80's jam session recorded only on cassette's right channel

Hello everyone.

Way, way back in the day, two friends and I (yes, I once had two friends :slight_smile: ) recorded a jam session on a cassette tape. We ran everything through the right channel and the left channel of the cassette is silent.

Wondering how I can copy the right channel from this cassette on to the left channel (of something) and ultimately have a two channel mono recording.

My ultimate goal is to make a CD recording of our session which features the same (mono) sound on both channels.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Wow, talk about stepping back in time!

How I would have done it “back in the day:” I bought a 4-channel cassette recorder back in the early-mid '80s so I could play rhythm, lead, etc. and make complete songs by myself, mixing the channels as needed. I think it was called a “Ross”?? It’s buried somewhere in my bedroom.

The only problem with re-recording on tapes is that the sound quality will degrade slightly each time you do it.

However, moving to modern times: Download the free “Audacity” sound recording/editing software for using on your computer. As for specific directions on doing what you want, I can’t help you.

Good luck – it is somewhat complicated setting up to record via line in or a mic, doing a second track, then exporting to a standard format that you can burn on a CD, but I’m pretty sure it will do what you want, all for free. :smiley: There is help for it online.

Doing this on tape without a 4 track machine or a separate tape deck is going to be difficult. I agree with Hurk, a DAW can do this easily, and Audacity is a nice, simple, free one. Here’s a quick article on how to convert the track once you import it into the computer: https://www.wikihow.com/Change-a-Mono-Track-Into-Stereo-Track-Using-Audacity.

Getting the track from tape into the computer is going to depend on what kind of inputs your computer has available and outputs the tape deck has. The laptop I’m typing on has a built-in mic input, which could be connected to the output of most tape decks and with judicious adjustment of the levels you could get an OK copy of the audio that you could massage in Audacity. It’s also got a USB mixer hooked up to it that would be able to do a much better job of transferring the data. If you have the money to purchase a DAC and use a line level connection, I believe it will be easier and you’ll get better results. But that depends on how much you want to invest in this project. The cheapest DAC I can find with line level inputs is this Behringer one https://www.fullcompass.com/prod/093012-behringer-u-control-uca202-2x2-usb-interface . $29, but I can’t attest to it’s quality or usability.

If you end up wanting to get a more full featured DAW than Audigy without spending a dime, I personally prefer Ardour

I just thought of another cheap and dirty way of doing this, provided you can still buy what you need. I used to monkey a lot with a reel-to-reel, cassettes, and a 4-track cassette recorder as mentioned earlier.

I had an adapter cord that had two “ins” and one “out,” or vice-versa depending on what I was doing. You could plug the “one” into your output player, plug the “twos” into each stereo input on the recorder and it should work, giving you two identical tracks.

Man, a Radio Shack would come in handy for the OP right now.

(I miss that place :(.)
Anyway, thirding the suggestions to copy the channel over once you’ve put the track into a computer – you’re going to do that at some point on your way to making the CDs anyway, right?

Copy directly from cassette to PC right away. Analog copying only makes quality worse. Almost EVERY PC has a mic in line now. Experiment with that - preferably with a different cassette, try not to play the original over and over and over.
There are plenty of audio apps - IIRC Audacity was a simple one from the good old days. You should be able to convert mono to duplicate in stereo.
Play the music back with a cable that puts sound out over both channels. Every PC has sound out nowadays.
Record to a new, clean cassette - or rather, record directly from PC to a CD, skip the analog out.

I have an old-ass cassette deck that I used to rip songs that were only available on cassette. It used to be very easy with Studio Mix but now I believe it is Line In. After that use Audacity to edit.

I’d steer clear of the line-in, it’s probably gonna sound terrible. Get a cheap usb audio-interface or a field rec with inputs. You can get a workable interface for less than 20 euros these days!

Audacity is okay (I used it exclusively for about four-five years), but I’d use Reaper instead. Audacity-exports always compress a bit, giving everything that Audacity sound. Reaper also has real-time effects-rendering, which Audacity does not, so if you need to EQ, compress or boost something you can hear the result on the fly. Each time you render an effect in Audacity, it takes more time even when rendering pre-view. If you fuck up and need to readjust an effect again and again, you might end up waiting for half an hour or more for just one fx to render. Mixing entire albums in Audacity is a time consuming, headache inducing affair.

Get a “Y” cable and don’t mess with trying to dub the single track to two tracks.

Assuming the playback deck has RCA jacks, plug a male to two females Y adapter into the deck’s R out. Then assuming your PC has the normal 1/8” aka 3.5mm stereo line input jack, plug a 3.5mm stereo phone to RCA plugs cable between the PC and the Y cable.