The sun has set on the cassette format and countless tapes now languish in the twilight of dusty storage boxes. The Plusdeck2c is your chance to rediscover your old music and let it bask in the bright rays of the digital age.
The manufacturer claims that this is the world's only tape converter and we reckon that it's spotted a gap in the market. Today's callow youths might have ditched their cassettes long ago in favour of CDs, but the older, less-reckless PC user might have more than a few knocking about at home. It's this group of people that the Plusdeck2c is aimed at.
Installation of the device proved straightforward. Beforehand, check that your PC has a spare 5.25-inch bay and a free expansion card slot. The device is 22cm long and so you'll need to ensure that a) your case can accommodate it, and b) no cables are going to get in its way. A 20-pin cable links the Plusdeck2c to a basic connection card, and once you plug in the serial cable and line-in to your sound card, you're up and running.
After you've gotten over the novelty of inserting a cassette, hitting Play and hearing music through your PC's speakers, it's time to get converting. The software gives you the choice of transforming your music into either wav or MP3 files - the latter in a range of compression options.
You can direct the program to convert an entire side of a cassette into one file, or make it split tracks into separate files. This worked well when there was a definite break between songs; less so when tracks ran into one another.
We liked the simplicity of the Plusdeck2c. However, it's a lot to pay when you could achieve the same result - albeit less elegantly - by hooking up a standard cassette player to your PC and then using the free Audacity application to capture your music. Yet as a one-stop means of digitising your old tapes, the Plusdeck pushes all the right buttons.