Audio CD



I have loads of audio tapes on which I have music etc. I would like to transfer/copy them on to a cds which can be played on any cd player and in the car.
What is the easiest and quick process to do that.


You may be looking at plugging your cassette deck into your computer’s Line-In or Mic-In connector-port with a “stereo y-adaptor cable” like

This above picture assumes your cassette deck has “RCA” style Left-Right speaker outputs - the red & white’s. The ‘black’ connector has two ‘rings’ around it, which are the Left & Right equivalents. and this plugs into your computer.

Then, there is software available that will let you start a Record Process on your computer, and you hit PLAY on the cassette deck. The “speaker cables” are now feeding your computer which is ‘recording’ this.

Several software products are available - the free Audacity might be one choice, or your computer may have something installed specifically for its capabilities, too. There are several available, and I’m reluctant to try to list them all, or give any one recommendations. Other folks can give their experiences below.

(Also in this same forum section, there’s a thread entitled USB TURNTABLES which is a discussion of recording LPs onto a computer. There is a large discussion of hardware options but I think there’s also some recording software discussions as well.)


Computer sound-systems may treat the Line-In and the Mic-In ports differently - sometimes one has a higher standard volume-level, or sometimes it’s an adjustable volume-level. If I have a Line-In port available, I start with that.

Notebooks (and soundcards with only 3-connector ports) usually only have a Mic-In port, which usually has all the recording capabilities that are needed.

If you want to try both, it’s a simple test - record the same track, save them with different names and then play them back. Which sounds best? That’s the acid test. Your recording software may need to be adjusted to record from Line-In to Mic-In, by the way.


Christine is correct about & a read of the thread she posted about would be a good idea.
From what I found is laptops Mic-in can also be a Line-in but not always .
It also be mono & even produce a dual mono that is mistaken for stereo .
I posted some images of the way to check this (at least I beleive it is the way.)
If the jack is stereo there should be a balance control.

Last the better quality cassete deck you use the better recording you will get .
If the cassettes have Dolby then make sure the cassette deck’s Dolby is on. You will get a better sound.
Also if it has been a while since the tape has been played run it froward & reverse a couple of times to loosen it up.
I used Audacity on the last cassette I did that was last Feb . I seldom do this but it sounds fine.
My cassette deck is a Pioneer CT-W616DR .


Hi Christine,
i wonder if you can give further point to point basic help.
I have downloaded audacity. it comes as converting video!!
I have got the cable you pointed out not sure yet if it has the two black rings on the connector that goes into the computer.
Am I right. I connect this lead from my audio cassette player to the computer. I start the play on the player and then do what?
Please help.:frowning:


Roger, sorry - late Sat afternoon and we’re got Halloween parties now and thru the night. I’ll try to work up instructions before church Sunday a.m., or if not, later Sunday afternoon (more monster-movie parties early Sunday).


Slight delay here… quick cable-connect scenario…

On the back of the Cassette Deck, it has two outputs to Speakers, yes? One is a left, one is right/ These will either be RCA plugs (like the picture) or the little mini-jack connectors (similar to computer plug-in’s). Then the other end NEEDS to be a “stereo jack”. Radio Shack, Best Buy, most electronics retailers will sell something like this in the $5-10 range.

If you can’t get a Stereo one, well, your resulting ‘converted recordings’ will be mono. Not terrible. You might even consider it “practice”, too.

I can test my cabling into my computer by putting the Cassette Deck into PLAY and then I can hear it over my computer’s speakers.

If I can’t, then I try plugging it into a different connector plug.

If you can post details about your computer or your sound-card, maybe I can post pictures with more specific cabling options for you, but it may be later Sunday afternoon.


@ ChristineBCW , The output jacks on a cassette deck are not to speakers . They are right & left out to a receiver/amp in regular use. In this case to a computer sound card. If you think they are to speakers try hooking some speakers directly to the cassette output jacks . The sound volume should be very low if you even get any. If it is loud or you have volume control on the cassette deck it is the wrong type to use for this.

@ Roger26 , Christine cover the stereo jack part except I don’t think if your cassette has a mini jack output it will be the correct type . I’ve never seen one.
Any cassette deck with amplified volume will overamp the sound card.
To record you open Audacity & select record . There is some more to it but basically if Audacity starts recording something you can play back that sounds good you are OK. If not you will need to change input device & output device till you can record. Then you will need to adjust your input volume slider for the record level so you don’t over amp the sound.
I recommend saving the large untracked file when you finish the recording . Then work with a copy to practice dividing it into separate tracks. That may take you a few tries to correctly select cut & export.


I’m not too concerned about volume levels on the signals from the cassette (or LP player either). Volume levels can be adjusted thru software, as well as setting up studio rigs of amps, pre-amps and anything else someone dreams up. I could dream up even more flaming hoops to have folks jump thru, but doing it simple and easy is a great starting point.


Hi Roger,

Take a look here for a walk-through on hooking up and using Audacity to record from your deck. Start at step 1, and at the bottom of each page, click the “forward to” link to move through the tutorial.


I still want to caution any cable directly from “Speaker” jacks . Actual speaker jacks are amplified . This would only be found in a cassette unit that actually has an amplifer for speakers . The Speaker output which might or might not be RCA jacks would have an output of what ever the amplifier was rated. If this was say 100 watts you don’t want that input into your computer sound card. I haven’t tested but I think that would fry the sound card .

If the cassette unit is just a module of a home stereo system then the amplifier it has is basically a low voltage preamp .
Maybe this will explain it better :