Trying to rip cassettes to digital - only getting odd hum out of cassette deck

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by atoxique, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Hi, I'm trying to rip my cassettes to digital using Audacity. I'm not using my proper tape deck, but instead a cheaper stereo (an Aiwa). The cassette deck works just fine and music comes out of the speakers. When I connect headphones music also works. But when I try to plug it into my computer and record the output with Audacity, all I get is a loud electric hum and nothing else.

    Anyone know a solution?
     
  2. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    are you using output from the speakers or a line/headphone/aux out?
     
  3. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    headphone/line out
     
  4. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    is the cable your using from the tape deck to the computer working correctly?
    could be a short in the cable, have you got a multimeter to check it?
     
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  5. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    headphone and line output's are both different, which one are you using exactly?
     
  6. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    It says "phones" so it's a headphone out. My cable works just fine, I don't have a multimeter but I've used the same cable to record from other sources too. I've also used different cables - same result.
     
  7. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    can you lower the output on your headphone volume on your cassette player and turn up the computer input?
     
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  8. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I still only get the hum and absolutely nothing else.
     
  9. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    is the cassette player and the computer hooked up to the same power source?
    trying alternating one of the power connectors to different sockets in your house....
    could be a ground loop???? is it a low or high hum?
     
  10. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Low hum. I'll try plugging the cassette deck into a different power source and see if it helps. My cassette deck is plugged into the same power strip my computer is plugged into.
     
  11. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    yeah try that, also is your cassette player two or three pronged? sometimes removing the earth 'the bottom one' for us Aussies,
    can make a difference. It eliminates the safety aspect, but it can eliminate the hum....
     
  12. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Plugged it into a separate power source, the hum is still present BUT I can at least get music into my computer now. The cassette deck has a two prong plug. I'm going to give up for today and just buy an adaptor for my normal Yamaha cassette deck because its output is the big 6.35 mm plug and not the normal 3.5 mm plug.
     
    Rick Bartlett likes this.
  13. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    On you computer, you must not use a mic input (pink), but instead a line-level input (blue). The cord should be a 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo cord with tip-ring-shield three-conductor plug on each end. Often these cords go bad, too.

    The headphone output is nowhere near ideal for recording though. It is not a line-level output, but rather is the amplifier/speaker output, with just a level-reducing resistor inline.

    You want to buy 2x RCA to 3.5mm adapter for your normal cassette deck's RCA output, not headphone.
     
  14. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    I hope you can report back on how you get on, I'd be curious to know if there is any change.
     
  15. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    I'm thinking the guy's tape recorder, this particular machine may not have the RCA outputs, only the 3.5mm headphone jack.
    But yeah, RCA outputs are the only way to really go.
     
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  16. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    That is a good idea. I was using the blue input on my computer, by the way. Thanks for all the help guys :D
     
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  17. Shak Cohen

    Shak Cohen Forum Resident

    Location:
    United Kingdom
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  18. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Location:
    Bi-Regional
    How do you listen to your proper cassette player? Is it hooked up to a system? Can you use that preamp's tape output?
     
  19. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Great advice!

    My main, proper cassette deck is a Yamaha K-M77, which is pretty good but only has the larger 6.35mm (I think?) output and an RCA output which goes into my Yamaha AV-M99 amp. My cheapo Aiwa stereo system has a normal 3.5mm output. The cassette deck on that stereo isn't really good to begin with but it works at least, and it also has no Dolby noise reduction options which is weird.

    As stated just above, I usually listen on a Yamaha K-M77 hooked up to a Yamaha AV-M99. Again, they only have 6.35mm and RCA outputs. I don't have any 6.35mm adaptors, nor do I have an RCA - 3.5mm adaptor, hence why I tried to use the not so great Aiwa stereo because that has a 3.5mm output.
     
  20. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Location:
    Bi-Regional
    Then I would play the cassettes you want to record on your proper K-M77 through the amp, and use one of its tape outputs to feed the blue mini-jack on the computer with a dual RCA to mini-plug cable. If the picture of the back panel I saw on the web is correct you seem to have three tape loops there to use (the ones marked VCR are identical to those marked tape). Seems to make more sense to buy a wire than to buy another cassette deck of unknown history.
     
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  21. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Yeah definitely. The Aiwa one is the Aiwa JAX-N1. It's one of those low end mini hi-fi system things from the 2000s with a cheap cassette deck thrown in there for people who still had a few cassettes in the 2000s. The Yamaha is 10000x better quality as it's a proper high-end cassette deck from 1986. You're very right, it does make much more sense to buy a cable and get a proper, good quality rip than use a cheap stereo. The Yamaha K-M77 is hooked up to the normal tape input, not the VCR one by the way.
     
    shadowlord likes this.
  22. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Location:
    Bi-Regional
    The tape out on the "normal" tape input will output whatever main selector switch input is chosen. Probably easiest to plug the cassette deck into the Aux input since it doesn't need tape monitoring and pick it up from the first tape output to record.
     
  23. Solitaire1

    Solitaire1 Carpenters Fan

    I don't know if this would help, but what I've done is:
    • Take my cassette deck and connect it to a music CD recorder (output on the cassette deck to the input of the music CD recorder).
    • Adjust the recording level on the music CD recorder (just as you would with any recording).
    • Record each side of the cassette as a separate track (starting the recording before the tape starts and ending it after the tape ends).
    • RIP the entire CD as two WAV files into my computer.
    • Use music editing software to cut the files into individual tracks, and to cut off the unneeded parts of the files (such as the parts at the beginning and end of each side).
    • Convert the resulting files into the lossless/lossy format of your choice (if you don't want to leave it as WAV files).
    • Add the appropriate metadata.
    • Load it into your music management software and on your digital audio player (if you wish to use one).
    • Enjoy.
    The above has the advantage that you don't have to worry about connecting your cassette deck to your computer since the only part of actually putting the music on your computer is ripping the CD. Plus, you can keep the recorded CD as a master source for the recordings that were on the cassette.
     
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  24. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    I have no idea what any of that means :hide: but I bought an RCA to 3.5mm cable, so when it arrives I think I'm going to connect the tape deck to my computer just by putting the tape out straight into my computer's sound card. Is that good, or should I connect the tape deck to the amplifier, and then the amplifier into my computer's sound card?
     
  25. atoxique

    atoxique Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Any help is good help :)
     

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