Pros: Quick and easy option for digitising old vinyl records.
Cons: Expensive, and you still need to edit track info in iTunes on your computer
Bottomline: The iPod Dock is a bit of a gimmick, but the Turntable will be useful for people who need to digitise a large vinyl collection.
Vista compatibility: Yes
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It is almost two years since we first reviewed the original USB Turntable and the manufacturer has now come up with a new model that can copy music directly to an iPod.
Like its predecessor, the new Ion LP Dock a conventional turntable for playing vinyl records that has a USB socket that allows it to be connected to a PC or Mac and then used to copy records to the computer, turning them into MP3 files that can be played or archived.
However, this latest version, the LP Dock (or USB Turntable With iPod Dock, to give it its other name), also includes a dock connector for any recent (compatible) iPod so that records can be copied straight to the player without needing to use a computer. It’s a quick and easy process, and certainly worth trying if you have a large collection of vinyl music that you want to listen to on the move.
However, this approach does have two disadvantages. The first is that the turntable can’t insert music directly into the iPod’s main music library, so the recordings are listed under a separate heading on the main menu screen. The other problem is that there is no track information stored with the recordings (such as the name of the song or the artist), so recordings are simply listed according to the date and time they were recorded. This means that you will probably still end up transferring your recordings back into iTunes on your computer in order to enter the track information yourself.
In the end, it is still probably easier to use the LP Dock in the same way as its predecessor: recording songs from the turntable onto the computer and then transferring them to the iPod after editing. Thankfully, this process has also been simplified, thanks to a new piece of software called EZ Converter which records the songs and then inserts them straight into the iTunes music library on the computer.
The only real disappointment is the high price (though the original USB Turntable has now been cut to just £80). Even so, the LP Dock is still a good buy if you have a large vinyl collection that you want to transfer onto an iPod as quickly as possible.