1,189 of 1,245 people found the following review helpful
Save your money -- Get a Simple $15 Radio Shack Connector Instead of the ION,
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This review is from: Ion Tape2PC USB Cassette Deck (Electronics)
Before I purchased the ION I read many articles on the Internet about how to transfer my audio cassettes to CD/iPod. I was overwhelmed by the technical terms, so I thought the ION would be the answer to my dreams: an easy, trouble-free solution. I assumed, that the ION (at it's steep price) would give me all I needed for simple, stress-free transfers.
I was wrong. The ION is a bad-investment for a number of reasons:
1. The ION is huge.
2. The software included with my ION was defective (Chinese characters appeared when I tried to load the application) -- and although the folders opened in English, they still didn't load.
3. The recording software for MAC users is available FREE on line.
4. If you have an old tape deck, or any cassette player with audio-out ports, you can go to Radio Shack (which I just did), buy a standard issue "Y" connector (1/8" stereo plug on one end and a white (male) and yellow (male) plug on the other end and (voila) you are done -- you now have precisely what the ION gives you: all for about about $15.
Believe me, I am no computer/tech genius. I'm a forty-something mom. But buying and plugging in the "Y" connector was super easy.
The ION merely gives you an old-fashioned, basic cassette deck, basic software (and, in the case of Audacity, something that is free from the Internet) and a USB connector (which does exactly the same thing as the $15 Radio Shack Y-connecter).
After that, you are on your own. I found the steepest learning curve was figuring out how to use the audio recording software. When I was stymied by the defective ION software, I discovered Garage Band was already on my iMac -- but I have since downloaded and use Audacity (on both my husband's PC and my iMAC).
The ION directions are so basic as to be nearly indecipherable. And as far as the Audacity software goes, the ION literature says something like: if you've never used audio recording software stick with the EZ converter software (which I believe only works on PCs).
Please also note that the ION literature doesn't tell you the next most important step you must take to make the ION work (goodness knows how any of the other reviewers were able to use their ION w/o a good working knowledge of their computer and/or audio recording. In short, you must go into your Control Panel (PC) or System Preference (MAC) and make sure you change your sound input option to in-line audio port (if using a Y-connector) or USB (if sticking with the ION).
Buyer Beware: think twice before you click to buy the ION. If you have a cassette player (or access to one) with output audio ports (most have them), you can buy the Y-connector and download the software for free.
To Amazon's credit, it appears they will refund my money and cover the cost of return shipment because of the defective software contained with the ION I purchased.
Tracked by 9 customers
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Showing 1-10 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 8, 2007 4:00:09 PM PST
Happy in the tropics! says:
thank you for taking the time to print such a helpful review.
Posted on Dec 9, 2007 11:09:10 AM PST
S. Redelsheimer says:
You got me to research other ways of getting analog audio into my MAC. I need a new cassette deck, to play my old tapes, but now I know I can get any type I want, and still be able to record them onto my computer. Thanks
Posted on Dec 19, 2007 2:03:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2007 2:03:57 PM PST
Charles Cusack says:
I was thinking about buying one of these until I read this review. I already have a tape deck hooked up to my computer, but thought there was something special about these ones. Turns out all I did was install Audacity (free!), and within 10 minutes, I have my first song from a tape onto my computer. Thanks for the advice.
Posted on Dec 21, 2007 7:24:12 AM PST
Amy Connolly says:
Thank you for taking the time to post such a helpful review. I was considering getting the Ion, but after reading your review, I see that I can use my tape desk (yes, I still have one) and use free online software. I haven't downloaded that yet, but will now.
Posted on Dec 30, 2007 9:52:11 AM PST
Timothy K. Fogliani says:
Brilliant...thanks for the review. When you have only one option available and no competition(that I could find) it is always scary to buy something like this. Since it has been out since 2005 you would think other manufacturers would be making something like this and/or ION would be upgrading/fixing issues that have been discovered since they started selling them. Again thanks...will have to rearrange my stereo stack and locate the deck to another room where my PC is...but thats better than spending $$$ needlessly...
Posted on Jan 2, 2008 11:24:16 AM PST
Devron Grant says:
This is great - thanks for the warning. I totally would have taken this to be some sort of automated all-in-one device. I mean, at least have a connection via USB. I'll read some other reviews, but just wanted to say thanks for the detailed account of your experience.
Posted on Feb 16, 2008 7:48:43 PM PST
Thanks for your creative solution for archiving audio tapes. It's so simple it makes me scratch my head and wonder why I didn't think of it. Especially after spending untold hours deciding on the best way to do this. I even bought an audio converter from the Apple Store, which I plan to return (unopened, thankfully). I'm going to buy a DVD/VCR combo to archive my video tapes, and I can use it for the audio tapes as well by recording the audio onto dvd discs and then input into my iMac for editing. Saves having to position my tape deck and computer close to each other.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2008 9:14:57 AM PDT
I recommend that one DOES buy an external audio converter if they want to get the best sound quality. The reviewer suggested a perfectly legitimate on the cheap solution, but another alternative is spending about the same money as the ION deck and getting much higher sound quality. Same thing goes for using a decent playback deck vs using an old boom box that was sitting around. Not too much money additional money can go a long way.
If someone comes out with a quick-and-dirty one-touch device that would let me record analogue sources directly onto my iPod for convenience without messing around with the PC, I'd be interested.
Posted on Apr 23, 2008 9:58:02 AM PDT
thanks a lot for taking the time to inform us
In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2008 11:10:16 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 13, 2008 11:10:29 AM PDT]