Top positive review
385 people found this helpful
Does Exactly What It Says
on October 11, 2011
Great, low-cost method of converting those old tapes to mp3. I found all my old tapes when cleaning out my basement. Immediately, I had to listen to them but all I had was an old, dead walkman, no tape player in my car and not a boombox to speak of. I immediately went to Amazon to find a solution. This was it - only $25 and works with my PC.
The unit itself isn't rock solid. It's made of plastic and will break if you drop it or mistreat it in any way. But left in good hands, this should last a while - and I only need it to convert my tapes once. I followed the little instruction booklet to install the driver (I'm running Windows 7 Pro on a Dell XPS machine). Just plug in the device to a USB port with the included cable and the driver installs automagically. It uses a generic audio driver and then is recognized by your machine as an audio input device, basically a microphone. Now, just install Audacity from the small disk that's included. You can download Audacity for free and install it that way if you prefer, but the disk does come with the mp3 codec needed to convert the raw audio to mp3. Anyway, I installed from disk and followed set my preferences as instructed and had no issues with mp3 conversion. When I first fired up the tape device and pressed play and record in Audacity... NOTHING!?!?!
Well, I'm an idiot I guess. I had the volume on the unit all the way down so no audio was coming through. The instructions don't mention anything about setting the volume all the way up, and frankly I thought the volume was strictly for the headphone jack, but you'll want to do that to get the strongest audio signal as possible. As soon as I did that - BAM! - worked like a charm. I then recorded my tapes and saved each side as audacity projects so that I could go back later and cut up the tracks so I could save each track as an mp3 with all details. This way, iTunes will look at it as the actual album and download the artwork, etc.
The entire process is a bit time-consuming and it does require some basic knowledge of audio editing, especially if you're going to separate the tracks as I did. If you've used Audacity, Garageband, or any other audio editing tool then you'll have no problems. If you've never used one, then download Audacity for free and play around a bit before you try converting all your cassettes.
Finished mp3 files are lower fidelity than original digital files, and there is some tape noise that comes through, but all in all if you want to keep your treasures with you forever, especially those that you can't buy or reproduce anymore, then I would recommend picking this unit up and giving it a try.