USB turntables

I’m hoping by linking to this amgs discussion about USB turntables that will burn or record to digital, I’ll get someone who’s actually used one to weigh in, because (like everyone else over there) I’d love to have an easy way get decent quality digital surrogates of my LPs. A while back a friend of my said that Urban Outfitters or some such place you wouldn’t think to look had them for a really decent price. Not sure why I didn’t follow up on that. Surely there was a reason? Was that one of those really vivid dreams that it’s hard to distinguish from reality?

Update: Wait. I didn’t see this when I first posted. It helps, but still … someone who’s actually used one would be nice to hear from.

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  1. quartet-man wrote:

    I’ve recorded LPS and tapes to CD for almost 7 years I think. I go directly into my soundcard, but now there are more options. When I started, it was a lot harder to figure our what cable to use and how to do it, but now even doing it that way has been made much simpler as it has become more popular.

    I don’t know about that system, but I have seen other similar ones too. Not sure which is best. Some also go into stand alone recorders which I understand can convert the analog data better than all but the more expensive sound cards.

  2. Scott wrote:

    I bought the Numark version of the USB turntable last year from Good prices, overall.

    It’s surprisingly easy if you know anything about digital audio. They supply the freeware Audacity program, which works well-enough, but which has its limitations. I used it some but found that the noise reduction feature lacks. I then reverted back to an older form of Cool Edit Pro that I had bought earlier in the century and have been very happy. However, I still use Audacity to edit the ID tags.

    Numark advertises that you can use the turntable to do the work twice as fast by speeding up the turntable and then slowing it down in Audacity. But somehow it’s not configured right and I had a very hard time calibrating it appropriately. I also like to hear what I’m recording so I know what to edit out and I can’t do that if I’m running a 33 1/3 and 45 rpm. So you’re probably going to have to work in real-time.

    Also, if you have some 78s, Numark tells you to record them at 45 rpm and then speed them up with Audacity. I don’t find the stylus supplied with the model I bought to reproduce the sound as well as it should.

    I might also say that you can get much better results using a USB turntable. I’ve used RCA cables before and have never been very happy.

    But then again, I’m neither a techie or an audiophile.

  3. Janice Kieft wrote:

    I have an ION turntable that uses the Audicity software. I am still in a learning curve to get the tags just so. It is nice to be able to take out severe noise, but that also takes some practice. We have a car that plays MP3 discs, so it is kinda cool to go down the road with music from the past.

  4. KB wrote:

    I have a turntable I bought last year that has a preamp. When I first tried using it with the preamp by itself, I got an awful hum. Turn off the preamp, and I get NO decent levels.

    The problem with converting anything from analog to digital is that it has to be done manually, and depending on how much quality you want, rather painstakingly. Too little volume, and you don’t get a decent signal. Too much volume, and you distort. The ideal method would be to use a straight signal from the turntable to the recording device, but in my case, I have to run it through a separate amplifier, which just causes more trouble with setting levels.

  5. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    I record my old records from vinyl to cd in analog. It sounds just fine to me. It sounds the way I remember it. I enjoy hearing some albums digitized, but it is just too big of headache to do it.

  6. Doug Sword wrote:

    If you will go to and look up the ion usb turntable, you can get about 175 reviews by people who have used the product. Most seem to feel that it is a great product. One of the reviewers is an “R. Blackwood” from TN

  7. quartetman wrote:

    Hey Doug Sword, didn’t you used to post at the Oaks board? I am sure I have seen you on one of the boards I have posted on.

  8. QN wrote:

    I have to agree with Mike McIlwain.
    Hook up a graphic EQ, Real Time Analizer, possibly a noise reduction system, a sonic enhancer (example, BBE Sonic Maximizer), and maybe even a compressor and a parametric EQ. Tweak your settings, be patient, and you’ll get a CD quallity product.
    But, it’s easy for me to say since I have a recording studio.

  9. busing wrote:

    My kids bought the Numark for me as a Christmas gift. The unit arrived in Feb due to back order. I finally pulled it our of the box this past Sunday. I have transferred only one album so far but I was pleased with the quality. The album is The Hopper Brothers and Connie sing for Impact International. I’m not sure of the recording date but I would guess very early 70’s. If you are not familiar with this particular album it is very Non Southern Gospel. Very contemporary, leaning towards Imperials of the70’s. Some of the songs include: Put Your Hand In the Hand, A Thing Called Love, Get Togehter, Try a Little Kindness, Everything is Beautiful, etc.
    I’m looking forward to transferring many of my older albums in the coming months.

  10. Doug Sword wrote:


    I assume that you have seen me on SoGospelNews message board. I have seen you there. I occasionally read the Oaks board, but have never posted there.

  11. quartet-man wrote:

    Must be it, Doug Sword. :)

  12. Songwriter Sue wrote:

    I bought the ION USB turntable (at Urban Outfitters for $149) for my husband so he could transfer his Blackwood Brothers and Statesmen LPs. It took a lot of reading to get the turntable set up… like you have to balance things and attach things. And then there was a cord we needed that wasn’t included with the turntable. I thought that was pretty lame. We had to make quite a long drive to the one store we could find in St. Louis that had it. Anyway, after quite a few hours of messing around with it, we finally got it working, and it does work well. It’s just not a piece of cake like you would think from looking at the box.

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