• iLP from ION Audio – Product Review

    iLP from ION Audio

    February 7 2013 – Today we take a look at the iLP from ION AudioThis is a turntable (or record player for the young’uns) which is available as of today for $64.95 on Amazon.com (or $99.99 at Best Buy) for our readers in the States. However in Canada finding the unit proved a challenge so our recommendation is to order it from the States if possible.

    The Company.

    ION Audio was created in 2003 out of the desire to bridge the gap between the classic and the cutting-edge, between the timeless and the revolutionary. The USB turntable, invented by ION, gives vinyl enthusiasts everywhere the power to bring their music forward even as the music brings them back. Its huge success paved the way for ION’s entire family of conversion products that convert cassettes, VHS tapes, film negatives, CD’s, prints and slides into digital media, ready for archiving and playback on today’s digital technology.

    ION is about more than converting LP’s to MP3’s and film negatives into JPEG’s; we also make products that help inspire music listeners to become musicians themselves. ION makes music creation accessible to everyone by offering instruments that utilize the latest technology and make learning-to-play fun.

    Today, ION is a worldwide company that continues to design innovative products to simplify your life and energize your entertainment. ION has unparalleled resources that enable us to develop exceptional products. Sister companies, Numark, Alesis and Akai Professional bring their industry-leading expertise in DJ gear, musical instrument technology, and music production tools to ION, providing us with unrivaled technological know-how. Whether it’s enhancing your gaming experience, giving you a more exciting and seamless way to enjoy your music, or helping your child learn how to play an instrument, ION takes advanced, exciting technologies and makes them easy to use, transforming them into all-in-one solutions that everyone can understand and afford.

    iLP from ION Audio
    The Product (what it is):
    The iLP is a turntable which has four main uses:
    • Listen to records (vinyl) by plugging in RCA ( the one red and one white cables) to your existing stereo system or receiver. (Note – RCA cables are not included in the box)
    • Listen to records (vinyl) by plugging in the attached USB cable into your PC/laptop and firing up the included software
    • Record your records (vinyl) by plugging in the attached USB cable into your PC/laptop and firing up the included software
    • Record your records (vinyl) by putting your supported iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, etc) directly on the units docking slot
    iLP from ION Audio

    Features and specs list:

    The most interesting feature of this turntable for us is the ability to play records. This is easily achieved by plugging into a home stereo system through the RCA outputs found on the unit (note the cables are not supplied so you need to have your own).  Ion Audio seems to be marketing the ability to digitize your records as the main benefit of the product and although that is very handy, I personally would rather listen to my records on a turntable than digitizing them and listening to them on my iPhone. Having said that, digitizing records and converting them to MP3’s with no computer needed is very unique to this feature. Simply put your iPad, iPhone, or iPod on the docking cradle within the unit and you are off to the races. If you want some more control on the whole process you can also plug in via USB to your PC/Mac and convert and archive on the computer. The converting is done through software which ION includes called Free EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter (included for PC, download needed for iOS device)

    Beyond that the unit itself is a made of a slick glossy black plastic with nice curves on it. A hinged dust cover is included to keep pesky dust out. There are only three controls on the turntable – Auto Stop (which stops the turntable from spinning when the record is over), Speed (33,45 and 78 RPM’s are all here) and the lever to move the needle arm up and down. The user also has the ability to adjust the weight of the needle arm which helps skipping by rotating a weight at the end of the arm. The back of the unit features an on/off switch to save phantom power draw when you are not using the turntable.

    iLP from ION Audio

    What is missing is a start/stop button to get the record playback started. You have to use the lever to pick up the arm, move it to the beginning of the record (or the song you want to hear), and move the lever down to place the needle on the record. I would have really liked a start button to do this for me. Also it would have been good when the record finished for the arm to lift itself up and go back to its initial resting place.

    Record playback sounds great for its price, and the process of digitizing or converting to MP3’s is very easy. Hooked up into good speakers you will be very impressed by the unit’s fidelity and the addition of a better diamond needle will really bring back that awesome record sound that so many audiophiles are turning back to.

    The unit itself feels very solid for it’s price and really will give you the impression that you made a good purchase. Remember you are not buying a $300 turntable here, but at its current price of $65 it is a fantastic deal. It does not feel cheap and the curves on it are very pleasing to the eye. All my friends that have looked at it were all interested to find out more about it. Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool. Due to copyright laws I can not upload a sound sample of an MP3 but believe me it does sound just like the record (hiss, pops, scratches and all). Of course there is software to clean up the sound so you can make your record sound like a better record than it currently is.

    iLP from ION Audio

    Verdict: 4.5 out of 5. This is a fantastic product and at its current price on Amazon it is highly recommended if you have records. I cant imagine how many classic Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or Van Halen records are gathering dust in people’s attics, if you are one of those people rush out and get the Ion Audio iLP! Not only can you relive the sounds of a bygone era (with all its analog imperfections) but you can also digitize the music you already own and not pay “just” 99 cents a song to Apple to get what you already bought. Classic rock music lovers this one is a must have for you!

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