If you've got a sizeable music collection in the loft made up of LPs and cassettes, the chances are there are some gems there that you'd like to preserve for posterity in a more modern digital format such as MP3 or audio CD.
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The Honestech Audio Recorder 3.0 Plus is a combined hardware and software solution that aims to help with the minimum amount of fuss and expense.
Two years ago Honestech brought out its Audio Recorder 2.0 software to address this need, using an external 'Muzbox' to channel your sources through. Now its successor, Audio Recorder 3.0 Plus rejects the add-on in favour of a complete USB cassette player to make converting those tapes much more attractive.
However, the cassette player looks and feels cheap and somewhat less-than-cheerful. It’s a Walkman-sized portable cassette player with a fold-over plastic cover that is awkward to click in place and release.
Its controls are clunky and uncomfortable, and it has a thoughtlessly positioned volume control next to the USB port that acts as digital output to connect to a PC.
You can also record other external audio playback devices, such as a record player, for which a useful RCA phono to 3.5mm cable is included to plug directly into your PC.
Honestech Audio Recorder 3.0 Plus: Operation
If you've seen the previous edition of Audio Recorder software, you'll notice that the software is virtually identical. As before, there's an Easy Wizard mode that pictorially walks you through choosing your device, adjusting the volume, using noise reduction; then either storing the results or recording to a CD in MP3 format.
The alternative so-called 'Advanced' mode is in fact equally simple to navigate with the main differences being that all recordings are as uncompressed WAV files which can be later onverted to MP3 if you wish.
In addition, you can add some basic 'effects' (that is, vary or normalise the volume and insert fades) and split the tracks.
The recorded audio formats are either 44100Hz 16-bit mono/stereo or 48000Hz 16-bit mono/stereo, with MP3 bitrates ranging from 64 to 224 kbps.
Essentially the sound quality is what you'd expect from a £40 conversion kit – adequate without raising eyebrows. If you do want to make the most of the available sound quality, be sure to keep the audio in WAV format, or convert to lossless such as FLAC or ALAC.
The noise reduction worked best in clearing up noise from the mid-range. There’s little else to tweak, nor to get creative with if you did so desire.