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on October 1, 2011
Well, the device works and was very easy to set up. It's a tape player with USB output, which is recognized as a generic USB sound device and available for software which would actually grab and produce files. Software is included.

The manual shows screenshots of Audacity and lame.dll, which suggests that this is what's going to be installed with the CD. I already have Audacity so I didn't even have to use the CD, but I must say Audacity is an open source tool for audio recording and editing. It's quite a geeky tool, which is the reason of my big LOL re product :) and also a reason for -1 star. Go Chinese manufacturers! Yes to teaching general public users geeky tools! :) Of course the very use case of "just recording and saving as mp3" is straightforward enough and is documented in the manual, but if you want anything special, like cutting your tape into individual songs or normalizing the volume, expect some patient time to learn Audacity. Yes, it's relatively easy to do in the tool if you know it, and it's a great tool, but it's aimed for advanced users, it's not "push a button get result thing".

RE quality: I am using it for converting tape-based audiobooks, and I am generally happy with the quality. It adds a tiny level of background noise, but you couldn't expect more of a cheap tape player.

Caveats which may be not obvious to people with "it should just work" kind of expectation:

1. You'll be able to save each side of the tape into an mp3 file, with some five minutes of manual work for each file (select non-empty part of recording and trim, click export selection to mp3, wait till the file is saved - a few mins, and also turn over the casette).

2. The tape is *played* through computer, so you're converting it in realtime, not any faster. Btw, Audacity allows you to playback what you're recording (an option in preferences), but I think it's off by default, which may make it harder for this use case.

3. I didn't try continuous mode, but I tried to let it play in the reverse direction. Somehow I couldn't get it work right in a minute, so I just decided to manually flip sides and not trust multi-directional playing. Not sure if it works actually.

4. If you want to cut tape into songs, prepare for manual work, comparable with the length of the tape.

5. Maximum volume actually causes distortion to the sound wave - maybe that was one of the reason of quality complaints from other commenters. I had to spend 10-15 minutes playing with volume control and ended up using it at about 2/3rd of the volume, and then I did select all use "amplify" feature in Audacity to normalize. The good part is that volume control is physical knob, so you only do it once, and use it for multiple tapes.

Bottom line, for an advanced user without high expectations, it's a fine device, definitely great for price.

For a beginner user, it may work smoothly, but I also can easily see how he can run into trouble and would have to spend time figuring things out. Wouldn't recommend it to a non-geek friend, just to save myself from a chance he'd be calling me with questions :)
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on July 9, 2011
I recently came across some tapes of answering machine messages that I saved for over 20 years, left by some loved ones who passed away. It saddened me that I would no longer be able to play these and save them for the future. I found this on Amazon, it was inexpensive and after some attempts I was able to save them as mp3 files and to a cd. There wasn't very much info in the manual that would help me through the recording process. I kept getting voice overs. I realized that pausing the computer while recording would cause it to record over the previous recording. I had to save each one individually in order to have it play back the way I had intended.
The unit itself is very flimsy looking, simple to operate, but I'm not to concerned with the cheapness of the machine as I would not be using it very often. However, it was a blessing to be able to hear the voice of my husband and mother and a short message from a dear friend who had also passed away.
I gave a 3 star review because of the manual and the flimsiness of the machine, but it was worth 10 stars to be able to hear these old messages.
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on January 1, 2012
I managed to get this working well on a Mac laptop. I'm going to describe how and also put what a few other reviewers have suggested in one place.
First, throw out the mini-disk that comes with the tape player. Don't put a mini-disk into a slot drive that's not made for it. The software that's on the disk is freeware that you can download from the Audacity web site. They also have clearer and more explicit instructions on the Audacity site. Read the manual that comes with the player, and then toss that into the recycling bin. Read the instructions for Mac on the Audacity site.
Next, unless you don't care that you're recording in mono, not stereo, ignore the cable that came with the player. If you're transferring an audio book, you probably don't care that it's in mono, and you can use that cable. If you're transferring a mix tape, you probably want it in stereo. Buy a male-to-male stereo audio cable (they're about 6-7 bucks for a good one) that will plug into the headphone jack on the tape player and the Audio In (external microphone) port on your Mac. Go to Sound in your Mac Preferences and set the Audio In volume up 80%. At this point, read the instructions on the Audacity site and you're set. (You'll be using Line In (Built-in Input) rather than USB.)
I also turn the tape player volume rather high, and the Audacity recording volume setting up to about 2/3 (higher causes distortion). Audacity's "amplify" tool also works well to bring the volume up without clipping highs and lows.
Once your file is recorded and saved, you can easily break it into tracks and name them, and by following the Audacity instructions and downloading plug-ins, export multiple tracks in MP3 and other formats to iTunes that will work on your iPod.
Of course, you could have just done all this with the old cassette Walkman you used to own, or for that matter, any device at all with a headphone jack, including your home stereo system. Still, this player is conveniently small, and the sound that I'm getting from old cassettes is really quite good. Rating it 3 stars.
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on May 8, 2012
I purchased this item to transfer some spoken word cassette tapes into digital format on my PC. Here's the problem: When transferring a longer tape, i.e. 45 minute tape, the tape player itself does not have the power to keep it playing at regular speed. So as a result the tapes slow and the sound suffers. The voice changes because the tape is running slower. Unacceptable. I can imagine music tapes would sound horrible as well. The unit is powered by a USB connection and this just doesn't supply enough juice to keep it running well through the whole tape. The unit also has batteries, but when the USB is plugged in the batteries do not engage. Perhaps if they shipped it with it's external power cord things would be different, but they don't.
I gave up on this unit because of the poor sound quality. I went on Amazon and ordered a small cassette player that runs on house current and purchased a cable at radio shack to connect the units headphone port to the Mic port on my PC. Using Windows built in Sound Recorder I transferred the tapes flawlessly into digital format. No speed problems. With the help of Roxio Pro software I was able to clean up tape noise and produce excellent sounding files for burning to CD.
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on June 7, 2011
It took a bit to get it set up, but it works. I like that it has a link to software that can fix cassette recording, blocking out most of the "cassette tape" noise that comes with ripping it. However, I would have liked it to seperate the song, side 1 from 2, and automatically stop when it is done recording both sides and Fast forwarding or rewinding. Although it is going to take a lot of time to seperate the song and bring them to clear quality, it works for what I want it to work for.
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on September 30, 2011
I ordered this product because my mother had a bunch of cassettes she wanted to transfer to CD's. I bought it for the decent price and the fact that it seemed to be able to get the job done. I got it today and I have to say that it does work, it transfers the cassette to mp3 format just fine. The only thing that I don't like is that the manual that comes with the product is less than helpfull. It gives no directions on how to properly use the product, how to create separate tracks, what any of the buttons and icons mean. I had to play around with it for an entire day before I got the hang of it. So, if you don't get frustrated easily, this product will be fine for you.
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on July 7, 2011
NO software is included for MAC users. You have to go download "Audacity," which is free, but you can use Audacity with an old cassette player and a cable and follow YouTube tutorials on the subject if you are tech-savvy. If you are not, the ION version of an cassette to mp3 converter is a lot easier to use.
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on January 11, 2012
I'm an ESOL teacher and I have a collection of 100+ audio cassettes for the many textbooks I own and use in teaching. Since 90% of my collection consists of materials that are no longer in print, I always panic thinking something could happen to my irreplaceable tapes because they are dated technology ... up until now, that is! Transferring my beloved old cassettes onto modern CDs has been my dream. I no longer have to drag around my old-fashioned cassette player, and I no longer have to carry the bulky tapes in their fragile casings worrying every step of the way... I am literally over the moon happy!!!
This little device, the TsirTech Audio converter has been the answer to my prayers. I rate my PC literacy at "average" and I have found the installation of the enclosed CD and the copying of my first cassette very easy and straight-forward.
No problems saving the recordings as a ".wav" file. However, the MP3 is a bit more challenging. It requires a few more steps that I have honestly not followed through with because I do not own an iPod I can download the MP3 format to so I don't care if I ever learn it. Maybe I will worry about it the day I buy myself an iPod and figure out this MP3 business at that point in time.
For now, I am just ecstatic I can save my collection in CDs easily and play them back on any regular CD player.
The quality of the sound is excellent in my opinion. I have not noticed any distortions in the pieces I converted over with this thing. Now, mind you, that my tapes are recordings of dialogues, not music, because these are educational cassettes for listening comprehension and pronunciation practice.
Excellent value for the money. I definitely recommend.
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on December 14, 2011
If you own a MAC, do not be fooled. This product is not MAC compatible, for two reasons. First, its says right on the box, "Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. Nothing mentioned about MAC. Second, the software media is a mini CD-Rom. The CD drive on a MAC does not have a tray, just a slot. If you try to put that mini disk in your computer, its going to get lost inside for sure. I thought there might be something I'm missing but couldn't find any phone number, website, email or physical address to contact for help. MAC users, don't waste your time, look for another product.
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on October 7, 2013
Maybe I just got a bad one, but there are so many problems, I think it is just poorly designed. Mine has trouble with the play button - won't stay down in the play position many times when pressed. If/when it finally does stay down, then the sound from the player is warbley and seems slightly fast. Additionally, there seems to be some bleed-through from the adjacent tracks on the tape.

Also, maybe you, like me, didn't notice from the description, but this is a MONO device - not Stereo! They talk a lot about using it for music, but unless you are converting old 78s, music=stereo.

The net of all that is that I haven't been able to use this at all and will just toss it. Pay a bit more and get something with quality. This isn't even adequate for voice recordings.

Update - I spent an hour of my engineering time to disassemble this partway and found/fixed a problem with how it had been assembled so my play button now works as it is supposed to. However, after this is when I discovered it is a Mono device, so I am not raising my rating.
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