If you are old enough to remember as I do what came before mp3, CDs, audio tapes and even the the short lived mini discs you are brought back to old school turntables, record players if you will. To this day there still are some people who enjoy the sound of turntables for their listening pleasure. The hissing and pops that came out of the vinyl. Personally I enjoy my music clear and load but some times you feel the need to go back in time and listen to a 45, 33 or if you are even older maybe a 78.
ION Audio brings you the best of both worlds with their Max LP conversion turntable. The unit allows you to listen, connect, and convert any of your old records that you might have tucked away. It is a simple all-in-one turntable that makes it easy to enjoy your records and convert them to digital music files right to your computer. All you have to do is connect Max LP to your computer with the included USB cable to get started and install the software that comes with the unit. ION’s exclusive EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software guides you through the steps and automatically separates the tracks into individual files. You can even convert from other audio sources, like a cassette player, using the 1/8-inch auxiliary input.
Even if you don’t want to convert any old records you have Max LP comes with built-in stereo speakers so you can just kick back and listen to your records if you choose. You can connect Max LP directly to your home stereo system using its standard RCA outputs, and its natural wood finish compliments any room.
Time will tell for reliability, but this is the most full-featured entry level turntable. It’s pretty much ready to go out of the box, and its built-in amp cranks out enough undistributed output to fill a small room. The wood plinth is attractive, the dust cover completely protects a 12″ LP, and its controls feel sturdy and accurate.
The platter/drive mechanism/tonearm are are the usual ION basics… plastic. However, there’s zillions of them installed in various ION models, and is seems as robust as anything in this price range. A tiny platter matt would have been welcome.It sounds good, with surprisingly full response from the 3″ stereo speakers. Attach a little powered subwoofer, and you’re there. Speed was pretty accurate. It wasn’t life threatening, and should be within the acceptable range for casual listeners… keeping price in mind.
The software does a decent job of separating different tracks though sometimes you have to re-record parts of an album because it merged two songs or split a song in half but that might happen one out of every 10 or so from what I have seen. The most tedious part is entering all of the song information. I recommend doing this within whatever music software you normally use, even though the Vinyl-to-MP3 software gives you a chance to enter the info. Often the song info gets lost in translation. The songs automatically get sent to iTunes when done recording. It’s really nice and simple!
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a turntable to be able to listen to and rip your old vinyl to mp3 format so you can listen to it on your phone or other mp3 player, this will certainly do the job. If you are an audio snob (and I mean that in the most sincere, nicest way) you may want to look into a higher priced-point conversion turntable. If you are a fan of the ION product and are looking for better sound, you might want to look into the older ION Profile LP which uses a Sanyo-Fisher MG-09 magnetic phono cartridge, the same kind used by many entry-level “DJ” turntables by brands like Numark and Gemini.
The Max LP is $99.99 (here).
Disclosure: I received the ION Audio Max LP in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed in my review are my own. No other compensation was given.