Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable Review

Today we will be taking a look at the Ion Audio USB Turntable. Several USB turntables have been appearing on the discount and secondary markets recently. How does this inexpensive device measure up against other turntables as well as the vintage ‘real thing’? Let’s find out…

Review Continued Below…

First, let’s look at the stats for the Ion Audio portable iPTUSB turntable. Basically, what we need from a turntable today is that it can easily interface with a computer so that you can record your old vinyl into digital files and that it’s compatible with modern stereo equipment. The turntable has an USB interface that allows recording onto a PC without the need for special drivers. It also has a a line level output that permits you to hook into the AUX port of a home stereo or portable music player just like you would with a MP3 player. This is a portable unit and can operate both on AC with an adaptor as well as six D-cell batteries.

Aesthetically, the Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable reminds me a bit of portable record players I had as a kid (yes, I’m that old). The player is made of plastic and does seem a bit toy like. The plastic tone arm seems flimsy and, like the cheap kid’s record players of yore, it lacks features like counterbalancing and antiskating and doesn’t seem to have much in the way of shock absorption. There’s also no auto-return and you can hear turntable noise on recordings a little too much for my taste. Yes, I’m picky, having owned a high end Sony turntable back in my college days.

Portability is a major feature of the Ion Audio iPTUSB turntable. If you like to scout out vinyl records at garage sales this player is very handy in helping you determine the quality of a 33 1/3 RPM album, 45 RPM or even a 78 RPM single record. The battery life on the 6 D batteries is at least as good as your average MP3 digital music player. The built-in speaker is kind of weak but serviceable for brief demos. Another problem with portability is, once again, the lack of shock absorption and the need for a very level surface to play without skipping.

The other major reason to buy the Ion iPTUSB turntable is to record that aging vinyl into a digital format. Maybe you’re like me and have a few 1000 albums you bought way back when in college or perhaps you’ve inherited your parent’s vinyl collection. Or, maybe you’ve scored some vintage jazz or blues 78’s from the 1930’s. Getting these old recordings that may not be available on CD or digital download into a digital format is the reason most people will buy this turntable. How does it do in this area? First of all, this is a very tedious process and requires that each track is played, recorded and perhaps edited separately. A disturbance can ruin the recording and then you have to do it over. If you’re like me, you’ll only end up moving a few, can’t-live-without-it, tracks over to digital because this is such a time consuming and meticulous process. The EZ Vinyl Converter or Audacity software that can be used with this turntable do work well though.

The bottom line is that the Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable is adequate for the task of ripping, well, recording, tracks from old vinyl and is cheap. However, it doesn’t produce the best of recordings as compared to higher end models of modern turntables. If you’re going to invest the time into recording a lot of vinyl I’d go with a better turntable but the iPTUSB is fine for the casual, non-audiophile, user. I would recommend picking up extra needles for it when you purchase it because these may be difficult to find in the future.

 


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20 Comments »

Comment by Ben Pei
2009-02-05 13:53:29

Lol you’re good at digging such stuff from ebay huh!

 
Comment by Earn Passive Income
2009-02-05 20:36:08

I’m that old too - but in the end the Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable came too late for me - when we moved countries I gave away all the old vinyl. I know what you mean that the Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable would be good for the job of recording, tracks from old vinyl and the price is right!

Comment by jfc
2009-02-05 21:00:39

I’ve got most of my vinyl still packed away in boxes from our last move. I do have most of my collection already on CD and/or MP3. But I have a few albums that haven’t been released digitally or even on CD that I’m in the process of recording. Since the process is quite tedious I’ve been slow about it, concentrating on favorite tracks. I also go through my mixer rather than the USB port so that I can fix up the sound even more.

 
 
Comment by Australia News
2009-02-05 20:44:18

You know I heard on the radio here in Australia that a local business was advertising to buy vinyl from the 50’s 60’s 70’s - so you can have the best of both worlds - you can use a gadget such as Ion Audio iPTUSB turntable to record the music - and then sell the originals!

 
Comment by Nancy
2009-02-05 23:30:17

I’ve seen my friend’s Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable. It is really easy to use. The built-in speaker has great sound quality. It is easy to move and take places as it completed with a handle and dustcover latches. It’s a great buy.

 
Comment by Web Marketing
2009-02-06 03:59:31

I want one! These are great, I have so many old school classic that are still on vynil and this would make it easy for me to record them on a cd.

 
Comment by RNB Love Songs
2009-02-06 09:36:50

It’s a shame that it’s not great at playing though it’s nice to see a cheaper model to record all your vinyl albums. Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve been considering getting a turn table and it was nice to hear your views on it.

Comment by jfc
2009-02-06 11:10:51

Hi RNB,

Its internal speaker is OK sound-wise but I’m kind of picky when it comes to how music sounds.

 
 
Comment by Best CSS Gallery
2009-02-10 05:37:07

This is great! I now consider buying this turntable. Thanks for the review

 
Comment by Sweaty Palms
2009-02-10 12:04:05

Hah, this REALLY is a good find. It was an interesting read even though I’m not into turntables.

Andy

 
Comment by Ibanez Guitars
2009-02-12 12:41:05

Sweet article, this just gave me so many ideas for old vinyl I’ve got collecting dust so maybe I can break out the collection again soon. Would love to get a few of those converted over so I can throw them on my ipod!

 
2009-02-20 08:13:23

I like the digital transition option in this turntable! I already have two high end turntables, but this could be an excellent gift for those of the baby boomer generation with vinyl of their favorite hits collecting dust.

 
Comment by Webkinz
2009-03-09 15:36:04

I really need such thing. I probably would even buy it very soon =)

 
Comment by used tires
2009-03-11 07:13:48

Isn’t it amazing what they are now doing with USB products? Have you seen the USB Batteries, where you plugin the usb battery into your computer to recharge it!

 
Comment by web design miami
2009-04-01 08:01:39

It seems like a great little gadget however I don’t see a use for that. Unless you have a really huge collection of vinyls you’d probably pay more for archiving them then you’d pay for buying everything all over again.

 
Comment by Camping Lights
2009-04-01 09:25:15

Is there nothing that can’t be powered of a USB connection these days! You could have a portable keyboard light in one USB and the Ion Audio Portable USB Turntable in the other! Music and light - what more could a laptop provide?

 
Comment by Chris
2009-04-03 11:12:04

Wow, that is pretty amazing. It’s amazing what you can hook up to a USB table.

 
Comment by Lorecee
2009-04-08 00:35:39

I’d definitely carry this around for testing the quality of used records at flea markets etc. But for actually recording vinyl into digital format, I’d want a high-end turntable routed through my receiver and into the computer with Monster Cables. Vinyl has enough hisses and pops even with good equipment. I have Audacity (large, not small A, although small a too–can that be used to rip the analog signal to MP3?

I haven’t worked up the patience to transfer my vinyl collection to digital yet. It takes a looonnng time.

 
Comment by DoFollow - Chris
2009-06-04 20:26:48

This isn’t your dad’s turntable! Anyone who knows music can tell you that turntables are better than digital music.

 
Comment by Metallica
2009-07-20 05:38:07

Is there nothing that can’t be powered of a USB connection these days

 
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