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on March 4, 2011
I needed to convert my tape collection, and we tired of using headphone jacks. This thing is fantastic.

In response to other reviews:
1) The unit is plenty loud enough even with the cheapo included headphones
2) it's not meant to be used as a walkman. Don't try and you won't be disappointed.
3) The included software has good intentions. Poor execution. Use Audacity, not iTunes.

1) It's the right price
2) Easy operation
3) True plug and play on Vista. Just plug it into a USB port and it worked instantly with Audacity. Did you hear that? No driver problems! Very unexpected, very welcome. This gets ignored when it works well, but people complain about it when it doesn't work.
4) Loop feature. Turn on the tape, walk away, come back when it has done both sides.
5) Auto volume for recording. Don't have to mess with it.
6) No batteries, no power cords

1) Plastic body. It'll hold up for my tape collection, but I would never take it outside.
2) Hum during recording. Don't know if it's the tape or the player, but it happened on both cassettes so far.
3) No auto-stop. When it has played both sides of the tape, it should know that it is done, right? It doesn't.

How to use it (or how it works for me):
Plugged in the USB cable (no battery needed, none used). Put in a tape. Pressed play.

I have used the included software option and the Audacity option. Audacity is better. Here's why: the included software has a feature. It auto-detects when a song ends and another song begins. But it is not 100% (it missed 3 breaks in the tape I just did, and it was a commercial music tape). And it does not have a noise reduction function, which it desperately needs.

Using Audacity, download it for free. Then follow the links on the Audacity site and download the lame MP3 encoder. That's the name, not a description. It works great. Using this setup is simple:
1) start Audacity
2) click record
3) press the play button on the unit
4) when you are done recording, click stop in Audacity
5) stop the player
6) select a small section of "silence" in the recording.
7) in the Effect drop-down menu, select Noise Removal
8) Click Get Noise Profile
9) Select the entire recording (all 90 minutes at once if you have a recording that long)
10) in the Effect drop-down menu, select Noise Removal
11) Click Remove Noise. Wait for it to finish.
12) You can easily see where songs start and finish, so highlight 1 song, go to file-->Export selection as MP3, and save it. Do this for each song. You now have the songs saved, named, and noise is removed. You don't need that tape any more. You win!
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on August 17, 2010
After reading some of the reviews, you would swear that this was a piece of junk, however it was exactly what I needed to get these old recordings off of tape and into my iTunes! Granted, the player is made of plastic (chromed plastic). It's not something you'd want to abuse or tote around with you, but sitting on my desk it does the job it is intended to do. I just transferred a 20 year old musical recording of a friend of mine and now it's off of that old tape and into my system where I can back it up for the future.

If you're looking for a cheap way to turn your tapes into MP3s, this is a great way to go. It was super simple. I loaded the software in about 2 minutes, plugged it into my Mac's USB port and pressed record and play...It's as easy as that! The only drawback is that if you want to separate your tape into separate songs, you do have to sit through the song and press "new track" on your screen. Otherwise, it's pretty great. If you want a super high-end system, this isn't it, but I'm very satisfied with my results so far.
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on April 28, 2017
this thing is terrible and i missed the return window by 4 days - 40 bucks shot to hell. i am very bummed out. as so many have stated, it was exciting to think that this was going be to be really great. i transferred 2 or 3 partial tapes fine, then the thing just stopped at random spots and never started again. after several attempts, i am looking for another product to transfer tapes.
UPDATED 05.18.17
the company was kind enough to reply and reach out to potentially offer a resolution. bravo!
i do not have time to go through all the trouble to return it.
according to another person that experienced the same turning off as i had, there may now be a way to resolve that, but the rumbling/chattering that i experienced during the very minimal amount of recording i did do, isn't exactly a positive feature either - i believe others had mentioned that, as well.
i have changed my rating from 1 to 3 stars on account of my updated feeling that the product is potentially adequate/average, but nothing has so far shown me that it is anything more.
i still stand by more initial posting title of "if you just bought this, you better return it before the return window closes, because it is garbage", but I've mellowed a bit on my disappointment.
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on September 22, 2017
I have a bunch of cassette tapes that I recorded for myself when I was in college. I have some others that my wife recorded for me before we were married. I was able to begin the process of digitizing them in about 2 minutes after receiving this product in the mail. It couldn't have been easier.

I have an iMac and I used Garageband to capture the audio.

Here are the steps
- Plugged the tape player into the USB port on my Mac
- Opened Garageband
- Opened Garageband Preferences > Audio/MIDI tab > Changed the Input Device to USB (see picture).
- In the track settings (on the bottom of the screen) I turned on Monitoring (which allows you to hear what you're capturing while you're capturing it) and Automatic Level Control which just adjusts the recording volume automatically (see picture).
- Pushed play on the tape player and record in Garageband.

That's it. It worked perfectly. The reason I prefer Garageband to Audacity is simply that I already had it on my computer and it doesn't need an add-on codec to export to MP3.

I've digitized three of my old cassettes. I have six more to go.
review imagereview image
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on May 18, 2017
The price was great and everything works great. I've been converting hundreds of audio drama cassettes that our family has been enjoying. This has allowed me to unlock these wonderful dramas out of their plastic cassette tape prison where I can now store them in our home network drive, Bose SoundTouch system, phones, iPods, and iTunes. It has been a terrific purchase.

A couple misc. notes: When we received this I was concerned when I saw the installation CD since my computer doesn't have a CD drive. But after a quick internet search I was able to find the installation files from the manufacturer for the recording software. Also, the product has one defect - the FF button, which works, pops off everytime it stops fast forwarding. But it happens to be the only button I never use, so I don't mind. Plus, as a used item I expected more wear and tear, so I'm 5-stars pleased.
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on December 31, 2014
Absolute junk. Product arrived, I put batteries in it, and it never worked. Yes, I put the batteries in the correct way. The plastic was so cheap and flimsy, and the item was overall too lightweight to be made with any quality. I didn't want a replacement, I recognized that it was just better in the trash.

About a week later I found a $5 walkman at a thrift store. It was made with quality, and I've been using it ever since.

Here's what I did instead, I took an 1/8" audio cable, plugged it in to the headphone jack of my walkman and the other end to the "line in" jack at the back of my PC. Then I downloaded a program called "Audacity" which is free. In the preferences I set the record source to "line in," and just started recording as I played the tape. This is how I've transferred all my tapes into .wav and .mp3 format (.mp3 will require an additional free "LAME" codec download).

Hope this helps anyone else, because this product certainly didn't help me.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on December 9, 2017
I really wanted this to be a solution for transferring my tapes to digital format but alas as many reviews have stated this product does not work. The ION tape express plus is incapable of playing tapes at the correct speed. condition of the tapes did not matter brand new or old all tapes played too slow. if it could play at the correct speed it would be a good product but since it can't it's a total waste of your money. do yourself a favor and look for something else.
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on January 7, 2018
Do NOT by any means purchase this piece of equipment!!! I bought the ION Turntable several months ago to adapt all of my old vinyl albums into mp3 files. It was fantastic and worked perfectly! So I thought this ION product would be just as good for cassettes. WRONG!!! I have never been so disappointed in a product as I was with this piece of trash. I put in my first cassette and hit the record button on my PC. The tape speed was NOT consistent, causing the music to modulate between several different keys and waver up and down every few seconds. If you know anything about music (I'm actually a musician and music teacher) you know this is not acceptable. At first I thought maybe it was just a bad cassette, but after trying several different cassettes it was clear that it was indeed the unit. I had to actually find an old tape player from the basement and patch it through the aux port in the ION turntable to transfer the music from the cassettes through the turntable to my PC. Fortunately that worked because I was really pressed for time to finish a project using those old cassettes. So the bottom line is my ION cassette adapter is now in the garbage, and you need to do a little more research to find a better product because this one is NOT IT!!!
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on December 28, 2017
Just arrived yesterday, and so far, I'm not impressed. I had to troubleshoot several different issues, and have managed to do that, but unfortunately, the playback on the tape player itself is too slow. None of the help available online has been able to resolve it. I contacted support and hopefully they will get back to me (in 24-72 business hours, which, with the New Year's holiday means waiting potentially a week). I really needed to have this work out of the box. Bummed.

I have tried to download other music manipulation apps like Audacity, and maybe I'll play around with that and see if I can get the playback to be somewhere close to the original recording. But it really feels like I shouldn't have to do that. So, your move, Ion. I'm really hoping I can get it working sooner rather than later.
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on November 23, 2016
This actually worked very well with my Linux set-up. I cannot give you audiophile level comments about the quality overall, but for my purpose of converting a really old cassette to digital files on my computer, this worked great. With Linux, use the `audacity` software suite, which is pretty close to plug-and-play if you already have your sound system working properly. It's hard to beat the price if your main goal is to get the old tapes onto the new media devices.
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