Ok to use signal from headphone output to tape recorder input?

I want to make a copy of an audio cassette tape. I’ve got a typical stereo set-up, but it has only one tape deck. The deck (and the amp) have standard female RCA outputs and female 1/4" phono headphone outputs.

I also have an old Radio Shack portable tape recorder, circa 1970s. The RS recorder only has female MIC and AUX inputs; both take mini phono jacks.

I don’t have an RCA-to-mini phono cable, but I do have a male 1/4" phono-to-mini phono cable. Could I send the signal from one of the headphone outputs to one of the RS recorder inputs? If so, should I take the signal from the amp? I assume so, because it allows me to control the output signal strength (volume), right? Or is the deck headphone output better?

Also, I want to use the AUX input, not the MIC input, right?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks all.

It will work, but the sound quality is going to be crap. Make sure you turn down the treble and bass to the middle of their ranges. You want to get as flat of an output as you can. Even so, you are going from a stereo source to a mono input, and not a very high quality mono input at that.

And yes, you want the aux input.

Why will it sound so bad? Because the RS recorder is lousy? Or because there is something inherently wrong with using the headphone output signal?

(BTW, the tapes are mono themselves, so that factor is not an issue.)

You might get better sound by hooking your tapedeck/amp to your computer, recording to your HD, and then sending the resultant audio file back out to your tape deck.

I did it many years ago with a resistor in parallel with the earphone jack and another in series with the aux input of the recorder, but I don’t remember the values.

The headphone amplifier will add some distortion and a good deal of noise. You want to tap off the signal earlier in the chain where the signal is cleaner - use the RCA/phono outputs.