Cassette to digital problems using Ion Tape Express

I am using Ion Tape Express with Audacity to digitize many cassettes. However when I record there is a really loud buzzing sound on playback and the recording sounds distorted. In Audacity’s preferences, there is no option to choose USB as the device in the drop down menus. I can only see “MME” and “Windows DirectSound” ( my operating system is Windows 7). Can anyone recommend how to set up a recording to eliminate the loud buzz and the distortion, or is it a problem with the Ion Express? Thanks!

Hi Trebor,

Thanks for the reply but I was able to make the operating system fix on my own. I identified the problem as distortion and loud buzzing when using the Ion Tape Express to record my cassettes in a digital format. I am still having this problem, and it isn’t my tapes. They all sound find on my stereo’s cassetted deck. When I listen with headphones to the tape playing in the Ion Express, it sounds distorted. Has anyone else had problems with the Ion, and should I just get an external sound card instead? Thanks.

The distortion may be due to the signal from the device being too high (overload distortion)

Apparently the only control on the ion tape device to reduce the output is the volume control, you could try turning it down.
ION volume control apparently controls USB signal level too.png

I’ve had an almost identical problem but I’m using an older Techniques cassette deck with a Dell Dimension 2400. In addition to what you’ve described my volume controls function up & down but the actual volume stays the same distorted
and unrecognizable. I tried everything including switching the computer jacks fom microphone to USB, supposed stereo.
Just made the distortion louder. Thought a pre-amp made be the solution but it only made it worse. Just about ready to chuck the whole idea of coverting my tape collection to digital. That is unless someone else out there has some input.

A very healthy number of people have been able to get this to work…

That’s a Behringer UCA-202 external USB sound card. It’s very simple and about $30 USD. We even got the Linux machines at work to recognize it. We have two there and I have one here at home. These are sprinkled around the elves on the forum. All work stunningly better than the internal sound cards they replaced – except for the Macs. Macs have a world-class built-in sound card.

The only time we ever had a complaint was a misadjusted cassette deck that overloaded the UCA202. In that case, adapt the Headphone Out to the UCA202, turn down the cassette volume and continue to work.

There is no end to the complaints about “convenient” packaged USB Players. Be clear. Those players are designed to be thrown out, not to work reliably forever. You are expected to get to the last cassette/record and throw the whole lot in the trash bin.

Sometimes you have to throw it out a little too soon.


Can you not connect your existing cassette deck to your computer for recording. I’m betting your original deck is much higher quality than the little ION jobby.

See this tutoriual from the 1.3 manual:,_LPs_or_minidiscs_to_CD


Can anyone help me. I have the Ion Tape Express and its quite a new acquisition. I have hundreds of cassettes that I don’t want to lose so thought this would be ideal.
Anyway, it seems to work fine transferring to iTunes on my PC - albeit very quiet - can I adjust this by the volume on the tape player or by the gain on the EZ transfer thingy - or both??
I want to transfer the music to CD as I’m still a bit of a dinosaur (don’t do MP3 players or such like yet) so the transfer seemed to go OK. CD plays fine through the PC (still very quietly though - have to have speakers up to 100% to really hear it). However, trying it on my Bose CD player is total silence - or just mega static and hiss. The car CD player just comes up with CD ERROR and ejects the CD pronto. Don’t even get static there.
I tried using iTunes transfer on its own and that was the total silence CD - next tried to transfer from iTunes to Windows and then to CD via Media Player. This was the mega static and hiss CD.
The tapes are pre recorded so should be OK despite being 15 - 20 years old. I have a load of my own tapes too - John Peel stuff off the radio from the 1970s/1980s that is just fab so need to keep it.
Any suggestions out there for what I am doing wrong? I think it is me rather than the kit as it seems to be fine - its a very poor workman that blames his tools - at least at the start.

Information can be “burned” into CDs in two patterns : one for any old digital data, a data disk, and another pattern only for audio CDs …

There are two main types of CD that you can create with CD burning software - an “audio CD” and a “data CD”. An audio CD (officially “Compact Disc Digital Audio” or CDDA, or Red Book audio) will play on any standalone CD player, as well as as in your computer and in DVD players. A data CD (sometimes called an MP3 CD where the data it contains are MP3 files) will not normally play on standalone CD players. It will play on computers, most DVD players and in MP3 CD players. So if you want to play your CD on a standalone player, or give it to others and be sure they’ll be able to play it, you’ll need to burn an audio CD.

So only CDs burned in the audio CD pattern can be read by a stand-alone CD player : CDs burned with the “data disk” burn pattern can be read by a computer but not by a typical stand-alone CD player.

Many thanks indeed.
I’ll try this and let you know how things proceed

Hi Trebor
It works - once you said “burn an audio CD” it all clicked into place. I was trying to do it from iTunes which seems to be not the right thing to do to get it onto CD to work in the car or an ordinary CD player. Burning from the computer music library worked first time and in less than 2 minutes. The volume issue is sorted also so Bauhaus are blasting out now big style
I’m in your debt
Best wishes

Hi Barry
How did you get on with digitising your John Peel tapes? If you’re interested the John Peel Wiki and the John Peel Yahoo Group do this all the time and are gradually building up the archive of old shows. You might find tracklistings for the shows you recorded on the wiki but then again you might be the only one to have taped these shows.

All the best


I know this is an old thread, but I happen to have this problem with the ION Tape Express, Audacity 3.4.2 and Windows 11. In my case, I had the exact same symptoms as described in the OP. I fixed it by setting the volume wheel to 50% (count the rotations, divide by half). Then in Windows 11, I opened up the Sound settings from the task tray. There, select the “Microphone USB PnP Audio Device” by clicking on the arrow > to get more options. On the bottom of that screen, disable the Audio Enhancements. Now the volume is correct.