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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.
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on December 20, 2011
I bought this via Amazon. Used it for a few days copying old tapes of language lessons. Seemed OK. Then, when I copied music, I began to notice the notes were badly off pitch. Sour notes. Tried different tapes. No difference. Should note that these were classical and traditional vocal, not rock music. Assuming this was the result of crud on the heads, I cleaned the heads. No improvement. Put the tapes in the player in my car. Pitch was right. So it was not a problem with the tapes. Tried a different PC. Off pitch. Swapped USB cables. Off pitch.

It was clear that the tape drive was out of adjustment. No way for user to adjust. Do these people know about 440 A? There must be a tape somewhere that puts out 440 A. We can buy inexpensive guitar, etc. tuners so it is not asking a lot for these drives to be adjusted before being shipped.

Only reasonable solution was to toss this into the trash. At this price, it would cost far too much to return it or to have a technician repair it. Will try to find another brand. This time I will triple check that there is an adjustment screw which is user accessible without having to disassemble the device. A hole in the back cover with a rubber plug would work. Not exactly brain surgery.

If you look at the other cassette USB to CD listings, you will see that this same device is sold with a number of brands - and sometimes cheaper. Read the one-star reviews of these. Some of them cite the same problems I had. No way to correct slow turning of the capstan.

Horrible. Simply horrible piece of junk.
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on August 20, 2011
This little box works as advertised, but I'm not sure how long it will last. To start at the beginning, the instructions for Audacity software installation are written in micro print by someone who didn't speak english as a first language, but they work and *are* understandable. However, the instructions tell you in the Audacity Preferences to set recording device to "USB PnP Audio Device" from a drop down menu. I did not have that option, so selected SigmaTel audio, and that works.
The first night I was using it, the fast foward button quit working. The player has 'auto reverse' (automatically changes direction at the end of a tape), but Reverse is always in the same direction, so depending what side of the tape is playing/being recorded, it could be reverse or fast forward, so it takes a bit to figure out where you are on the tape.
BUT- the program works, and will save out to mp3 or wav files. I bought this unit because I do not have an ipod and didn't want to buy other units I saw that require the use of itunes. While the included instructions talk about installing Audacity, they do not do much for explaining how to use the program- how to separate the tracks, how to set levels, no details, and the Help section isn't much help. It's not too hard to figure out after a while of trial and error and clicking around how to make things work, but a little more explanation on the basic separating and labeling of tracks would be helpful. Another major point that should have been explained is that the recording level is actually set by the volume wheel on the cassette player, which leaves me wondering what's the point of the gain feature in the Audacity program itself.
Overall, it works to do what it's supposed to do- save my dusty old tapes of collected music to digital format- but the unit seems cheaply made, the door could snap off easily, and I question how long it'll keep going before the reverse or play button also quits. But for about $20, I shouldn't complain.
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on March 18, 2017
So overall, this was a worthwhile purchase and was lots of fun rediscovering my old tapes. I can't say how it would hold up because I only dubbed a half a shoebox of cassettes. Your mileage may vary, and I can easily imagine with quality and price this low, that some units may be lemons. Five stars because it worked right out of the box for me.

I am an experienced Windows user, so not sure how this would be for beginners. Possibly not all that easy. I am running Windows 10 on a cheap Acer Aspire laptop. Installed the Audacity software from the CD. I had to open the folders on the CD manually because it did not automatically start the installation. Didn't even need batteries, powered straight from the USB cable. Plopped in a bunch of tapes varying from C30 (short), C60 (medium), to C90 (long) with varying recording types: stereo, mono, speech, classical music, swing music, metal bias tape, normal bias tape, Dolby B on, or no Dolby at all. Adjusted the player (not a recorder) volume wheel to about the middle by just rolling it back and forth and guessing at the middle. Hit the Audacity record button and copied the tape. Easily could highlight and delete the dead space at the beginning, middle and end of the tape. Then I saved the project as an Audacity Project file (.aup) and afterward exported it to an MP3 by following the very clear (but minuscule) instruction manual. The manual said I might have to install the Lame (that is its actual name) encoder file from the CD, but I didn't. The CD also had a Macintosh version for those who need it. By the way, the manual was so tiny it was ridiculous. I finally Googled "USB Cassette Capture Sunsky" and downloaded a good PDF manual. This was much easier to read in full size on the laptop screen.

The play mode switch is actually Loop Forever or Loop Once. The manual describes a different mode. This is not a big deal, just good to know that the unit is working correctly. When it reaches the end of the tape, it switches over and reverses to play side B. The mode switch just chooses whether to keep on looping, or only do this once, unlike what the manual says.

Now for my spoken word speech tapes the sound quality was fine. I did not notice any distortion at all. One of my 20-year-old prerecorded music tapes was a bit wobbly in the slow music parts. But it may be that the tape is worn out, or more likely that it was never very high quality to begin with. My old music mix tapes played just fine even though my handwritten tape labels said they were metal with Dolby on. No Dolby Noise Reduction switch on this gadget. No Metal/Normal bias setting on the player. Very little distortion, about as good as I remember them from two decades ago.

The mechanical construction is very cheaply made plastic and thin metal parts, so handle this unit with extreme gentleness. For instance, don't snap the door shut. Instead, I suggest sliding the open switch, closing the door, and releasing the switch. This will keep the fragile latch from breaking. Hold onto the USB cable -- it is a slightly older mini-USB connector (not micro-USB) and might be a hassle to replace. The big advantage is that micro-USB is much easier to insert than the newer cable types. Also the cable is very short, I'm guessing 14 inches, so you have to keep the player close to the PC.

I paid $12.99 and the price performance is 5 stars for me. It got the job done of copying my shoebox of mix tapes, pre-recorded tapes, and spoken word lectures.

Here's another tip. The Audacity software has track splitter built in. You can analyze the .aup file and break the recording up into separate tracks. I have not actually tried this, and here is why. First, I usually just listen to my tapes all the way through on my Amazon Echo. They sound great by the way. Remember you can say "Alexa, fast forward" to skip 30 seconds within the long album recording. Second, by keeping the album as one long track, I only use one of free 250 tracks on Amazon Music.
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on May 14, 2013
To start this review, I'd like to explain a little about myself. I'm not a computer programmer and have never taken classes or gone to school for it, but I do use my free time to play with and learn how to use my computer. Basically, I'm not a novice when it comes to the different kinds of programs.

My personal reasons for getting this product are simple; I have a bunch of old cassette tapes cluttering my home, and I wanted to put them on my computer so I can box up my cassettes and have some breathing room. In that respect, this program has done exactly what I wanted - the cassette tapes are now accessible from my computer.

However, from the start there were issues with the product. When I opened it, the software install CD had a large crack in it. Not a scratch on the surface, mind you, but an actual crack. Luckily, this was more of a disappointment than a setback, because the software installed successfully.

My disappointment was increased, however, when I began to read the manual. It was clearly designed for more experienced users, which wouldn't have been too much of a problem, except that it was clearly written in another language and then poorly translated into English. I puzzled through it and got the program installed, but at that point, I would have considered it a 4-star product.

Then, the moment of truth came, and I inserted a cassette and tried to record. Once more, however, I was disappointed, as it wouldn't pick up any audio at all. Nothing I tried could help, and in desperation, I came back to Amazon to read the product reviews. One very helpful reviewer had the same problem as I did, and he explained that what he needed to do was to turn the volume up the whole way on the actual device.

I tried this with mine, and it worked, but the experience took it down one more star to where it currently is, at 3-stars. There was an awful lot of hassle, and the audio program that is included is pretty useless. It's difficult and tedious to separate the tracks, and I still haven't managed to figure out how to save them as separate files, nor have I tried to export them. Basically, what it boils down to is that I have the entire cassette in one audio file that I can only use with the Audacity program. This is a very cost-effective way to preserve your cassette tapes for future enjoyment, but it's difficult for a first-time user.

Hopefully this has been helpful!
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on February 25, 2012
Audacity is a great program. I've used it for years. I have no problem with it at all. I also really like the service I get from Amazon. Great company!

The "DB Tech Audio USB Portable Cassette Tape-to-MP3 Player Adapter with USB Cable and Software Cd Also Features Auto Reverse - FOR PC" (DB-TP01) simply does not work. I've used dozens if not hundreds of electronic devices in my life - some good and some bad. This ranks very close to the bottom. Granted it was only $30.00, but I expect that if I pay for something that it works as advertized. The audio output quality is horrendous. Adjusting the volume control to maximum on the device at least provides some sound, but adjusting it to a lower level on the device produces no sound at all. (Yes - I did have my audio controls on my PC and in Audacity set correctly). I just want to transfer a cassette made at our wedding years ago (quite a clear recording) transferred to a digital format. I'll keep looking for an inexpensive way to do it, but the time spent opening the package for this device was a waste of time. Save your money and buy something other than this. DB Tech Audio USB Portable Cassette Tape-to-MP3 Player Adapter with USB Cable and Software Cd Also Features Auto Reverse - FOR PC
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on September 16, 2012
I really wanted to give this a try despite other reviews. I have lots of cassette tapes left from the past and wanted this to be a good way to preserve them before they deteriorate beyond recovery. This is not the way.

The product does not work. It is cheap plastic. Upon inserting batteries and trying to play a tape just using a pair of earphones, the sound was like a cat dying. The tape speed was going fast and slow several times a second making the sound output horrendous. I thought it might be the tape. I tried several others with the same result. Then I put the same tapes in a tape deck and tried to play them there. They played without problem. It wasn't the tape. It was this player that couldn't perform the simple function of normal output, not to mention getting that output to my PC to convert to MP3. The software did not seem to have any issues and would have worked fine, but the tape player was a complete bust.

Your mileage may vary, but I strongly recommend against anyone purchasing this. The chances of throwing away your money seem very high. I think the best option I have found for Tape-to-MP3 recording is an Ion Tape2PC dual dubbing deck, also with USB connection to your PC. It is more expensive, but it works and does not feel like it would fall apart after 3 uses.
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on December 22, 2011
This seems nice in concept, however the software comes only on a mini-disc. The slot on my laptop cannot accommodate a mini disc. I emailed the manufacturer asking if I can get the software in full size CD or a download and they never even replied. Since I cannot access the software, I returned the unit as unusable. I also did not appreciate the lack of reply and non-existing customer service. BUYER BEWARE.
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on March 14, 2015
The problem with this product is that the quality control was not very good. The advertised description implied that software would be provided for the actual transfer of the tapes to files. This was not the case in my situation. The instruction manual was for outdated versions of software. There was no version for Windows 8.1. Luckily I still have a Windows 7 laptop. The instruction manual implied that Audacity shipped with the unit. However, this was not the case. I had to download the software from the Internet which diminished my satisfaction. What also diminished my satisfaction was the fact that I paid $30 for a cassette player that used to cost $10 but now has a USB connection which only costs around $2 to include. The Audacity software is not easy to use and so there is a significant learning curve associated with getting good quality files. If you are looking for quick and easy like I was this is not the product for you.
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on November 18, 2016
I have a huge box of old cassettes and was looking for an inexpensive, easy way to convert them to MP3 or CD. This product does both and it was inexpensive and very easy to use.The software provided was through Audacity, I've used before so was familiar with it. Cassettes player is basic, but for the cost was worth it and did the job.
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