connected to your computer's mic input.


DonianAzar

@rr.com
reply to SysOp

Actually just one computer.



DonianAzar

@rr.com
reply to Steely

There are a few things I have noted.

One is that when I plugged in the cable to my old computer it would ask me for line or microphone. This new computer doesn't ask me anything when I plug it in, so I just open Audacity normally.

In regards to the Behringer I've gotten nothing so far except a ringing noise. I just plug in the USB to the computer (tried both USB slots) and plug the cable in the 'phones' slot and the other end of the cable to the tape player. In Audacity I chose USB Audio for both Speakers and Microphone (even taking off one or the other), tried Sound Mapper, and even used internal and external microphone. I've basically tried every combination I could think of, and still the same distorted sound (and with the Behringer just a ringing sound). So needless to say any help is greatly appreciated.



Steely
I rise when the sun goes down
Premium
join:2000-10-15
Princeton Junction, NJ
kudos:1

said by DonianAzar :

when I plugged in the cable to my old computer it would ask me for line or microphone. This new computer doesn't ask me anything when I plug it in

Because it's strictly a mono MIC input, which is NOT going to work for your purposes.

said by DonianAzar :

...and plug the cable in the 'phones' slot and the other end of the cable to the tape player.

There's your problem! The "PHONES" slot is an output jack FOR HEADPHONES to monitor (listen to) what you're playing through the Behringer UCA202 USB device. You need a cable coming from the tape player with a pair of standard RCA plugs (one for each stereo channel) that plugs into the corresponding two RCA jacks marked "INPUT" on the side of the Behringer OPPOSITE from the "PHONES" jack side. You cannot use the cable with the little Mini Plug that you used with your old computer...and you cannot feed the output from your tape player into a headphones jack. I'm looking at a good photo of the UCA202 here: »www.behringer.com/assets/UCA202_···e_XL.jpg

Also, once you straighten out your wiring and connections, make sure you understand and follow the instructions on the Audacity pages for setting up Windows 7.


DonianAzar

@rr.com

I wanted to thank everyone for their help, especially Steely who had many good suggestions. I have now found out that my brother's computer will play my tapes with no problem. Both of our computer's run on the exact same operating system, but his records my tapes whereas mine does not. Again thank you all for your help, and I will soon resolve this issue.