The way I see it, there are a few reasons you’d want to take your records and digitize them:
- to avoid having to re-purchase an album you already own
- to digitize an album that’s only ever been released on vinyl
- to capture the nuisances of vinyl playback that are missing from CDs or iTunes Store downloads
But if you want to actually have some freedom and control over your music—not to mention saving some coin—you’ll want to pick up one of Ion’s USB Turntables, which connect to your computer and dumps the converted audio to your hard drive.
We like the original iTTUSB Turntable, which can be purchased from Amazon for around $105 (Ion is also selling a limited number of refurbished units direct for $85 at the moment). Its features include:
- an adjustable Anti-Skate control for increased stereo balancing
- 33 1/3 and 45 RPM support
- 78 RPM support through the included software
- switchable Phono/Line-level RCA output (with built-in pre-amp)
The more robust iTTUSB 10 Turntable adds a dust cover, better software, and an analog input (so you can hook up a cassette deck or other analog source and record from that through the turntable) for $129.
The only model we’d stay away from is the new LP Dock, which basically takes the iTTUSB 10 and replaces the actually useful analog input with a built-in USB dock (which does nothing more than work like any other iPod dock would). Oh, and it costs $250.