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.