Editor’s Note: This product is being replaced from our side-by-side comparison because it is no longer available and will be replaced by another product during our next scheduled refresh of this site. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Music aficionados everywhere agree that music played on a vinyl record somehow sounds better than in a digital format. Perhaps you can’t quite put your finger on it, but there is something comforting about a delicate needle passing over a record’s grooves. Never fear, those warm, rich tones aren’t gone forever; ION’s vinyl converter turntable, the ION LP 2 CD has come to the rescue. The ION LP 2 CD has the capability to convert your favorite vinyl LPs directly to CD, making it possible for you to jam out to Del Shannon’s "My Little Runaway" like you did when you were a kid.
The ION LP 2 CD converts your albums directly to CD or can transfer all of the songs to your computer via a USB port. Either way, because the vinyl converter turntable is playing the album while it records the music, the deep, rich sounds that emanate from an LP will be captured in digital format. Because the ION LP 2 CD is the only vinyl converter turntable on the market in our price point to include a built-in CD player, we’ve awarded it the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award. Additional features like anti-skate control, Gracenote software and RCA stereo outputs are simply the cherry on top of a fantastic product.
If you are familiar with online sheet music services or are accustomed to editing music online, you’ll recognize the name Gracenote. Gracenote is a program that recognizes music from any music source whether analog or digital. The ION LP 2 CD includes a free download of Gracenote’s MusicID with its EZ Vinyl Converter software. With Gracenote MusicID the turntable can recognize when one song stops and another stops, making it easy to organize tracks from each album.
Although this LP USB turntable is marketed as a direct-to-CD- converter, there is actually a step in between. The turntable records the music onto an internal flash player and from this player you can transfer songs onto your computer or a CD. This extra step actually allows the user to edit, organize, name and fine-tune the songs that will be burned onto the CD.
For example, if the Internal Flash Player doesn’t split the tracks perfectly, you can switch the settings to manually split the tracks during or after the music is recorded. You can also erase duplicate songs or those you don’t wish to transfer to CD.
A tone arm and adjustable pitch control are both important features included in the ION LP 2 CD turntable as well. To ensure the proper sound during conversion, a counterweight balances the cartridge and maintains an appropriate amount of pressure between the stylus and the record. If the LP 2 CD didn’t have a counter weight, the pitch of the record could be way off.
Some competing vinyl converter turntables don’t include a counterweight, which makes us wonder how evenly pitched the converted songs play when in digital format. Additionally, the ION LP 2 CD has anti-skate adjustment to further guarantee an even sound. The anti-skate knob compensates for scratches on the record that may cause skipping.
If you are like us, your box of 78s, 45s and 33s are packed away under your stairs somewhere and haven’t seen the light of day in years. You may have even purchased or are thinking of purchasing your favorite oldies on iTunes. Stop what you’re doing, sign out of iTunes and easily transfer your favorite tunes directly to iTunes or your music library with the ION LP 2 CD turntable.
LP 2 CD includes EZ Vinyl Converter software which efficiently transfers and loads music into your library without any direction from you. Have another box under your stairs full of cassette tapes? No problem. Not only can the ION LP 2 CD convert vinyl records, it can transfer music from cassette tapes as well. Simply hook your cassette player up to the ION LP 2 CD via the RCA ports and the same process: cassette to internal flash player to CD or computer will commence.
This vinyl converter turntable includes adjustable playback speeds so you can play different kinds and sizes of vinyl records. The record’s architecture of the record should make it apparent whether you have a 78, 45 or 33 record so make sure the adjustable speed playback is set to the correct speed by adjusting the RPM setting on the turntable.
We mentioned the internal flash player previously, but it really shines in regards to recording capabilities. Because the music is recorded to the internal flash player you can perfect track transitions and arrange playlists to your preferences. The flash player holds approximately 80 minutes of music but does have a 99-track limit. Before each recording session, we recommend clearing the player to avoid filling it to capacity, because when at capacity, the player will cease recording and you may miss the last few tracks of your record.
When mixing technologies, it is essential to have good support from the manufacturer. From our experience, ION was quick to respond to email inquiries, contacting us in fewer than 24 hours from when we sent our questions. Their website claims to answer all email inquiries within 24 to 72 hours, 8:30am - 6:30pm EST Monday through Friday (except holidays). They are also available via phone.
If you need help during the few instances ION support representatives aren’t in the office, the included quick-start guide included with the USB turntable should do the trick. A 90-day warranty is also included.
The EZ Vinyl Converter software included with the vinyl converter turntable is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 as well as Mac OS X.
Items included with the LP 2 CD turntable are as follows:
Unfortunately, RCA cables aren’t included with the turntable so if you do plan on converting cassette tapes or other line-in audio, you’ll need to provide your own cables.
Dust off your LP collection and convert them to a digital format with the ION LP 2 CD USB turntable. Not only will you save the money you would have spent buying your favorite songs in iTunes, but you will get that rich, warm feeling embedded in a vinyl record, packaged into a digital format.
The majority of existing users couldn’t be happier with their LP 2 CD USB turntable and those who weren’t were able to implement the 90-day warranty to receive a replacement. Combine these elements with the player’s ability to burn a CD of your favorite songs without even touching a computer; we have to say ION LP 2 CD is the best solution for converting vinyl records to CD on the market.
A computer is not necessary to convert your records to CD.
This turntable is quite bulky.
The one-stop-shop design makes converting and playing records simple.