Tape2PC: Reprise

I’ve been wanting to digitise my old tape collection for several years.

I had the hardware, in 2002 I got some software.

Lacking was a tape deck. Any semi-decent old tape deck would’ve done the job — providing it had line-out jacks. In 2003 a colleague was flogging his old HiFi, all I needed was the tape deck, and so I ended up with a Sharp RT-100 — a plain and simple unit that finally got to do its intended job five years later!

And people still have tapes. Plenty of them. Yes, I have also been given some more. And for every one of those tapes there must be a million idling away in someone’s drawer somewhere. And one day, those people will want to listen to them again and/or drag their contents into the 21st century. And for those people there are new products which allow you to…

Rediscover your tapes! Digitize your cassettes with TapeLink USB. This dual-cassette deck enables your to store your irreplaceable recordings on hard disk, flash, burn them to CD, or take them with you on your iPod.

Its CD-quality 16-bit, 44.1 kHz audio output accurately captures your tape recordings for secure digital archival.

Amazing sales pitch, innit?

Using just the right keywords, two companies are vying for your dollars by hoping to sell you a stock-standard double-cassette deck with the most basic of features and functions. But there’s a twist: it has a USB port.

The reviews I’ve seen on CNET and elsewhere describe the unit(s) as nothing short of mundane and ordinary, with seemingly buggy software (the free, included Audacity aside) but apparently there are some folks who honestly do rave on about this never-before-imagined concept of being able to actually convert your old tapes to CDs or the ability to transfer them to your iPod! Wow!

Whoopee, imagine that! And all this for a meagre 300 bucks! (List price $299.00, online anything between €99.95 and £179.99)

Someone’s still churning out suckers at the rate of one a minute.

Here are the two products in question:

Made in China

The Alesis TapeLink USB “Tape to Computer Archiver”, and –

The Ion con

– the Ion Audio Tape2PC USB “Cassette Archiver”.

For a while, I was genuinely interested in one of those devices (you know, more tapes coming, assorted analogue audio shenanigans and other experiments), so I looked up local distributor Conrad and pitted the two units that fit the description side by side:

Available at Conrad

Eventually I gave up playing “spot the difference” (price and colour aside) and called their sales support. Unfortunately the techie couldn’t tell me squat about the specs or the nuts and bolts of the units and suggested I should just order the cheaper one. He’d probably never seen the devices before.

Nevermind. He tried. How was he to know that both brands are owned by Numark?

Rats! I’ve still got it in for a nice Nakamichi deck, though.

Image credits: Product photos via manufacturers, screen capture adapted by hmvh DOT net

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