The ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock is a USB vinyl turntable that offers a new function, the ability to record directly to an iPod without the need for a PC.

Like ION's previous turntable products, the ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock can be linked to a PC via USB and allows users to convert 33rpm and 45rpm vinyl music recordings into MP3 format, which can then be burnt to CD or transferred to iPods and other digital music players.

The ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock also offers a new function, the ability to record directly to an iPod without the need for a PC.

Unlike ION's Portable USB turntable, the ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock involves some fiddly setting up before its ready to use.

If vinyl is a mystery to you, you'll be grateful for ION's step-by-step instructions. They provide expert help through every aspect, including hooking the rubber belt over the motor spindle and positioning the weight on the Tone arm. Within a few minutes we were ready to record vinyl direct to our iPod.

We found the ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock very easy to use. We simply slotted our iPod on to the dock and selected the Record menu button on the righthand side of the turntable – this brought up the Voice Memo menu on our iPod.

After starting the ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock up and positioning the needle, we simply pressed Select to start the recording and then used the dial, also on the righthand side of the turntable to select the ‘stop and save' option on the iPod.

To play back the track we selected the Voice Memo menu (located under Extras) and were presented with a decent quality audio file.

The iPod automatically named the track based on the time and number of the recording in that session. As soon as we connected our iPod to iTunes, we were asked if we wanted to transfer the ‘Voice Memos' to our library. Upon connecting the iPod to iTunes, we also found the track was automatically moved to a playlist and couldn't be accessed through the Voice Memo menu anymore.

ION doesn't recommend renaming the tracks in iTunes. It highlights that the iPod may not be able to find the tracks, and instead connect the turntable to a PC via USB and rip the vinyl to MP3 which offers a naming function. When we renamed the track in iTunes, however, the iPod didn't have any problems locating it.

NEXT PAGE: connecting to a hi-fi, bundled software and our expert verdict > >

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The ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock is a USB vinyl turntable that offers a new function, the ability to record directly to an iPod without the need for a PC.

The ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock features RCA Audio outputs so it can be connected to a hi-fi system. It can also be used for iPod playback and even features scroll, menu, play/pause, fast forward and rewind buttons on the right-hand side of the deck, which can be used to control the iPod.

The ION USB Turntable with iPod dock comes bundled with EZ Vinyl Converter 2.0 for PC users only, as well as the free Audacity software, which works with both PCs and Macs and can be used to transfer 78rpm records to MP3 formats.

Sadly the turntable's record function only works with fifth generation iPods, second generation iPod nanos and the iPod mini.

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ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock: Specs

  • Works with 2nd generation iPod nano, 5th generation iPod, iPod mini
  • requires PC with 500Mhz processor or better, Windows XP or Vista, Quicktime 7.1.6 or later, 256MB RAM, 250MB available Hard Disk space USB 1.1 port or higher, CD-Rom drive
  • Works with 2nd generation iPod nano, 5th generation iPod, iPod mini
  • requires PC with 500Mhz processor or better, Windows XP or Vista, Quicktime 7.1.6 or later, 256MB RAM, 250MB available Hard Disk space USB 1.1 port or higher, CD-Rom drive

OUR VERDICT

While we loved the idea of the dock and its ease of use when it came to recording without the need for a PC, the fact it can only be used with some generations of iPods somewhat dampened our enthusiasm for the ION USB Turntable with iPod Dock. It's worth checking you've got a compatible iPod before spending your hard earned cash.

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