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PlusDeck 2 Review - Cassettes Rewound

Jan 1 2010, 12:00am CST | by , in Reviews | Misc

PlusDeck 2 Review - Cassettes Rewound
 
 

published: 03/14/05 last updated: 03/14/05
Reviewer: Ken Wold

Korean
BTO Co., Ltd. sent us their Cassette Tape Gadget PlusDeck 2. Our new I4U Reviewer Ken Wold finds entertaining advantages of Cassettes compared to Apple iPods below and highlights the uses of a Gadget that uses a 80s medium.

The PlusDeck 2 is on sale at Think Geek for $149.99.
cassette deck plusdeck 2 review

Overview
Ever thought you would be able to play those hundreds of cassette tapes you still own (but won’t tell anyone!) on something other than an old cassette deck you still have (again, don’t let anyone know!)? Well, blow the dust off of them, put them in alphabetical order in your cassette case or rack, and get those legs ready to go you thought wouldn’t work after your youth in the 80s.  Why you ask? Because, like the nano technology, plastic surgery and the fountains of youth everyone seeks for anything “old”; we’ve found it for you in the form of playing and recording those “old” cassette tapes in ways you never thought possible.  Welcome to the world of PlusDeck2 by BTO Co; Ltd of Korea.  Yes, they too, played and held onto their audiocassettes just like you did; hoping for that future reincarnation.  And they wanted that world to enjoy their music again as if it was the first time you popped one into your old cassette deck. 


iPod versus Cassette
Now, you may ask, “why would I want to play those old audiocassettes again when I can listen to my iPod”.  Well, here are some surprises you may have never even thought about comparing the two. 
Here we go: 

  1. Cassette is 2 ½” X 4” (same as iPod)
  2. Cassette is 5/16” thick versus ½” iPod
  3. Try dropping an iPod from equal height onto the sidewalk.  What wins? The cassette, every time.  Cost for the iPod drop? Can you say $100 (ouch!); cost for that cassette (about $1.49). 
  4. So, just how well does the iPod do under water? Well, you never know, the iPod represents mobility and you know you take it to the bathtub sometimes (c’mon, admit it!).  The iPod wasn’t made to be a sponge and certainly isn’t one.  What happens to the cassette? Pull it out of the water, dry it off and pop it into the PlusDeck2 and, voila, you have beautiful music.
  5. Cassettes come with pre-loaded tunes just as iPod AND a protective cover.
  6. Life span for the cassette is 30 years.  iPod is about three years.
  7. iPod available at most electronics stores.  Cassettes still available in your own inventory and at every department store, and truck stop.

So, how is that for a comparison? I know, I know, you still remember the cassette tape breaking, getting tangled in your cassette deck and the frequent skips or hissing.  But, you still bought and kept them didn’t you?

Face it, your cassette tapes have stood the test of time, you love them and would have rid yourself of them if you didn’t.  Just that nostalgia in you isn’t it? You have all that music, your children’s first words, and special occasions and, perhaps, your own karaoke music you recorded from long ago.  Throw them away (never!), have a professional do the honors of preserving that history on up-to-date media (get ready to open your wallet and empty it).  Well, maybe Plus Deck2 is your answer can help you in keeping those memories alive and allow you to enter the 21st century too. 


USAGE
 
Now that we have some of the historical perspective out of the way, let’s take a hard look at this “box” and see if it really is the technological marvel you’ve been waiting for and need.   Ready to experience that old “feel” of popping in a tape while putting your new technological skills to use? Let’s begin!
 

cassette deck plusdeck 2 review

Plus Deck 2 inside PC.


Upon opening, I expected a very cheap unit since we are dealing with “old” cassette tapes.  I should learn to maintain that objectivity, as the case was very nice, the control layout on the deck was simple, intuitive and had a good “feel” to the buttons.  Installation was a breeze, which should make those of you lacking tech skills breathe a sigh of relief.  Place it in an open bay; attach the internal power, the included connection card (for 2.1 or 5.1 channel sound cards) and the 20-pin cable.  The instruction manual was thorough and included visual cues to assist with the install.  You can also access the manual and complete installation instructions online at www.plusdeck.com
Once installed, it was time to see if the included CD-ROM software would equally be as simple.  Before installing the software, I checked their website for any newly released firmware downloads and, indeed, located version 3.25, which fixed a converted speed error when digitizing with Windows 98.  If you load the included software, you must uninstall it before downloading version 3.25.  This, again, went very smooth with no problems noted.  The download took less than 20 seconds and the deck control program opened right up on the screen.  The plus deck control onscreen interface is a very simple program to operate. 
You can either utilize the onscreen control program or the manual buttons included right on the front of the plus deck.  Any problems with the onscreen control program and you can still use the manual controls on the front of the unit to listen/record your favorite music.  To really test the unit, I used cassette tapes we recorded from our wedding (yes, many years ago!). 
These were some of our favorite songs and I wanted to see how the deck handled any skips, hisses and, generally, what the sound quality would be from those tapes.  I tested the unit on both 2.1 and 5.1 THX certified sound cards.  Obviously, the audio quality via 2.1 was not nearly as good as 5.1, but it still “held its own”.  I could not hear any sounds of the cassette tapes running on the deck itself and the tapes were easy to ingress and egress out of the unit with no “clunks” or slamming of the tape we associated with those cassette decks of yore. 

No noticeable hissing, “scratches” or other anomalies were noted while playing the tapes on either 2.1 or 5.1.  The sound was clear, crisp and, of course, adjustments made enabled remarkable sound via 5.1 THX surround.  The controls were laid out well; just as you would have encountered on ye old cassette deck.  Clicking play, pause/stop, fast forward, rewind moved the tapes quickly and flawlessly with no audible “clicking” of the tape in the unit.  Just as your cassette did or does, you can play/record side A, B or A and B (continuous).  Now for the good stuff!

cassette deck plusdeck 2 review

Plus Deck 2 software

Not only can you play those old cassettes (and the one’s you’re still buying…) on your computer and supreme sound system, but also you can record those songs of old onto your PC with one click.  The deck control program allows you to do so with just one on screen press (Tape/File).  You can even time your recording in conjunction with the continuous function. 
You choose what PC file you want to place those coveted songs into and, voila, they are there forever.  Obviously, you have a myriad of choices of software programs on the Internet to do whatever you wish with those songs.  Isn’t technology great! When recording, you also have a choice whether to do so in WAV or MP3 format (8/16/32/64/128/192 or 256kbps). 
Use the Auto cut function to record one file or all files (auto sync).  Don’t forget; you can also use your cassette adapter for your CD or MP3 player to place in this deck to play and record those to your PC.  Hey, now you’re ready to use all of those audio software programs sitting on your hard drive to “accessorize” those songs AND place them right back onto a cassette for your listening pleasure. 
Take those newly transferred songs to your PC and record them onto a CD or download them onto your newfound MP3 player “toy”.  Use your PC to download or record your Karaoke music you’ve made (yes, we know you have…) onto a cassette also.  Any audio you’ve got will work nicely on this unit and provide you with the capability to listen to it via your favorite cassette player in the car, work or, again, at home with this slick unit.  The menu available on the plus deck on screen control program ensures brevity and useful information like the version installed, complete user manual, website, email contacts, sound settings and using shortcuts. 


Conclusion
After wishing for something like this for years, it’s finally here and I believe you will love it just as much as you love those old cassette tapes you don’t want to part with.  With so many capabilities included with this device, you’ll be spending a lot of time just having fun with it, bringing back nostalgia and placing a smile on your face.  What more could you ask for…. Enjoy!


 
How to Buy
The PlusDeck 2 is on sale at Think Geek for $149.99.

 


Specification

  • Full-logic controls
  • Dub voice with mic on Tape.
  • Tape Speed 4.75cm/sec
  • Wow & Flutter 0.09%(WRMS)
  • Frequency Response 30~18,000Hz
  • Separation 40dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio 55dB
  • Fits in open 5.25" drive bay
  • Included recording software requires Win95/98/ME/XP
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
     
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    <a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
    Luigi Lugmayr (Google) is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
    Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com.

     

     

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