How to convert cassette tapes with Audacity
First, download the latest version of the free Audacity software here:
Attach the cassette player to your PC via USB or (as we are doing here) via the Line Input, then click Start and search for Control Panel.
Select it from the results that appear. Next, navigate to Hardware & Sound > Sound. This opens a new window in which you want to select the Recording tab and then ensure that you can see the Line In listed and that it says "Plugged in". If you're using a USB player, check that this is also in the list which it should be if you have Windows 10. If it isn't there, it's likely you'll need to install the correct driver for it, and you'll need to follow the manufacturer's instructions to do so.
Launch Audacity, then from the menu bar at the top of the screen choose Edit > Preferences > Devices.
You’ll see a section in the main panel marked Interface. In here should be a drop-down menu with MME as an option. Select this.
Just below is another section entitled Recording. Be sure that the settings in the Channels field is 2 (Stereo) and that your player is the one chosen in the Device field.
With the settings in place you can now set the levels for recording. To do this, press play on the tape and then check that the two green bars in the upper right corner don’t go into the red, as that will distort the sound. To change the input levels you can either adjust the volume control on your player, or the input slider control (the one with a microphone icon) in Audacity.
Once you’re happy with the levels you can rewind your tape to the beginning, click record on Audacity and press play on the cassette once more.
When the tape reaches the end of side one, pause the recording, turn the cassette over, then resume.
After the contents have been recorded into Audacity you’ll be left with one, long continuous track. If you want to break this into individual tracks for each song then it will take a little editing.
Place the audacity playhead back at the beginning of the first track then select Tracks > Add Label At Selection from the menu bar at the top of the page.
Type in the name of the song, then press Enter. Now repeat this process, looking for the gaps between tracks that will be evident by the flat areas in the recording.
Now all you need to do is go to File > Export Multiple, select the format you desire, and finally click Export to send your sparking new digitised music to your hard drive. Note that Audacity doesn't come with an MP3 encoder due to licensing, but will give you instructions on how to download and install the Lame MP3 Encoder.