I want to use my Linux Mint 18 (kernel version 4.4.0-62) computer to record music/recordings from (old) cassette tapes to disk using Audacity version 2.1.2.
I'm using a cable between the headphone output of the cassette recorder to the input line of my computer, and I want to be able to monitor the recordings through the speakers connected to the computer.

Linux Mint comes with ALSA and PulseAudio as standard, but I have also installed Jack2 as an alternate sound server.
But what do I do know ? Is it possible to use ALSA and PulseAudio to solve this task or should I use Jack2 alone or somehow together with PulseAudio ?
And how do I set up my system to make this work ?

1 Month
Discussion Span
Last Post by rubberman

Great question! I would think that the output to your speakers should work ok. Have you tried? Ok. I'm going to try my microphone as an input device like are using your cassette player. Hold on a few minutes.


Sorry. No luck so far. I'll try again later. And I am using Mint 18. Didn't try the Jack audio though. Have a bad cold right now so that's as much as I can do for the moment.

Edited by rubberman


Hello rubberman!

I loaded the pulseaudio-loopback module using the command 'pactl load-module module-loopback latency_msec=1'
and then I'm able to hear the sound from my cassette record in my speakers with a bit of (well, a lot of..) noise.
I'll look at it tomorrow. Now it's time to bed here in Europe.. :-)))

Edited by it@61@sec


I worry there is some hardware issue here. For example, all my machines can get recording going and if I forget I read a tutorial like https://www.howtoforge.com/tutorial/sound-recording-with-audacity-on-ubuntu/ again.

But here's the pin in the grenade problem. Not all PCs are the same so one time you can use the front panel jack and on the next PC only the rear ports work. Then you'll run into a dead jack and you feel like the pin was pulled as you stepped off the landmine. Double trouble as you work not only how to use the app but how to fix the PC.


Line in/line out seems like it would be line in/line out regardless of what the input is (cassette player/CD Player/Microphone/speakers/musical instrument/whatever). The cassette player is going to produce analog output. You should have a line/microphone in jack on your computer.

The software you use would largely be user preference. I have Adobe Audition for stuff like this, but it should all work, including Audacity or whatever free software is bundled with your computer or plain old Sound Recorder. Input and output should be largely independent. Depending on your computer, you may not have both an input jack AND an output jack. On my laptop, for example, it is one jack so I can't have a line in and play it to external speakers at the same time without adding some hardware, though I can play it to my built-in speakers.

Hardware's never been my limitation. Figuring out the software is the bottleneck for me. I generally just go down to the local Junior College and wander around looking as helpless as possible till some freshman music student takes pity on me and helps me out with the task. You'll have to restrain yourself from strangling them when they ask you "What's a cassette player?" though.


I have a pretty modern desktop PC with both input and output lines so the hardware should be good enough.
Since I've managed to get the sound through from my cassette player/recorder to my speakers there might be a hope that I could fix the rest as well. I'll dive into both PulseAudio and JACK documentation to see what I can get out of it.

I've been using Audacity to record from Spotify, YouTube and other sources in the past so I know the program pretty well. But I have never succeeded in recording using line in as source.

Thanks anyway for the information so far.


Now it's working!
1) I switched from line input to microphone input.
2) In PulseAudio Volume Control I adjusted the volume of the Front Mic (which I'm using) so that the Silence meter is set as low as possible.
Then I got rid of that annoying noise in the speakers.. :-)
3) Then I started QJackCtrl-panel, started the Jack Server and choose the Audio tab.
4) There I found "system" under both "Readable Clients/Output ports" and "Writeable Clients/Input Ports". When I expand both of them I found the following:

Readable Clients/Output ports:

  • capture_1
  • capture_2
  • monitor_1
  • monitor_2

Writeable Clients/Input ports:

  • playback_1
  • playback_2

5) By connecting capture_1 with playback_1 and playback_2 I got the sound out of my speakers AND I was able to record the sound in Audacity. :-)

6) The settings in Audacity was straightforward:

JACK Audio Connection Kit
2 (Stereo Recording Channels)

7) But I lost the ability to record from streaming output like i.e. Spotify or YouTube. Any suggestions ?

Edited by it@61@sec


On item 7, recording streaming. I did have a fellow sorely confused about this. Settings for recording streaming are not the same as recording from the inputs so they burned on that. Eventually they settled on 2 apps. One for the hardware input and the other for streaming recording.

That is, it was too much for them to jot down how to configure for one or the other type recording.


Well, all things considered, it seems that there is progress going on here. Keep us informed about your overall progress it@61... BTW, can't you just use a more user-friendly handle? :-)

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