I really know nothing about the process at all, save that I like how things sound a lot more on analog formats than digital, and that I want to make a mixtape for someone that preserves that sound quality.

My equipment:

  • Technics SL-B270 turntable
  • Technics SU-Z760 stereo integrated amplifier. This has the following channels: phono; tuner (radio); CD/aux; tape 1 (says editing 1>2); tape 2 (says 'ext').
  • Panasonic SA PM-11 stereo system with a tapedeck and recording capability
  • plenty of wires and cables, including RCA, 1/4 inch, 1/8 inch and adapters for changing the ends

Any help at all as to the specifics of any step of the process would be greatly appreciated.

3 Answers 3


Here are the basic steps to get this going. You will only need the RCA cables to connect the turntable to the amp and the amp to the tape deck.

  1. Plug the turntable output into the phono input of the amp (SU-Z760).
  2. Set the Selector knob on the amp to phono. It should send the signal to both tape deck outputs.
  3. Plug the tape 1 out (rec) of the amp to the auxiliary input on the back of the Panasonic SA PM-11.
  4. Select "AUX" on the Panasonic SA PM-11 using the [SELECTOR] button.
  5. Press the record button and start the turntable playing.
  • It worked... except the output level seems to be extremely low for some reason. When I play the tape back, the hiss that the tape naturally has is far louder than the recording itself. Any tips for how to reduce this?
    – Whitney Schuster
    May 4, 2011 at 21:14
  • 1
    You could replace the amp with a phono preamp. If you get one that also has a volume control, you would also have some control of the recording level. May 5, 2011 at 2:30
  • Yeah, get a decent phono pre.
    – d-_-b
    May 5, 2011 at 4:35
  • 2
    Does your tape deck have its own recording level pot? My dad's old deck had the ability to adjust the recorded signal independently of the line level signal being fed to it from the amp stage. Fortunately the tape deck also had VU meters to avoid under- or over-gaining the recording stage. Sep 19, 2011 at 19:22

Getting the rec level right according to your tape cassette deck is important and takes time. You should set rec lev according to the loudest part of the record. I let my peak blocks hit at 5+.


It sounds like you already have the setup and settings working. Properly leveling a tape recording is work in itself: the more recording time is on a vinyl record, the lower its overall volume tends to be though with newer records occasional loud passages can be accommodated by temporarily increasing track pitch.

There ought to be a "record level" dial on the tape drive.

Depending on tape material and noise reduction systems, leveling might be different. It's typical that CrO₂ tape material will be levelled at +0dB of the meters. Add +3dB when using Dolby B noise reduction. Add another +3dB for using metal tape (typically). More often than not, the peak meters will show little symbols for Dolby and possibly even for different tape material.

Usually you want to use the same level setting for all of a recording (vinyl already tends to have compressed dynamics) and the higher it is, the less the impact of tape noise/hiss will be on the recording. At the same rate, you get saturation/distortion if the setting is higher than the tape can accommodate.

Noise reduction techniques will also lead to temporary dynamic compression (moving quieter passages higher above the noise floor). There is also Dolby HX on newer tapes which reduces high frequency biasing when the signal content itself does a good enough job with that, allowing for higher level of high frequency content before saturation.

Getting that record level right is the main tape recording challenge, assuming the equipment and tapes are good.

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