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I'm trying to convert some cassette tapes to mp3's (or eventually burn onto audio CDs). Have followed the usual advice (here: https://www.online-tech-tips.com/computer-tips/transfer-audio-cassette-to-computer/ and http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/convert-lps-audio-cassettes-to-mp3-in-5-easy-steps) and on this forum.

Procedure:

Picked up a stereo RCA to mini jack cable (I'm using a new Digiflex HIN-1K-2R-15).

Connect 'line out' from tape deck to computer.

Laptop computer (Asus N61JQ running Windows 7) has no 'line in' port, only 'speaker out' and 'microphone in'. Plugging cable into 'microphone in'.

Using Audacity 2.1.2, setup input device as 'Microphone-Realteck High Def'

Play cassette, record using Audacity. Quality is very bad. Have reduced input volume (Audacity) with no luck. Tape deck has no balance dials to reduce input to left or right channels.

Thinking the new cable might be bad. Tape deck level indicators shows left side maxxed out, right side varies with music. Switching the RCA connectors, right side is now maxxed out. Tapes played from deck through receiver using older RCA cables sound fine (both left and right levels vary with music).

Any advice or ideas would be welcome. Thanks!

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    The cable might be bad, but you'll get nowhere until you have some device with a line in. Mic is is not suitable. Look at 3rd party USB adaptors, from a few bucks. – Tetsujin Dec 8 '17 at 7:44
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Thanks.

Problem was not hitting the 'apply' button to deactivate microphone features (facepalm). Laptop microphone still had boost set (\Recording Devices\\Properties\Levels tab. Microphones have power applied to boost signal, but not necessary when using a powered source). Also deactivated 'Enhancements'. This makes microphone jack act like line in, and corrects my main problem of distorted input.

Excellent summary of this by 'PCMech' here:

Tape deck still has one channel at max level (both when playing either stereo cassettes or mono recording).,

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