205 of 217 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I ordered this tape player from Amazon about three months ago and it's been on back order since then. It finally came in this week. This unit is going to replace an old Realistic SCT-17 cassette tape deck that bit the dust earlier this year. Not sure how old the Realistic deck was, but I bought it sometime back in the 80's. I've been looking for a new deck to replace it, but nowadays there isn't a whole lot to choose from. At least not something that doesn't cost more than I was willing to spend. Looked on Craigslist and found a number of old used decks - but was concerned that anything used would probably be prone to the same problems all my old tape decks did - old belts and/or dried out capacitors. So I wanted something new. This Tape2USB seemed to fit the bill. Like the Realistic deck I was using, it is a table top top-loading unit with a small footprint. And I like that you can connect it to a computer via a USB cable.
Ok, now for the meat of the review. This is just my initial thoughts and observations. I might come back and add to it later as I haven't spent a whole lot of time using the unit.
Number One: What is in the Box?
* Cassette Player / Recorder
* Power Adaptor (standard transformer)
* Stereo audio RCA cable
* Stereo audio RCA to mini-phone plug cable
* Two standard USB to USB "D" cables (same as what most printers today use)
* 35 page manual
* Software CD
Not sure why there were two USB cables, you only need one. Think the second one might have been a mistake.
First impressions: The main unit itself is about the same size as a regular box of tissues. The first thing I noticed is that the quality of the materials is a bit inconsistent. The case of the unit seems to be of fairly good quality heavy duty plastic - similar to the materials in the tape deck that I'm replacing. What seems to be of slightly lesser quality are the knobs and switches. My impression of them is that they would look more at home on a cheap toy than on this unit. Maybe it's just the way they are shaped or the plastic they are made out of - but that is my impression. Over all I like the look of the unit - just not the knobs. The unit has slots on both ends of the case - I thought this was for ventilation, but when I first tried playing a tape in the unit I discovered that it has built-in speakers. The volume control knob for the speakers is on back of the unit, which I thought was a bit inconvenient, but once I set the volume level I pretty much left it there. Also on the back of the unit are RCA inputs / outputs for connecting the unit to regular stereo systems. On top of the unit are all the controls. There are the standard cassette tape player controls (rec, play, rew, f.fwd, stop/eject, and pause), plus there is a power button, cassette out / line in selector switch, and buttons to switch between normal & CrO2 tapes. There is also a REC Level knob. You also have a basic rec level indicator in the form of a light bar as well as a mechanical counter for tape length. Basically the same or similar setup to what I had on my previous tape desk.
Now for my thoughts on my experience of hooking this up to my computer. You really don't need to do anything special - like installing any drivers. Just connect the power transformer and the USB cable. The unit does come with the free audio software "Audacity" - which is pretty easy to install. About half of the manual details installing the software. I didn't need to as I already have it installed and have been using it for years. The version that ships with the unit is up-to-date, it's that same as the version I'm currently using. This is where I started having some problems. My off-the-shelf PC (which is running XP) came with just the basic audio circuit that comes on most mother boards and my system is running the basic OEM version of RealTek audio utilities. While the system recognized the USB connection, for some reason I couldn't get the audio from the cassette player to play on my computer's speakers. I can record the input in Audacity, just not monitor it while it was recording. Which makes the unit's built in speakers very useful. The problem I have seems to be with my system and not with the unit as I tried connecting to my laptop and didn't have the problem.
So far I'm happy with the operation of this tape deck and the quality of the output I'm getting from using a computer to record my old tape collection to MP3s.
115 of 120 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
A+. Here is the entire experience:
1) You purchase this item on Amazon.com.
2) You get it in under a week (usually.)
3) You bring it home and there are all of 5-7 buttons on the entire device (and that includes the volume!) Not complicated at all.
4) There are only 2 cords. One is the power cable and the other is the USB cable. There is a 3rd cord as well, but you would probably never use it (it has the capability to make the TAPE2USB machine do manual recording from the radio but why bother when you can just tape from your radio/tape deck combo directly.)
5) Install the software that comes with the machine (Audacity, if you do not already have it.)
6) Plug the USB cord from the TAPE2USB machine into your computer.
7) Change the button on the TAPE2USB machine from Line-Out to Line-In (or vice-versa.)
8) Press "Play" on your TAPE2USB machine.
9) Click on "Record" on the Audacity software.
10) You're done.
The software allows you to manage your recordings so that you can have songs fade in and out and the most important feature of all....YOU CAN ADJUST THE SPEED OF YOUR SONGS! That is the biggest issue with recording songs, in my opinion. You also have this issue when you purchase an mp3 online and it is too fast or too slow. But the Audacity software allows you to make the song as fast or as slow as you like. I actually now prefer to initially record songs to tape for the very reason being that I can edit them with the Audacity software.
Also, the quality of the tape deck is good but not TOO good. If the sound quality is too good, you start to hear all the nastiness like hiss and distortion in a low-quality format like tapes. Your final mp3 will sound just like your tape, but slightly better (since your external speakers for your computer are probably better than the speakers in your tape deck.)
This is an all-around good experience.
92 of 95 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
...well maybe not that bad, but after using the Grace Tape2USB to convert several cassette recordings to MP3 and WAV files I noticed every one of the files played faster than the original recordings. This was true for both commercially recorded cassettes and home recordings. I played the tapes again on the Tape2USB equipment, listening to the playback speed through the build-in speakers, and the speed was the same as that transfered to the computer. When I played the tapes on my sterio (and some of the tracks on Amazon's MP3 download site), the playback speeds were noticibly slower and sounded true to the individuals' voices and the original songs' tempos. The Audacity software allows you to finely adjust the speed of the recordings to compensate for the equipment's problems. Still, this involves significantly more time for each recording transfered to your computer. Multiplied by however many cassettes you have, this can result in a lot of extra work and aggrivation. If you can live with the hassle, the product may be worth your purchase.
112 of 118 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I have been looking for a way to convert my cassettes to CD's, A little pricey but worth it to save my cassettes. Single cassette player, doesn't take much space on your desk. Audacity software comes with it for Mac and PC, gives you a lot of options still learning to use it. I have an older iMac with 1.1 USB ports and it works great with it. I have converted 12 of my cassettes so far and I'm very happy with the TAPE2USB player.
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
Blind Faith 99
- Published on Amazon.com
Although I turn cassette tapes into MP3's as part of my job, I would never use this product. Except for going through a USB port, this device does nothing you can't already do with free software and one or two inexpensive connectors. Why would you spend $150 just to go through a USB port??? You can make a digital audio file (such as an MP3) from the sound coming out of a cassette tape player (or any other device) simply by feeding the sound into the "Line In" jack on the back of your computer (it's the one that's color-coded blue), and at the same time, using audio-editing software to create a new audio file. With this device, you still have to use the audio-editing software. Assuming you already have a cassette tape player, the only thing needed is a 3.5mm cable to connect the output jack on whatever is playing the sound to the "Line In" jack on your computer. If the device playing the sound has the red and white RCA output jacks, then an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter may be needed. Most people have wires and adapters like this lying around the house somewhere. If not, they cost a dollar or two on the internet. There are several inexpensive audio-editing programs available -- one of them (Audacity) is completely free. Just by coincidence, the completely free, open source program Audacity is the software that comes with this device. Using very minimal hardware connectors and an audio-editing program like Audacity, an MP3 can be created from anything that plays sound. Not just cassette tapes, which this device apparently is limited to, but also the sound from VCR's, TV's, CD players, DVD players, camcorders, cell phones (2.5mm-to-3.5mm adapter needed), personal recorders, record players, Betamaxes, reel-to-reel decks, 8-track tape players, victrolas.... anything that plays sound and has an output jack. And that's without the help of a device like the one being sold here. Accessing the computer thru a USB port is hardly a convenience that's worth $150. Use the "Line In" jack that was built into your desktop PC. That's what it's for. Also, going through a USB port is not going to improve the quality of the audio. If anything, the sound is going to be degraded. I'm not seeing where this device -- which lists for $150 and is on sale today for $77 -- does anything you can't already do yourself at a cost of pretty close to nothing.