Once you've gathered up all your old tapes and you have the TapeLink connected to your Mac or PC, it's time to start turning those tapes into digital files. To accomplish this, Alesis includes three pieces of software to help you capture, edit, and clean up your recordings.
The most basic piece of included software is a PC-only program called EZ Tape Converter (a more limited, Mac-only version of the software is also included). The program includes an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process for recording, labeling, and exporting your songs. It also includes a feature that detects the silences between songs and automatically splits the incoming audio into separate tracks.
If you find EZ Tape Converter too basic, Alesis also includes a recent version of the free Audacity audio editor, which allows you to make detailed crops and fades to your recording, adjust the volume, and export to a range of formats. Using Audacity takes more time than using the EZ Tape Converter software, but it affords much more control.
Finally, if you can't stand the sound of the hiss and pops of your old cassettes, a basic version of BIAS SoundSoap software is included that can work miracles on old recordings. Unfortunately, it's a standalone application, so it doesn't integrate with either of the other included programs and requires a time-consuming extra step.
The Alesis TapeLink USB works as advertised, but you'd do just as well investing in a modest sound card, downloading a program like Roxio RecordNow Music Lab (PC) or CD Spin Doctor (Mac), and connecting up a thrift-store cassette deck. In fact, an old cassette deck may save you more time, considering that the TapeLink lacks important conveniences, such as autoreverse.
That said, if you're looking for a one-stop solution for digitizing those old cassettes, and you've no patience for managing audio cards and vintage tape decks, the Alesis TapeLink USB will get the job done.