TopTenREVIEWS - Gold Award - Awarded for excellence in design, usability and feature set

The elite product in this category makes quick work of converting your old tapes into MP3 format. Plus it has a reliable track record of handling tapes carefully. You don't want to trust your treasured cassettes to just any old converter, especially if you have experience with tape-eating machines. With the ION TAPE EXPRESS you can be confident you're getting a quality, trustworthy cassette to MP3 converter. We gave this product the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award because not only does it act as a converter but you can also use it as a portable tape deck in a pinch. And not only is this great for commercial cassettes but for homemade cassettes as well.

Ion Audio specializes in creating quality audio equipment and other home entertainment electronics. This includes everything from cassette converters and LP converters to computer DJ equipment. They create full solution packages so you don't have to purchase anything else before you can use the equipment. Not only are the products high quality, but they offer stellar customer support as well.

Conversion Quality
Compare
10/10
TAPE EXPRESS PLUS
Roxio Easy LP to MP3
Cassette to CD and MP3
TAPE 2 PC
TapeLink USB
PL5CSUB
ADS Tech RDX-150 Instant Music
U-Phono UFO202
plusdeck2c
10
10
10
10
10
8.8
8.8
10
8.8

As with all cassette converters, the secret to having a good quality MP3 is starting with a cassette that is still in good condition. The ION TAPE EXPRESS played evenly and didn't add any unwanted noise as we converted an old tape. So long as the cassette we used sounded good on its own, we didn't have any trouble getting a quality MP3. There are some tools within the software that help improve the sound quality as well. It helps to have some knowledge of sound mixing, but it isn't too difficult to figure out if you want to spend an extra few minutes with the application.

Ease of Use
Compare
10/10
TAPE EXPRESS PLUS
Roxio Easy LP to MP3
Cassette to CD and MP3
TAPE 2 PC
TapeLink USB
PL5CSUB
ADS Tech RDX-150 Instant Music
U-Phono UFO202
plusdeck2c
10
9.5
10
8.8
8.8
7.5
7.5
6.3
5

This cassette to MP3 converter is number one for a lot of reasons, but one we feel its ease of use is among the chief reasons. The unit is a tape deck that comes with a USB adapter to hook up to a computer. Once you plug everything in and install the software you just have to start the tape and away it goes. We could let it run without supervision since it would just stop at the end and hold the files until we could get back to them.

Included with the cassette to MP3 converter is the software EZ Converter. We were pleased to see that not only is this application suitable for Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP systems but also Mac OSX Snow Leopard. The software is key to making excellent MP3s, and having so many options available increases its usability. In order for this software to work you have to have iTunes installed. This can be considered troublesome if you prefer to use another media manager. However, importing files into iTunes is exceptionally easy because of the link between the two applications. If you want to use another application you can always transfer the files in after they are converted. It isn't difficult, but it does add a step to the process.

The software itself is fairly straightforward. You can watch the process of the conversion and when the tape finishes, you name and save the file. There aren't many options for tweaking the audio files once they have been converted from cassette to MP3, but there are a few useful editing features. You can adjust the volume to match the digital files so you don't have to crank the stereo up whenever a converted song starts playing. While we would have liked to see a few more post-production options, the setup of the program makes it suitable for a variety of abilities. And you can always modify audio files in other programs once they are converted.

Features
Compare
9.5/10
TAPE EXPRESS PLUS
Roxio Easy LP to MP3
Cassette to CD and MP3
TAPE 2 PC
TapeLink USB
PL5CSUB
ADS Tech RDX-150 Instant Music
U-Phono UFO202
plusdeck2c
9.5
10
10
9.5
7.5
8.8
10
8.8
5

The one feature lacking on the ION TAPE EXPRESS is that although it handles standard tapes without a problem, it cannot convert mini cassettes. This cassette to MP3 converter comes with all of the tools needed to get started right away. It is a tape deck and comes with the necessary USB cable. While it would have been nice to have a wall charger as well, since this is marketed as a portable tape deck, the fact that it required batteries did not bother us. The cassette to MP3 converter's battery charges when it is hooked up to a computer with the USB cable.

There are few tape decks manufactured now that MP3 players are available. This cassette to MP3 converter also offers you the ability to continue listening to your cassettes through the tape deck. You can listen to the tapes over the built-in speakers or use the AUX port to hook up headphones or speakers. It can handle both Chrome and normal cassette tapes. We were pleased that this cassette to MP3 converter isn't just geared for commercial cassettes but can handle homemade recordings as well. All of the fun you had recording your own radio show or making audio letters to send to loved ones can be preserved and transferred more easily than before.

Help & Support
Compare
10/10
TAPE EXPRESS PLUS
Roxio Easy LP to MP3
Cassette to CD and MP3
TAPE 2 PC
TapeLink USB
PL5CSUB
ADS Tech RDX-150 Instant Music
U-Phono UFO202
plusdeck2c
10
8.8
7
10
10
7.5
5
5
7.5

The help and support offered by Ion for this cassette to MP3 converter is top-notch. Though the FAQs are a little sparse, we were pleased to see documentation available on the website. This information is for troubleshooting and is a great place to start if you happen to have some trouble. We were also pleased that not only was there a way to contract through email, but by phone as well. Many companies don't offer any avenues for getting immediate support.

The documentation provided by Ion Audio is geared for more troubleshooting than for instructions on how to use the actual program once it is loaded and you want to convert the files. The steps on loading the software were especially useful. They have instructions for both Mac and Windows machines.

TAPE EXPRESS PLUS Summary:
9.9/10

Now you no longer have to worry about your cassettes. Dust them off and use the ION TAPE EXPRESS to convert them into a format you can actually use. If you even need too, you can use this cassette to MP3 converter as a straight tape deck to play your cassettes. This cassette to MP3 converter is top of the line and you won't be disappointed in the results or the easy-to-use format. While this converter doesn't have as many features in the included software, you will get high quality to begin with so it isn't as necessary.

 
 
 

TAPE EXPRESS PLUS

Pros
This product is easy to use and has a lot of help and support options available.

Cons
This product can only convert standard cassettes and not mini tapes.

The Verdict
: 9.9/10

This converter is our top pick because it's easy to use and loaded with features.