I have 4 very old (I think) cassette tapes which have on them a friend's father's voice prior to him passing. They were recorded around 1968. I do not know if cassettes were around back then or what they used prior to recording them to cassettes. I am using Audacity on both mac and pc. It seems that it was recorded very quiet or the tape has degraded. Lots of hiss. As a noobie to sound what would anyone recommend on how to go forward and bring back the voices.

Thanks in advance


3 Answers 3


It was most likely recorded onto another type of tape and transferred to cassette at a later date.

I don't know if Izotope RX works on Audacity, but that is a very good plug-in to reduce tape hiss. You can download a trial version and test it out for yourself.

Post a sample on Soundcloud and I'll listen to it for you - these types of things vary widely an without actually hearing it I can't give much detailed advice. Even a half of a sentence or a couple words would give me an idea.

You can also try this link: http://www.deeplysimple.net/2006/10/removing-hiss-with-audacity.html


Cassette tapes do have a lot of hiss, compared to modern day digital audio.. Old home cassettes do degrade and in the worst scenario you will only get one go of playback.

Provided that your cassettes are mechanically OK (i.e. all the bits are in there, especially the one that presses the tape gently against the playhead), it's a case of cleaning the playhead, and adjusting it so it's aligned vertical/perpendicular to the tape/play-direction, or at least aligned with the head that recorded the material. A scary process if your tape is falling apart. Normally you shouldn't need to adjust this, but we're talking a time distance of 40 years...

Record in 24bit. Disengage all noise reduction on the deck, modern day plugins will beat it in 9 cases out of 10. Also turn off any EQ/Loudness. Focus on getting the best possible sound into the computer first.

Once you're past that point, look for EQ, multiband dynamic processors, a bit of gating.. even spectral noise reduction. There are professional tools on the market (RX !!) but they cost hard cash.



Get the program sound booth.

It may help you. contact me and ill do my best to help out

[email protected]

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