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The motivation for buying the ION iTTUSB05 was to convert some of my vinyl record collection to MP3 format so that I could listen to them on my iPod and in the car. This I achieved, but more on that later.
The ION iTTUSB05 is solidly build, nice looking and the restraining clip on the stylus arm is a really good, useful feature - nice to see on a turntable. It functions very well as a standard record player using the RCA audio output cable (supplied with the ION) and my HiFi amplifier audio inputs (IMPORTANT - read instructions *before* connecting regarding not putting LINE level into a PHONO input as it may damage the receiver!!!). The raise/lower button functions well with a smooth action and is jolly useful as my hand is not as steady as it was when I first bought the vinyl!
All well and good, but I bought it to get MP3 versions of my records - did it work? The first point to note is that the ION iTTUSB05 cannot do it on its own. It needs the help of a computer, software (provided with the ION) and time. Getting the computer to 'find' the USB input took a little bit of effort but the software I used (Audacity) has good instructions for that. Recording a digital version was easy but took the same time as the record took to play - no ripping in a few minutes like a CD. This might seem obvious, but when you have 100+ LPs, it's something to bear in mind. Add to this splitting the digitised version in to tracks and exporting to your particular chosen format means that I found myself spending 2 hours minimum per LP. I certainly wouldn't volunteer to do it for a friend's collection!!
The quality of the resulting MP3s is excellent and I am very happy to have all my treasured vinyl accessible on my 'modern' devices.
Bottom line - Now it is my only record player and I do not begrudge spending the money to buy it. It was the best available at the time. Would I buy this model now?
No. Instead, I would look for a unit wheich handled the digitisation directly (without needing a computer), for example, directly to USB key. Why? Less hassle and no need to lug the computer into the living room for a week or two while you convert your collection. However, you can pick up an ION iTTUSB05 for less than half the price of one of the newer versions, so it may be worth the extra hassle.
I'm a bit of an odd teenager in some respects since I seem to a bit of a mild obsession for anything that is considered retro and therefore cool. I collect old videogames consoles as a primary hobby, tend to buy more vinyl than I ever do CDs and prefer a good C.S.Lewis novel to the latest Dan Brown blockbuster. However my old vinyl player had a rather big issue - the audio went out via a scart cable so the only way I could listen to the music was via plugging it into a TV. It wasn't bad by any means but it was an inconvenience, especially since I couldn't listen to my vinyl records on the move. So as a Christmas present, my parents bought me this vinyl player from Ion so that I would finally be able to listen to my rare 80s records and club promos.
Firstly I have to say it is a rather chunky device, taking up about a third of a metre of space on the desk with a large glass lid to boot. Getting it out of the box was a challenge in itself! However once safely on my table I installed the CD provided with it and got the provided program ready to rip a vinyl single. I chose 'Over The Sea' by Jesse Rae as my first choice. - An underrated classic.
Immediately I detected one big problem - the program while ripping for some reason overrides any audio options on your PC (or in my case Laptop). The moment the needle hit, the song blasted at full volume out of the laptop with no way to turn it off without stopping the program. And yes I did try the mute options but they do nothing while the vinyl is ripping. This is a massive nuisance since while I do want to listen to the record; I'd prefer listening at a more comfortable volume level.
Having said that, once the record finished and I was able to play the MP3, the laptop returned to normal. The recording quality is actually pretty good as the rip of the song is incredibly clear and high quality with reasonably little audible hiss throughout the track. It was certainly one of the better vinyl rips I've heard in many years! This player can do not just singles but LPs to so there's no excuse not to get one! I ripped an album and the program separated the individual tracks for me which saved me a good half hour of time. You can name the tracks after all of them have been ripped to the PC.
Well in conclusion I have to say that despite it trying to take over every sound system available on the Laptop and being powerless to stop it, it's actually a nifty and reliable machine. The sound quality is reasonably high, the program encodes in MP3 and it separates all the individual tracks on any LPs you decide to transfer to the PC. I am very happy with this device and would happily recommend it to anyone who wants a good quality version of their old records!
This product represents a harmony between old technology and new technology!
Do you have records sitting there gathering dust? Do something about it! You'll notice that vinyls can still give you unbeatable sound quality.
We already had a turntable linked up to the Denon 5.1 amplifier in the living room, but I wanted a turntable for my bedroom. Having spent money on new computer speakers and keeping my music collection mainly on my PC, I wanted access to vinyls through my PC.
I use my Ion TTUSB05 primarily to listen to vinyls (the sound is great!) I do this using software playthrough when I record on Audacity. Then, I can save it if I want a handy digital copy - if I don't want to wear out the vinyl, if I want it accessible in my library or if I want it on my iPod for on the go.
This product has numerous advantages. Mainly if you don't already have a spare turntable. (If you do, you can buy a cable to plug into your line-in. This could save you some money.) A USB turntable saves you from buying a turntable and cables, which could end up costing more.
One of the things I like about this turntable is the price. £60, I feel, is very reasonable. But remember that this is a full-sized turntable, not one of the mini ones you can buy now, so it takes up a lot of space. It's very sturdy, however, and comes with a slip-mat and an auto-return arm. While it is compatible with 78RPM records, you must buy an attachment first, so this could be seen as a rip-off. Personally, I don't have any 78s and my singles play fine.
I'm not keen on the included software and I don't use it. This is not an issue, as you can pick up the excellent freeware audio-editing software Audacity.
The final advantage of the product I'd like to mention is the ease of setting it up. When you plug it in, it is automatically recognised as a microphone under the name USB Audio Codec.
So you just choose the USB Audio Codec option in your recording software the same as any other microphone, then operate it as you would an ordinary turntable.
One word of caution: by default, the USB Audio Codec is set to mono, meaning that stereo vinyls will not play correctly. Make sure you go into the Properties under the Sound settings first and change it to a stereo setting.