I had a good look at the USB cassette decks in Maplins recently:

The case is cheaply made, thin plastic, the door hinges look weak, there 
is inadequate provision for cleaning and I could see no access for 
adjusting the heads. This is a cheap unit. You get what you pay for.

I did buy an internal “plusdeck2c” Cassette-to-MP3 converter:

The unit fits into one of the front slots on your pc. I found the unit 
easy to use and solid. It seems to be based on the basic design of a car 
dashboard cassette player. As with the USB option cleaning wasn't easy - 
I had to use a head cleaning cassette, which I wasn't happy about.

I ran the device for a month, using it every day to digitise a batch of 
cassettes I was working with. At the end of that period I found that a 
small percentage of recordings had short but very noticeable glitches. 
Short periods of audio were missing and there were occasional loud 
clicks and crunches.

In fairness I think this was a problem of the software supplied, rather 
than the unit itself. I made a number of captures, bypassing the 
plusdeck software, using Adobe Audition and didn't notice any problems.

In addition I found the deck temperamental, with a tendency not to eject 
the cassette without the aid of a handy pencil or screwdriver.

In all I found the experience very negative and had to ditch a months 
work. I guess I should sell the device, but I'd feel bad about passing 
on this piece of crap to anyone else.

Trey Bunn wrote:
> I've seen some USB cassette decks before, but I wondered about the
> quality of them.  Mainly this is because the first place I saw one was
> in a clothing store in a mall, so I thought, "Oh great, another crappy
> modern consumer model that probably sounds terrible."  Does anyone
> know if these are actually good decks, or are they as bad as I think
> they might be?  Any cassette players (consumer models I mean) that
> I've bought since the turn of the millenium have been hissy and
> horrible compared to the older stuff I used to have growing up.  These
> USB models may be aimed at Joe Shmoe wanting to copy his friend's
> cassettes or whatever, but I wonder if they even approach archival
> quality.
> Does anyone have experience working with this newer equipment?
> ---------
> Trey Bunn
> Audiovisual Conservator
> Emory University Libraries
> Preservation Office
> Atlanta, GA
> 404-727-4894

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