Playing records … 21st century style

IPT ION USB
It might suprise some of you but, despite my fascination for modern technology, I own quite the record collection. Records as in those big round black things with a hole in the middle.

Coming from a rather large setup back at my mom’s house but lacking space at our place, I spent the last few months looking for a viable solution. After adding three Ikea Expedits (square shelving) to our living room last week, that glorious moment finally came around: I got to move my records ! My search for the ultimate small and geeky record-player recommenced and I finally found what I was looking for: the Ion IPT USB portable record player. Like it’s name, the functions are a mouthful. Besides USB there’s a composite output and a port for both big and small pin headphones. On top of that there’s a built-in speaker that, in combination with room for 6 D-cell batteries, allows you to play your tunes -virtually- wherever you want (like a record store that doesn’t have any preview stations). You can play 33, 45 and even 78 RPM records. Simple controls on the top let you adjust the volume, pitch and tone. Overall, the design looks great and the form-factor (12″ x 12″), the included dust-cover and the built-in handle make it perfect for putting it next to your records on your shelving.

The device ships with simpflified mixmeister software called EZ Audio Convert that works on both mac and PC. It records the song, lets you edit the metadata and then sends it directly to iTunes. The only downside is that it doesn’t seem to be compatible with the latest version of iTunes. Still, you can use other apps like Audacity or even Garageband to convert your records into mp3’s.

But this is where it gets geeky: I took it just a step further by hooking the player up to the iMac, running it through airfoil and that way enabling myself to listen to the record that’s playing on any audio source I want (our bedroom speakers that are hooked up to an airport express or even my macbook’s internal speakers when I’m at my desk).

I got mine of off pixmania.com for around 120 euros (not including shipping). Make sure you also check out this great video-review by CNET’s Donald Bell.

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