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Showing 1-10 of 292 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 400 reviews
on September 13, 2015
The ION Tape2PC is a good tool for converting old audio cassettes to modern digital formats. I have used it to convert over 700 cassettes of varying ages ( some going back over 40 years), brands and types (Ferrous, Chrome, Metal) and sources (home recordings, pre-recorded albums, LP to tape as well as radio and special mixes). Works great for these - I still have about another thousand tapes to convert so doing at least one tape per day I’ve got a few more years of transfers ahead :)

A Note on Sound Quality : The ION device itself has been compared by other sites to have audio quality at equivalent to CD level, however I have also noted some persons making the complaint about less than Hi-Fi results. There are some real limitations with any digitization process starting with the quality constraints on the audio cassette in the first place - whatever you have recorded is as good as it will ever be given a few adjustments for EQ and levels.
Next the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) in the ION that takes the tape analog audio to the digital stream coming over the USB cable. This seems to be at a very good level that exceeds or matches the limitations of most audio cassettes.

Critically the audio recording input process on the user’s PC is the next big challenge. I would suggest that before making any tape conversions that the user ensures that the recording input settings from the ION device is set to max - i.e. DVD quality.
On a Windows PC, check the Sound Settings > Recording Tab then look at the Device Properties in the Advanced Tab. The highest level there is 2 channels, 16 bit, 48000Hz (full stereo with DVD quality). You will not get the best from the ION at any lower setting.

I had the unfortunate experience of recording well over 100 tapes, that on later listening review, had slightly muddy sound for quite a few and poor stereo separation. I discovered that my recording input was set at 1 channel, 16bit, 22050Hz (mono with AM radio quality). After fixing that little issue I recopied my tapes at the DVD recording level with the vastly improved results that came alive with clear sound and good stereo separation.

Finally, after making sure you’re getting the best from the source material, the choice of recording software and the encoding format - loss-less or lossy - gives the final touch. A tough choice here between the large file sizes from loss-less vs. the space saving but lower quality lossy formats. It comes down to personal choice and storage space realities. You have to try some test recordings and listen to the results for several formats and quality levels. As a general rule try a level or two up from what you find as a good recording - disk space is getting cheaper, your tapes are getting older and you don't have the time to do it over if you find that it could have been better recorded.

I settled on 2 channel mp3 at 320Kbit - this was better than the quality of the source audio cassette and provided a good quality reference to replace my aging cassettes. The originals can go back to storage while the digital files allow them to live on again for hours of listening.
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on March 20, 2017
This is a frustrating product- not altogether terrible, but inconsistent nonetheless. Let's face it, if we're buying and using this product, it means we've got old cassettes that we want to preserve. Old cassettes are generally worn, well-used, temperamental, problematic. Because of that, preservation brings inherent challenges and issues. In one sense, the ION Audio Tape 2 PC is a very economical solution- possibly one of the better or even best options for under $100. That said, here's my experience:

CONS:
1) The supporting software automatically exports everything to iTunes. If you have a Mac, you have no choice about it. If you have a PC, there are some workarounds, but it's complicated. If you love iTunes, great! If you don't, well. . . you get the picture.

2) There are no easy ways to control the resolution and quality of your imports. My first one sounded terrible- distorted, awful, just plain unusable. I was able to partly fix this by adjusting the gain switch on the back of the unit, but the quality was still terrible. I finally found a workaround that got decent results: I went into iTunes, opened preferences, selected import settings, and set it to "Import using Apple Lossless Encoder / Setting: Automatic." The next import worked well, and in checking, the resolution of the resulting file was the standard 44.1khz / 16 bit resolution found in CDs.

3) This is a pretty cheap build. This isn't your TASCAM, AKAI, or SONY stereo deck of the late 70s, 80s, or 90s. Heck, it's not even the venerable groundbreaking ProWalkman. Unfortunately, that translates to inconsistent performance from play to play. I experienced trouble with tapes (especially well-used or older ones ones) tracking at an even speed. In one case, trying to convert a tape from the B deck produced an uneven stereo spread (everything skewed left) and a 60hz hum. I tried the same tape, same song from the A deck and the converter software produced a really nice file. I can only conjecture, but given the looseness of the tape doors, I'm guessing that the tolerances on this machine are wide enough to lead to higher inconsistency.

4) When you plug the unit into an outlet, it produces a pretty strong hum. . . even when the unit is powered off.

5) If you are a musician or audiophile trying to preserve cassettes with high fidelity, you'll probably be frustrated with the results and by the inconsistency. It's probably better to get a decent vintage tape deck and route the sound to through some kind of analog interface to ProTools or something else.

6) The USB port is in the back of the machine, which is less convenient if you'd like to use this unit in your stereo or studio for cassette playback.

PROS:
1) This is cheap.

2) The dubs and conversions that I made when everything was working came out quite well. The quality was better and less harsh than streaming the same tracks from YouTube. EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter does preserve the air and analog feeling of the original cassettes. That said, if you're simply wanting to hear a beloved album, you're probably better off with a commercial download.

3) Usable as a cassette player in your home stereo. It can dub cassette to cassette, if you really want to do that.

4) Though I haven't tried some of the cheaper options of portable converters, I'm guessing from reviews that this model is considerably better.

5) If you're not worried about high fidelity or musical quality and you're just preserving lectures, interviews, etc., this machine can do a good job.

6) For all my complaining, it is really easy to use once you've got it set up.
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on May 5, 2016
I'm more than likely not using this tape deck like most customers. I run a small independent tape label from home and have gone through several used decks in the last year. I decided it was time to buy a new one. My first choice was a TEAC deck which arrived defective. Although the build quality and functionality was good their customer support was horrendous, stay far away from that company! Anyways, I decided to give this deck a shot. I wanted the advertised SmartGuard protection but the suggested coverage isn't compatible with this and their CS is just as bad as TEAC's. On to the deck itself...

Pros:
-Sound quality is good
-It's compact
-Easy to operate

Cons:
-Device 'hums' when plugged in. I unplug the power when it's not in use because I'm scared it'll burst into flames or something.
-No audio monitoring when recording from an external source. If you're recording to a tape with the line-in inputs you can't hear the audio through your amp like most other decks. Tape to tape allows duplication allows audio monitoring, but I dub all my tapes as 'masters'.
-Build quality isn't great. It's mostly plastic. The b-deck door isn't flush when closed, and sometimes tapes get "jammed" and won't allow the door to shut even though they're seated properly.

For the price you really can't beat it. I'd give this 3 stars but the tapes it produces sound great and that's really all that matters to me in the end. Even if I get a good 2 years of use out of this I'll be happy, however I wish they'd sort this warranty stuff with SmartGuard because decks tend to break easily and this one isn't built like a tank!
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on May 7, 2017
Bought this a couple of weeks ago and had some reservations. Though I did check out reviews not only on here but on Ion's Website and some other consumer websites for reviews of this Ion product. But I really wanted to convert my old cassettes to digital files, so I may listen to them wherever and whenever!

The Ion Tape deck came when it was supposed to and no issues with packaging or any other problems.My biggest concern when I order something online that it is not packaged well and it may be broken either in shipping or handling of getting it to me. Rest assured I checked it over quite thoroughly, nothing broken or damaged and very well packaged.

I have an Ion Turntable, so I did not have to install the software, just basically plug the tape deck in an outlet and plug the usb connector into my computer. And I was up and running in a few minutes. A previous reviewer has stated that there is a Gain knob on the back of the unit to adjust while recording. I admit it is in an awkward place, think it should be in the front, but other than that is works flawlessly. One word of caution, try a few sample runs of recording with store bought and homemade tapes to find the perfect balance for recording or transferring as a digital file. I have done about 30 tapes so far and I have found that homemade tapes need to be at a lower gain than the store bought tapes, I believe it has to do with the original recording volume. Usually when we make a homemade tape we usually have the recording volume louder than that of the store bought tapes.

If you are not too keen of using I-Tunes, you do not have to. Just make sure that you have the most up to date version of Audacity(which is free to download from their website). I am not a big I-Tunes fan myself, lol! Audacity makes everything simple once you have some experience with it. And if you are confused by there manual, you can always look for an instructional video on YouTube.

I do have one concern, but a minor and insignificant one, this unit does hum when plugged in(maybe it just be mine). The humming does not affect the conversion to digital files, but it is annoying. I do not keep the tape deck plug in all the time, so I only hear the hum right before I start a new project, and when I am done I unplug the unit, therefore no constant hum. Again, it does not effect the unit or the digitization of tapes, just an annoying observation and one that I can live with.

This does everything I want and I am extremely happy with my purchase of the Ion Dual Tape deck, now all my tapes will be at my finger tips to hear whenever and wherever I would like to listen to them! A good deal for the money and saving all those tapes you may not be able to play anywhere but at home or if your car/truck has a cassette player, which is rare these days!
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on April 17, 2017
The deck itself is a good one. Has high volume when playback which has to be adjusted via software used to record from the USB port. One note: the instruction manual has USB 1.1 compatible. Not sure if the high volume I am getting is because I am going through a USB 3 port. Turns out I missed a small gain knob on the back of the deck. That made the difference. Another note concerning the EZ software they provide, the CD install disc will constantly ask for ITunes to be installed even if it already is. I downloaded the software from ION's website. First impressions. I was not impressed. But, at a later date will tr it again. I used Audacity and I was able to convert fine. I would recommend Audacity as it is free, has lots of good features and downloadable.
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on June 23, 2016
Very poorly written documentation. Noticeable poor audio quality in finished product. I wanted to copy a multi-cassette book and it won't even get through the first tape without stopping mid-way. Simply stopping. I forwarded the tape all the way to the end and then rewound it. It plays fine on other cassette players, but it always stops recording.

This product is unusable and needlessly difficult to use.

What's worse, the GAIN button is on the back of the machine. That's important because you want to use it to avoid distortion.

The very simple software loaded on my Mac and worked fine, but the physical tape player couldn't even play one cassette to completion without simply quitting. That's pathetic. This is going back.
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on April 25, 2017
I had ordered and returned two ION portable cassette transfer units and neither worked reliably. But I had a dozen or more cassettes that I needed to transfer to PC. and took a chance on this more than double the price Tape 2 PC deck. Glad I did. This unit is terrific; it's intuitive to use; it has rock steady tape motion and the sound of the transfers seems flawless. I can't speak for the dubbing feature as I had no reason to make cassette copies.
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on March 6, 2017
This deck had a HUM so loud (even when it was switched off) I could hear it throughout the entire house. Had to be a defect so I returned it. The sound quality from the unit was actually pretty good, so if you get one that doesn't HUM it should be OK. I decided to go with the PYLE PT649D which looks almost identical to the ION unit. It looks like they just changed the front face plate a little and the name. The PYLE doesn't have the USB output but I didn't care about that. I just wanted to play my old tapes and it does a good job of that with absolutely NO HUM. If I ever want to record to digital I can still take the output from my receiver to do that very easily. Although the PYLE doesn't have true Dolby B or C it still sounds pretty good with the old tapes if I leave the noise reduction circuit off, and that also applies to the ION unit.
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on December 27, 2014
Let me start by saying that this product does as described in that it plays cassettes and interfaces with your computer to convert cassette audio to Mp3.
Upon closer inspection I realized that you can achieve the same results for a third of the price if you bought the components individually.
The creative name of cassette "archiver" led me to believe that the deck did something else than just play cassettes. It does not. 100% of the converting is done on your computer. All the product provides is a USB cable that plugs into your computer. NOTHING different than 1000's of other cassette decks.The included driver is for a EZ tape converter software, unless you run Windows 7 or 8. Then it has a link for you to download the software on the website.
I bought this as a Xmas gift for a family member to archive old cassettes of material no longer available.
If I were to do it again I would buy a
cheap cassette player $20-$30 ($10 on craigslist or ebay)
RCA/minijack to USB cable $13 (amazon)
Audacity software FREE

The results will be the same
For the price of this product I would expect a stand alone unit that converts cassette audio to mp3 with a USB flash drive to save files.
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on September 30, 2016
I have an Onkyo receiver TX-SR608. I received this ION Tape just today; installation is piece of cake. As soon I connected the device I play a cassette; and wow!!! sounds was really cool.
The device is not as good if you compare with technics old machine, but common I have to say that I very satisfied with the unit. Black color is cool, leds in the center gives it attitude and the device have some functions that is difficult to found in old stuff. I am pretty satisfied, for the price is a really good device.
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