May 1, 2007

Can I get a rewind?

by Chris Randall

So I got one of these Ion USB turntables (they're available under a dozen different brand names but are all essentially from the same factory in China...) in order to part out some of the stacks of ridiculous records I have for my new Micronaut album. Like, for instance, the little drum break in Caravan on "Persuasive Percussion 1966." That sort of thing.

Anyways, I got it for like a buck twenty four at ThinkGeek. If you're thinking about getting one of these, let me state for the record that they are roughly the same quality as the little turntable that goes in the top of the Emerson Bedroom Hi-Fi System you had in 1981 to play Kim Carne's "Betty Davis Eyes" on over and over again. It is, in short, a piece of utter shite. But that said, it gets the job done. USB shows up as a source and there you go. It comes with some sort of Bias software, but there's NFW I'm putting anything from an included CD-ROM in my computer if that CD-ROM doesn't come from a reputable company like, say, Apogee. Never have, never will.

In any event, if you just want to fuck around with some scratchy yard-sale records, it's great fun. If you're looking for a quality way to get your 180-gram audiophile pressing of "Kind Of Blue" in to your computer, look at a real rig. This thing is junk.



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May.02.2007 @ 1:31 PM
Chris Randall
Yeah, this is why I bought it. I had a fantastic Rega, but it got broken in the pack when we moved from Chicago to here. I don't even have anything with an RIAA preamp, which is why I thought this, with its line-level output, would be handy. I don't really want to dump in all my old vinyl; I just wanted it for throwing in samples, and it seemed like an easy solution.

I should just buy another Rega and an RIAA preamp and be done with it, I suppose.



May.02.2007 @ 2:36 PM
I have a record player that is probably made at the same factory in China (it is one of those newer battery powered record players... I forget who makes it)... and the sound quality sucks overall, however if you are going to be chopping things up into unrecognizable pieces, and effecting it, it fits the task perfectly.

Sample a single hihat, or a snare, or a orchestra hit, parametric eq it, pitch shift it to tune it, pop it into a song with delay and reverb, and at that point it doesn't really matter. You might not like the way it is processed or used in the track, but you aren't going to say "Damn, he sampled that hihat through a shitty Newmark portable record player".

If you were sampling entire hooks, Daft Punk style, then yeah - that would be a different story.

But the fact that you can buy a record player, with its own pre-amp build in and battery powered, (and even includes its own speaker and headphone jacks), and it folds up to a suitcase and weighs less than a pair of boots (and costs less), that is just too cool to resist.


May.02.2007 @ 5:14 PM
It's funny, my wife was going to buy me one of those ION turntables for Christmas, thinking the USB thing was a handy feature. What I really needed was a portable turntable to take with me to record stores. Fortunately, she figured it out and bought me an old Phillips portable unit off Ebay. This thing is sweet.. it looks exactly like a very small, heavy duty blue briefcase.

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As far as I know, they were never produced in North America.


May.02.2007 @ 6:03 PM
Haven't tried it myself, but recording through a normal pre-amp and doing the RIAA curve compensation in your audio editor might also
be a solution...

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May.02.2007 @ 6:13 PM
I tried that once with an RIAA 'filter' someone made for our Scope cards so they could 'sample' without using a phono preamp and although the tonal curve was corrected the sound seemed rather 'blown' out and kind of boomy. Tried using some software crap that was supposed to do the same thing and got the same results.

I would guess there's an impedance mismatch as well.


May.03.2007 @ 12:49 AM
Is this the same shit?

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I've never been disapointed by Audio-Technica products. Would be surprised if it's made in the same factory. Cheap Numark tables are shit, but I've had a cheap AT table for years, and it has been more than satisfactory.


May.03.2007 @ 1:00 PM

"Screw the fuss about a turntable. I wanna know if there's any decent software that makes it less of a PITA to divide a whole side of a record into individual songs, i.e. auto detection of song gaps and strait-forward song naming."

Waveknife works well for that.

link [www.spacetaxi.d...]">link [www.spacetaxi.d...]


May.04.2007 @ 11:09 AM
Waveknife sounds like just the ticket. Thanks!

May.04.2007 @ 9:33 PM

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May.12.2007 @ 8:34 AM
Wow, and I thought I was the only one sampling Persuasive Percussion. An awesome piece of vinyl recorded using Command's "Dimension-3" process! ;)

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