TECH REVIEW: Ion Portable USB Turntable & Vinyl Archiver

Get your wax into the digital world.Yes vinyl lovers, the 12” isn’t dead just yet. But the MP3 juggernaut is undeniable—ask iTunes making that cash, and the majors bleeding it while they try to catch up.However, one need not exist with the other and with ION’s iPTUSB turntable in your possession you can take those rare records with you on the go, without the backpain. The iPT is exactly what it says on the box, a portable turntable pluggable into any computer with a USB and in turn also a vinyl archiver that allows you to digitize your music into MP3 form.The actual turntable is functional and gets the job done. Basically built out of plastic it’s not super rugged but its small size makes it portable enough to take on record digging missions (it can run on six (6) D batteries, word to Radio Raheem). Since the turntable can be used for self if a computer isn’t in your budget it features knobs for pitch, tone and “audio” (read: volume). The built in speaker leaves much to be desired but it has headphone inputs and can easily be connected to whatever your current audio set up may be via RCA inputs. Of course, the platter can rotate at 33, 45 and even 78. The hardware is accompanied by a few key software programs, EZ Vinyl Converter for PC users and EZ Audio Converter for Mac users and Audacity for either platform [Ed. Note: these programs were tested on a MacBook after having issues on an iMac]. EZ Converter is geared to the layman and it pretty straightforward. Simply install the software from the included disc, start the program and it walks you through the process.

Here is a vinyl rip of underground NYC group (circa '95) Ten Thieves’ banger “It Don’t Matter.” Haven’t been able to find a MP3 of it though the quality is just ‘okay’.

It Dont Matter - Ten ThievesOnce you have “uploaded” the song, EZ Audio Converter imports the file to your iTunes with the click of an icon. The interface is bare bones so if you're looking to tweak your songs by removing popping sounds, static, etc., then you can use Audacity to do so. It would be the best way to clean up your tunes as you get ready to flip samples, if you have a production jones.As a standalone player we paired linked the turntable with a pair of these Alesis M1Active 320 monitors (left, MSRP $200 but you can cop them for half of that) for a thumping combination. These relatively small but effective speakers plug right into your computer's USB port to help you realize what your MP3 stash is supposed to sound like. At the price (MSRP $130 but you can find it online for about $100, probably less if you're savvy) the ION iPTUSB turntable is a pretty good deal with plenty of bang for your buck.