After Hours

A first look at the Ion iTTUSB turntable

By Mark Kaelin

Converting vinyl to MP3

A long, long time ago, in an era before MP3s, CD-ROMs, and RIAA lawsuits, vinyl was the medium of choice for music lovers around the world. If you are old enough to remember those days you are also probably the proud-owner of a few vinyl records that you wish you could convert to a modern digital format for your iPod or other digital device. Well, your wish has been granted with the iTTUSB turntable from Ion. Using an USB connection and some open-source software this gadget will convert and record your vinyl treasures into MP3s that you can use on modern music devices. In this photo gallery we take a first look at the Ion iTTUSB turntable.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

141 comments
lutefisk12
lutefisk12

I'm having trouble adjusting the tone arm - i get a lot of static. Yes, the record is clean.

ajriemer
ajriemer

It would have been relatively simple to add a 78 RPM motor control. I've always had a fascination with the really old platters in 78. Now THAT would have made me put this item on my Christmas list! Perhaps they will with their next release (PLEASE, PLEASE READ THIS, OH MAKERS OF ION!).

nnttneil
nnttneil

i bought it recently but have had trouble with the weight and counter weight and also no sound out of my speakers

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

I think there is a lot of information already available, but just in case anyone wants to read some more (and there is plenty here!) take a look at http://www.delback.co.uk/

michael.wolfstone
michael.wolfstone

I bought one about the first of this year. For us old-timers with hundreds of LPs, it is great, but time consuming. If you have some golden oldies, this is the easiest way to go short of tracking down the corresponding CD.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

Take a look at http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/mp3/90a0/?cpg=17350 - also an ION, looks a little less "21st century" but has a dust cover. For some reason these people don't seem to want to ship it outside of the US, strange when you think it was made in Malaysia and they do have international shipping arrangements. There must be other on-line suppliers though.

dan.stalker
dan.stalker

If you want to digitize old vinyl or tapes, get Cakewalk Pyro. You can digitize them, clean them up, and record it in whatever format you please. And much cleaner and easier than you are likely to get trying to tweak shareware.

sig.dellhime
sig.dellhime

Where's the dust cover? For any true lover of LPs, a dust cover is an essential item to protect the records. There are other USB turntables on the market that are a bit more feature rich than this one.

clarkf1
clarkf1

I have had one since they first came out and have converted much of my vinyl to MP3's. It is very easy to use but editing the tracks(i.e. removing clicks pops, etc...) can be very time consuming. Worth the effort especially if it's a song thats not available on CD or a music download site.

27shan
27shan

Could I know whether this product is available in India and what is its price? shan27@vsnl.net

dogknees
dogknees

Why would I want to convert my LPs to MP3s and lose significant fidelity? Regardless of what the masses say, MP3 is a lousy (and lossy) format. You lose so much fidelity. The stereo image is fuzzy, the high end is unpleasantly strident, instruments that should be different sound the same,..... Before you start on about codecs,.... Listen to a clean LP, and CD, and an MP3 on a high end system(ie $10K and upwards), and you'll hear what I'm talking about. This is why I gave up ripping my CDs, and never even stared doing my LPs. The additional convenience is far outwayed by the loss of quality and enjoyment of the music. Like many things in life, people talk about trade offs. That's fine, but there are things we shouldn't accept. No amount of convenience is worth losing any amount of fidelity. A friend put it into perspective some time back when CDs first appeared and we are discussing this trade off. If the best turntable available would only operate once a month, would you still buy it. Answer: No, I'd buy 31 so I could listen all month.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Working with very high end audio, I can only see this as a chep consumer gimmick with no real value to people with ears. Sorry....but that's just the way it is. I think this would suit someone who can't tell the difference between an MP3 and an uncompressed recording, why take original analogue music, compress it and remove all the dynamics and sonic detail, with a stylus worth $20? Turntables: PLatter: for best audio playback with the least possible resonance, you need a very heavy platter. This uses a wafer thin platter with no mass to offer accurate speed. Good turntables can have platters (JUST the platter) which weigh over 75lbs. As spasse commented, direct drive? nope. As for the drive, to get the ultimate results you would want a vaccuum driven platter, neiter belt or direct drive, however as these are extremely expensive most stick with a true direct drive. One problem with direct drive in cheap turntables is motor hum, which on good speakers/headphones can be heard quite clearly, especially from plastic. Who makes audio equipment from plastic, especially something like a turntable? Yeah, there are a lot of plastic stereos out there, Best Buy, WalMArt and others are full of them, but these are not to be considered decent or even fair audio products. As for it being a first look, they also have the 805 and 810 which just came out, at least you can get a dust cover then. I dunno, I guess in short it's a fun toy for people who can't pull a track from a real turntable and convert it to a high bit rate MP3 or flac file. But it's really just a toy, not a piece of audio equipment or a long needed solution to something, I've been recording and converting albumms for years (never into MP3 though, gasp!!!!. Your better off either buying a decent turntable to listen to at home or recording without compression and sacrificing the number of songs on a CD for the quality of songs. (why not????) As for the needle/cartridge, I can't even imagine what a cheap piece of crud it must be, a good one costs more than the total price of the unit and this unit includes a software licence which must equate to more than half the cost anyway. No thanks.

jc@dshs
jc@dshs

Very interesting discussion... ...but isn't converting audio from one format (vinyl) to another (cd) in breach of copyright? Yes, i know, we all do it - just like in the old days with cassette tapes for in the car. It still staggers me to think record companies can take legal action against me for wanting to preserve my investment in my record collection - records i bought and paid for legally.

nickrusso
nickrusso

Check the DAK Free Tutorial at http://www.dak.com/reviews/Tutorial_LP.cfm. It explains most of the concepts and problems you will come across in a simple manner. He has a complete solution as well as "a la carte" selections for just what you need. The tutorial teaches you the ins and outs so you don't have to buy anything if you don't want. And make sure you pick up Audacity somewhere anyway. This guy sounds like a nut case, but I used to buy tons of audio equipment from him *cheap* and was always amazed at the price/quality.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler moderator

the old dredge up a zombie by asking a question without asking dodge.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

Remember the 78 rpm record's grooves were much bigger (originally designed for a steel needle running under about a pound of pressure!) which requires a different stylus. One turntable I recall from my youth had a reversible needle - the tiny arm that the actual sapphire or diamond is glued to could be flipped over with a lever, to point either the 78 needle or the vinyl needle downwards. Probably very poor quality! I haven't seen anything like it since, but that is probably because backward support for 78s got phased out in the 80s. I do know from kiddie experiments in those days that the sound quality from playing 78s with a needle intended for vinyl was unsatisfactory, to say the least. Anyhow I'm not sure how a manufacturer would make a 78 stylus available on a turntable nowadays - probably supply two separate cartridges that you would have to swap out. Very limited market, I'd say.

yobtaf
yobtaf

Couldn't you record at a different speed, lets say 45 rpm and then convert to 78 rpm. I'm pretty sure I have a small Mac program that do it.

johnmckay
johnmckay

Might be worth passing on specific workarounds for others that might be having troubles too. Speaker wise; sounds like a problem with your PC config otherwise there'd be nought to convert either. My guess is these gadgets perform a function and then they're redundant to you (the owner), and can be passed on. I'd be looking to convert what I desired asap then simply sell it on ebay or similar. It has to work out a quick, cheap and reasonably painless experience in the long run. Hasn't it?????

Andy.Wheeler
Andy.Wheeler

This turntable seems like a niche market item. It is only useful if (a) you don't already have a turntable, (b) you feel MP3 + cheap turntable quality is adequate, (c) you can place your computer and turntable next to each other, and (d) you don't need to transfer any other analogue sources to digital. I've no idea how big that market is. If you don't fall into this category and already have a decent Hi-Fi, I have another suggestion. Since looking into this area recently I have decided to purchase a standalone digital recorder. There are several available, but two which caught my attention are (i) the Boss micro BR, and (ii) the Zoom H2. Both are pocket sized, record onto SD card media, battery powered, and connect via USB to a PC / Mac. Both are not much more to buy than the turntable. If convenience is important, both can record in MP3 and you don't need your PC to be near your Hi-Fi. If quality is important, both can record in raw CD format (the H2 can do better than CD!). They also do more. The micro BR also works as a four track mixing desk. The H2 has built in stereo microphones which can also mix to Dolby multichannel. The H2 is not yet available, but I think it is the one I'm going for. Andy

jonxdoe
jonxdoe

Regardless of the quality of digital vs. analog recordings; this thing costs less than a decent cartridge for a turntable. Any serious audiophile would NOT play their vinyl on this thing. This is a "gadget" for the low end music world. Most serious collectors have thousands of dollars in vinyl and hopefully would not buy this thing.

johnmckay
johnmckay

So.. As an old school audiophile you'll no doubt soundcheck all your gear in a demo room with your own music but feel you can criticise something you've clearly no experience of. That's not fair and nobody mentioned replacing their record deck, or suggested it was sonically equivalent. This guy may just want the convenience of listening to his music on an ipod, mp3 mmc card in his car, some other mobile device but you don't even grant him that choice? Instead he's characterised as a deaf idiot. Who want's to spend $100 on a stylus, worry that there platter isn't 100% level (this affects the linear speed), ask everyone to sit down and not risk sending vibrations through the deck, then find they need to turn the record before they've had time to get a beer and sit down? Who wants to turn a record every 15 minutes these days? Certainly not me, thats why I have CDs, SACD, and DVDA, and my records sit forlonly in a cupboard. I'm sure it does a good job within the parameters it sets out. Not as a high end reference deck but something that lets you enjoy the music wherever you want it! Is that so wrong????

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

This is the kind of response I was expecting all along - where you been Oz? :) The direct drive is a gaff on my part - an artifact from childhood - we'll skip past that. Sound quality and audiophile. All I can say is every ear is different. I can hear the difference between a $2000 turntable and $120 turntable too. The question is how important that difference really is to the individual listening to the music. The quality of the sound produced by this system is actually pretty darn good. Sure if you are fanatical about your vinyl, this is not going to cut the mustard, but if your goal is to convert some favorite vinyl recordings into a portable digital format, this is an excellent solution. Is it the very best -- no. Is it convenient -- yes. Will it be good enough for those of you that can hear Mick Jagger's necklace in Sympathy for the Devil -- no. But some of us have learned to accept our limitations and just want to make some MP3s.

jdclyde
jdclyde

The quality of much of what passes for muzak these days is so sad, there isn't the detail to lose in compression. Find a pretty face, turn up the reverb, and add in a cheap drum machine and you have a hit... :( How it saddens me....

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I have been thinking incorrectly all these years. That's what I get for listening to my brother describe is cool new turntable 30 years ago.

meryllogue
meryllogue

I was going to mention that but got lost in the rest of the discussion on the mic jack of laptops. But I figured that if the pronunciation of "cellulite" could change to "celluleet" and nobody cared, why couldn't the definition of belt drive change?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

When you buy an LP, you buy just that, a vinyl disc with a cover, end of story. You don't actually buy the music on it, lyrics printed on the sleeve (ahhh, the good old days of sleeves)and the graphics on the cover. You simply pay the costs associated with the recording and are allowed to hear the music it contains.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that when you copy a DVD or other encrypted content you are technically in violation of the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. That law says that you cannot circumvent the copyright encryption of that content for any reason. Because vinyl records are not encrypted they do not fall under that law. The legal principle that most likely applies is a court decision (the name of which escapes me) that ruled users have a right to make personal copies of content they legally purchased as long as it is for personal use. Therefore, you can make cassette recordings or MP3s of your vinyl records for your personal use.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

DAK sent me a turntable / pre-amp unit for me to review and compare to the Ion unit. We'll see how it stacks up.

shraven
shraven

I'm an old DAKonian as well. Most of the stuff he peddled to me is still in fine working order, and the prices were excellent. His style is very simple; written for 50 year old men who haven't figured out how to set the time on their VCR yet, let alone even realized it's time to upgrade from the VCR to something a bit more modern. As such his product descritions are overbearing in detail but generally good guiedes for the uninitiated. Perfect for this forum.

hkwilkes
hkwilkes

I've had the same results, good, even great stuff at a good price. Still have a Bondwell 286 that works great.

meryllogue
meryllogue

Hey! This is the site I found a while back. He describes how the mic jack on a laptop is mono. So what's the deal? Old Mycroft... can you reconcile these? Or is DAK full of it? From what the DAK-site poster says, I would have to assume not. (Although the DAK site DOES sound a little like a crack-pot site!) :-) I am encouraged by NickRusso's endorsement. Nick, can you say more about your experience with DAK?

Andy.Wheeler
Andy.Wheeler

H2 duly bought and trialled. Not only does it record LPs in high quality, but I can do the same from tapes and off air FM broadcasts, and anything else that will go through my amp. Plus live using the microphones - very good. Output in various MP3 formats for listening from PC or MP3 player. Output in .wav format for burning CDs. Fantastic! Andy

john.e.pratt
john.e.pratt

I agree it is a niche market. I have been converting albums to Digital for several years and have well over a thousand albums under my belt. I use a high end turntable and cartridge connected to a preamp that is connected to the line in jack on sound card in my desktop. I use one piece of software to rip the music into wave, clean it up and split it into tracks. To get the good quality I playback at normal speed. I use a second program to convert it into MP3's and a final peice of software to attach the meta data to the digitial files in my collection. I take the WAV files and write them to DVD's to permanently archive my vinyl collection. For me, someone who enjoys this process and is very comfortable with it the USB turntable probably is not the right solution. For someone who really doesn't want to spend the time and just wants the MP3's for an ipod I am sure the usb turntable would be a good solution. One of the bueaties of technology today is I can have one soution, you can have another and both can be cost effective and meet our needs. Can you imaging what it woudl be like if there was only one way to convert Vinyl to Digital? What a bummer that would be. This Posting just shows how much diversity there is out there.

shraven
shraven

Hey you're right on in your market assessment. But evidently, people will buy anything. Exhibit 1: The PlusDeck2c http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/drives/7a8d/ Your solutions are unconventional, but far superior. However, if you're going to go the pro-audio route, there are many many options. The H2 is nice in that it can record 24/96 audio which is VASTLY superior for when you apply further processing to remove click/pops, etc. To put this in terms most people understand, it's like comparing a cell-phone camera picture to a D-SLR picture when you want to apply a little red-eye reduction and cropping: far more input detail results in far more detail to process resulting in a far better final output regardless of what ultimate format you output to.

drbayer
drbayer

Yes this turntable is for a niche market. These days, anyone who owns an LP is part of a niche market - most people that I know who are old enough for first run LPs have disposed of them and/or their turntables. For me, this type of product is a great find - I've been trying to convince myself to pay for one for a while, and here's why. Like a previous poster mentioned, I could either stand in front of my audio setup for hours on end digitizing my LP collection, or I could get an item like this to set up in my office next to my computer. Setting it up next to my computer would certainly make my wife happier. If I want the setup in my office, then I either purchase something along these lines, or some different piece of audio hardware to act as preamp for my existing turntable since removing that from my audio system leaves my audio setup functionally useless. There is a valid use for these as well, and not necessarily as a replacement for LPs. I see it as a good way to backup a medium that is known to deteriorate with use (or small children) as well as a way to be able to listen to that same music in the location where I most frequently want to - my car. I have a small number of LPs that have been out of print for decades, and creating copies of those is worthwhile in my eyes (ears?). A USB turntable would not be my first choice for this kind of task. I have seen advertised USB preamps designed to take any audio source as input. I prefer the flexibility to choose alternative input sources other than just the turntable - perhaps a cassette deck, reel-to-reel, or any other source. I agree that audio quality may suffer, but it certainly doesn't suffer any more than not being able to listen at all.

ajn465
ajn465

There's nothing wrong with enjoying music any way you want. The thing audiophiles (the music loving, big hearted kind) try to share is the possibility of a deeper emotional experience afforded by equipment designed to truthfully get those wiggles into your ears. Turntables are acoustical instruments. They are inherently resonant. A better designed table (arm, and cartridge) are going to be designed to minimise those resonances. I've long felt that one of the main reasons the CD succeded as handily as it did was due to the proliferaton of ultra-resonant, plastic, feedback-prone, tables we accepted as 'good' in the '70s. With p-mount plug-in cartridges guaranteed to mistrack forever, they even made cassettes sound pretty good in comparison. The ante to get into a table that doesn't suck is about $300 (search out tables from Sumiko and Music Hall). Helen Keller could hear the improvement over one of the plasti-tables. Analog is hard. You have to clean your records and your stylus, you have to store your records carefully (same goes for magnetic tape). Tuff darts. It also can take you deeper into the music if you are willing to expend the effort. It's more complex even than the appreciation of fine food, wine, or cars. And the ritual involved in preparing a record to play can be part of the deeper experience. Music is the highest and most mysterious form of artistic expression there is. Look for the writings of Harvey 'Dr.Gizmo' Rosenberg who wrote extensively on this topic right up to his passing just a few years ago. The finest musicians are capable of creating sounds and conveying nuances of emotional variety which are bleached by all but the highest rez digital and all but obliterated by compressed digital media of all kinds. Go see an orchestra, stand in front of a master musician. Stop for a minute and smell the roses. Treat music like you would the Mona Lisa, not Dogs Playing Poker. You may discover something. sorry I feel so strongly. I'm a professional trumpet player, teacher, audiophile and recordist. I Desperately would love to see the appreciatiuon of good music of all kinds flourish again as it did in the middle of the 20th century. Mp3s and MTV are working very hard to reduce all music to mere product. Or acoustic wallpaper no more important than muzak. It makes me sad.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

One other comment first: a previous responder said, and I have to agree, "Find a pretty face, turn up the reverb, and add in a cheap drum machine and you have a hit... How it saddens me.... " - sure, but that's what our parents said about the Stones, Eagles, Floyd... :-) To Mark K: "I can hear the difference between a $2000 turntable and $120 turntable too" - yes I probably could, in ideal surroundings, solid concrete floor, etc etc. But is the $2k job more than 15 times better than the cheapie? I doubt it! Could I tell the difference between a $20,000 turntable & the $2,000 one? Not a chance. Are there people who can? I guess, or there wouldn't be a market for them - but I'm betting not even those people could be coerced into saying that the really pricey deck is 10x better than the one I'd already call "too good". And these are the people I'd label audio snobs - those who are listening to the audio system, not the music. There's a law of diminishing returns, and there comes a point where anyone who still has a bit of sanity (and cash!) has to cry "enough already!" Anyway to my mind - or ears - vinyl always has sounded "thinner" or tinny compared to CDs. Maybe I've only compared poor quality turntables, or records (it feels weird to be able to say "record" and mean it, doesn't it?) so I never really mourned the loss of LPs. I would have liked to be able to resurrect the 78s, though, for my mother's sake, but those are now lost forever...

shraven
shraven

Nope. That's modern RIAA mumbo jumbo. Back then, you bought your copy of the music and you owned it. Copyright prevented you from selling copies, but you could copy it for yourself to your hearts content. Furthermore (because I know you're going to disagree with me) you could SELL your copy. Thus there were a plethora of used LP and CD stores. The RIAA actually took this to court to try and prevent this and the court to them to F-off. Therefore, you actually own the music in those older formats. The RIAA learned from this and as a consequence, these modern downloads are just licenses to listen, as you propose. You cannot sell your download if you no longer want it.

drbayer
drbayer

It is my understanding that in the US, one is legally allowed to make a backup of unencrypted audio media (and possibly video like VHS - I'm not sure). The way it was explained to me, and I'm no expert, by backup the powers-that-be mean that there can still only be 1 copy (the original or the backup) in use, and that the other is for archival only. That being said, I don't see why one couldn't move the different copies to and from archive at will. Say for instance that I want to keep one copy digitally archived on my computer - wait, no, I'm going to bring that one out of archive and use it and declare that the LP is now in archive... Since I probably wouldn't personally listen to both at once I would think that's all right.

meryllogue
meryllogue

Thank you!!!! I bet you had NO idea what a thread you were creating with this one, did you? :-)

lazarus0
lazarus0

Okay, first off, you've described this jack in two different ways. First, you called it an input jack, now you are calling it a MIC jack. If you only have one input jack on your system, it is probably a stereo input, but it will work with a mono microphone. If you have more than one input jack on your system, then one is a stereo input, and one is a microphone input. Some of the microphone inputs may be mono (especially in the case of older eletronics), although mine are all stereo. The main difference between the regular input, or line input jacks and a microphone jack is that there is a pre-amp on the microphone jack because most microphones need them the same way a turntable output would. Connecting an amplified source to a microphone jack might easily overload the system, or, at best, sound like someone cranked the volume all the way up to the point of major distortion.

nickrusso
nickrusso

I have NEVER seen a mono input or output jack on a sound card or laptop. I have not done business with DAK recently. They had closed up (as far as I know) in the early 90's or so. I'm what he calls an "Old DAKonian." In those days he had paper catalogs and wrote long discussions about the products, often tripping over his own excitement-obviously he hasn't changed. I got an audio equalizer/analyzer (hard to come by and expensive) for under $100 that I recently gave to my best friend. I bought at least 4 sets of stereo speakers from him (still working, including one 15" 3-way I gave to my best friend, but cone supports on woofers finally gave out, he replaced the woofers) including a great early subwoofer/satellite system I still use and sounds great. Products were always just as he described (but not so verbose). I'd buy from him again in a second...

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

I've got the only laptop on the planet with a stereo 3.5mm input socket! As I see it, you have a distinct choice: You can blindly read what you get from a net site that you openly admit "DOES sound a little like a crack-pot site" - OR - you can judge me by my own personal experience (I'm not selling you anything) and give it a try. Curiosity would have me doing it anyway just to make sure. I looked at this guy's site and he shows you a side view of a 3.5mm jack, indicating left, right, and ground portions of the plug. Maybe this guy was referring to a 'mic' socket as opposed to a 'line in' socket, which is what you have on a laptop. REMEMBER: you'll need a stereo 3.5mm input jack (Feeding a stereo signal) otherwise you WILL only get mono! Post back when you understand that your 3.5mm socket IS stereo-capable.

johnmckay
johnmckay

My points, which you are missing, is that a) this needn't be a replacement for a record deck or source for your living room audio. I didn't get that impression anyway. b) You haven't heard it (nor have I) and can't fully comment about how good or bad it is compared to other mp3 options. Maybe it's better than you think, maybe not. If one wants the mp3 for the car or out jogging etc then surely this is an easy and practical solution? What do you listen to in the car or on the train? I've got a two hour round trip and couldn't be bothered with carrying 4 converted records on cd per day when I can get dozens in mp3 format. Me.. I don't have an audio cd recorder and don't want one(one chance to get it right, expensive media, stuck with any crackle/pops it picks up). I convert to MiniDisc as that's easy for me (I don't care what anyone thinks of the dynamics, I'm happy with it) OR I have the more awkward solution of rigging my deck through my old amp, into my Creative card in the PC. The PC solution is a hassle ! Burning audio CDs is a bigger hassle. I accept your point is probably valid for your home audio requirements.... but not mine, and probably not for most folk. I guess we could do with some proper feedback on the decks conversion prowess now.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Nobody is talking about sitting in an empty sound room and listening to LP's. That was the picture painted by a vivid imagination, not one of comprehension. My point was, why purchase a cheesy plastic, belt drive TT to make MP3's, when you can buy a high quality (not expensive) vintage/used TT for the same money and just create CD's on your stereo?!? Use your own preamp or eq to tweak it if needed. If you REALLY need a comrpessed format like MP3 (to get more music on fewer discs, I guess) just use the high bitrate CD's you made from your turntable and convert them in your PC. The result is far better, more natural reproductions of your old music. Saving the extra step to convert tracks to a high bitrate MP3 really isn't worth sacrificing your sound for.

johnmckay
johnmckay

I can't listen to an LP in the car! I can't play a record on my PC in work! And, seriously, who really cares about a telarc or how an 1812 overture sounded. It can't be as good as being at the real thing if that's your bag! We all agree a pristine record sounds fantastic in the right environment.. BUT how many of us are in that position? wear and tear, background noise, tumble-drier, kids. It's a nirvanna that only exists for hermits with loads of dosh, and rose coloured specs. It's practical for me to listen to music in the car, over my DAB/Mem card radio/cd at my pleasure. It's not convenience it's a practical choice, and there's a big difference. Nobody mentioned digital was better. Nobody mentioned throwing out their turntables. And please don't mention tapes... that would be a step too far. Get with it; buy an ipod or a new digital radio and start to enjoy your music wherever you go! That's my message to all the negativity around this topic. Enjoy the lyrics, the tempo, the mood and stop nit-picking about who knows best. Enjoy your own music, wherever you go.

spasse
spasse

Digital is a concession to convenience Well as the risk of being considered an old fart, I have yet to hear any form of digital media that has the definition, air, and fidelity to the subtle harmonics of the analog to LP technology, when it was at its height. If you have ever heard a TELARC LP recording of the 1812 Overture: http://www.telarc.com/gscripts/title.asp?gsku=0041&mscssid=JU8N6KJRSXUR9JKP6HJH35B65LLVA2S2 ?played on the best cartridges, into a quality pre-amp, amplifier and speakers setup, you will understand this perspective. This particular recording was also a great ?torture test? of you entire system because of its dynamic range. It would be interesting to see if the cartridge on the Ion iTTUSB turntable could even handle this recording. But lacking exposure to this kind benchmark, we are only talking about shades of digital compromise. Alas, for my everyday use, I concede to the dark side? But it think is probably easier to be content with the current implementations of digital, if you had never heard analog at its height? Regards, Scott

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

well said The audio buyers law: always spend at least 50% of your total budget on the speakers. htt'://www.rbhsound.com yum!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Find a local vintage audio shop, they are pretty much everywhere or available onlinr http://www.classicaudio.com/ (a good one), http://www.ultraelectronicactive.com/Equipment-Index.html (great prduct). You can usually pick up a quality, classic turntable for around $125.00. Most of them have been cleaned and tested, cartridges replaced with good quality parts etc. Now just burn your own MP3's from your computer's sound card or home stereo system. Remember spending hours and hours making mixed tapes? It's not much of a headwrecker, we've been doing it for decades, just in different fomats over the years. I think you can get far better value and sound for your investment (not to mention a good turntable for your stereo!).

JamesRL
JamesRL

I went to an exhibit at Epcot in the mid 90s where they had a 10,000$ steeo system and a $1000 one. 9 out of 10 people preferred the cheaper one, as it had more bass. The $10,000 was more sonically pure. I've been a musician performing in public since I was 5 (church choir). I've also played a number of instruments. I worked at the campus radio station (turntables with wooden arms and 20 inch platters) and the local cable station as a recording engineer (live call in show). I've also recorded choirs and acted as a producer for a choir's CD recording. So I've spent a lot of time listening hard. There is a huge difference between a 20$ phono cartridge and a $100 one. The difference between a $100 cartridge and a $200 is less. Its a law of diminishing returns. And the cartridge is by far the most important item on the turntable. Direct drive versus belt drive? On a cheap system, I will tell you direct drive, but there are many good belt drive audiophile quality turntables (Linn for example, though they won't give me a discount). Again I might suggest 9 out of 10 would not be able to hear the wow and flutter on a turntable anyway. But again, people generally overrate the impact of the turntable and amp. The speakers are the prime determenant of audio quality - spend good money on those, and find the amp you need to drive them efficiently (and no more). Recording MP3s at the highest sampling rate does give you near CD quality. Many people can't tell the difference between that and the next level down, but who cares. As long as you aren't destroying the original media.... Many snobs look down at MP3s but happily listen to FM radio, which sounds uglier than most MP3 sampling rates. I have CDs for most of my oldie favorites (most bought on sale), but I do have some rare audiophile LP recordings (CBS masterworks classical recordings, Jazz, special LPs) that I do want to transfer. I have a turntable but my old amp died and my new one doesn't have turntable pre-amp. So I too am in the market. But the cartridge on my old turntable cost $99 in 1985 money...I am assuming it will be better than the all in one. But for those who don't care, go ahead. I don't look down at people who eat at MacDonalds when I prefer steak. Different strokes.... James

TheGooch1
TheGooch1

Why sell when you can just share it? Noobs.

meryllogue
meryllogue

Music = Passion, and I have way too much for the everyday world. :-)

jeff.allen
jeff.allen

Just a quick note: I have found increasingly a trend towards "Mic" inputs being mono. In fact, "most" laptops around now don't seem to have stereo inputs at all. I shopped around a while ago to find one that could record in stereo, and eventually settled on a PCMCIA card solution.

nickrusso
nickrusso

Please... let it go... your don't always have to be right. Softy and shraven are correct: Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) ster?e?o?phon?ic /ˌstɛriəˈfɒnɪk, ˌstɪər-/ ?adjective pertaining to a system of sound **recording or reproduction** using two or more separate channels to produce a more realistic effect by capturing the spatial dimensions of a performance (the location of performers as well as their acoustic surroundings), used esp. with high-fidelity recordings and reproduction systems (opposed to monophonic). Compare quadraphonic. [Origin: 1935?40; stereo- + phon(o)- + -ic] ?Related forms ster?e?o?phon?i?cal?ly, adverb Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, ? Random House, Inc. 2006. stereo- a combining form borrowed from Greek, where it meant ?solid?, used with reference to hardness, solidity, three-dimensionality in the formation of compound words: stereochemistry; stereogram; stereoscope. Also, especially before a vowel, stere-. [Origin: < Gk stere?s] Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, ? Random House, Inc. 2006.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

Stereo, the two (or more)-channel information stream is an output.

softy.123
softy.123

When the two channels of audio are going INTO a device "stereo" could be used as an input term. When the two channels of audio are going OUT OF a device, "stereo" could be used as an output term. When talking about a two channel recording AND/OR playback scheme in some abstract sense, "stereo" could be used as neither an input nor an output term. In other words, the word "stereo" doesn't imply input or output, but rather just a two-channel information stream (technically one which is designed to recreate 3D space).

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

Sounds like an output to me but there you go.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

ster?e?o?phon?ic (str--fnk, st?r-) adj. Of or used in a sound-reproduction system that uses two OR MORE separate channels to give a more natural distribution of sound.

softy.123
softy.123

Stereo is definitely a two channel system, whether we're talking outputs or inputs.

softy.123
softy.123

No stereo is not an "output" term. The literal meaning of the term is "solid." That refers to the perception of 3D space by a pair of sensors. Stereo sound is recorded with two microphones, to be played back over a pair of speakers, to be listened to by two ears, thus recreating the 3D aural cues necessary for perception of space.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

The word 'STEREO' alone does not indicate THE NUMBER OF CHANNELS above 2 in any way at all. Without an OUT you can have no IN!

shraven
shraven

stereo refers to the number of channels of audio. In or out is irrelevant.