How do I record from vinyl records, cassette tapes, or minidiscs?
First, set Audacity to record in stereo.
Next, plug one end of a stereo cable into the “Line Out” or “Headphone” connector on your tape deck, minidisc player, or stereo system. Plug the other end into your computer’s “Line In” connector. If you do not have a cable that fits both of these connectors, you can find one at an electronics store.
Choose “Line In” as the input source on the Audacity toolbar, or in the Audacity Preferences (Windows Vista and 7) or Apple Audio-MIDI Setup (OS X).
Then press the Record button. While Audacity is recording, start playing your tape or disc. When you have captured the entire recording, press the Stop button.
Vinyl or shellac records can also be recorded into Audacity with a special type of turntable that connects to the USB port of your computer. These turntables need to be set up differently to those that connect to your line-in port. For instructions on setting up USB turntables, see USB turntables on the Audacity Wiki.
There is also a detailed tutorial, Transferring tapes and records to computer or CD, on the Audacity Wiki. This will guide you through the steps from recording your records, cassettes or minidiscs to exporting as an audio file and burning to CD.
Do not plug stereo equipment into your computer’s “Microphone” port, which is designed for low-powered (“mic-level”) signals only. Use the “Line In” port instead.
Do not connect a turntable directly to your computer. The signal from a turntable is distorted; it must be corrected by passing it through a phono pre-amp or a receiver with a “phono” input.