The ION iLP is a product that converts your old 33s, 45s and 78s (if you don’t know what those are, you need not read this review) into an MP3 file onto your computer or iOS device. You can also use the device to just play the records, if you have external speakers that is. The ultimate irony of it is that the iLP has a 30-pin dock connector on it, putting technologies that are 40 years apart from each other on the same device! The iLP is available directly from ION for $99.99. Free apps direct from ION for iOS, PC and Mac are available to transfer the music. $100 is a high price but if you have a huge collection of records around and you don’t have a turntable for them or you do but you want to transfer your aging records into something that will last even longer, this is for you.
When you look at the iLP, it reminds you of the past blended with the present. It has the classic stylus (you can take off this stylus and replace it with a diamond stylus for even better sound quality) for the record, the place to put the record on and even a 45 holder so if you lost all those plastic things that you placed in the middle of the record so you could fit it in the player, you are in luck. On one corner, it has the iOS dock (oh, the irony). Covering the record playing stuff is a see-through plastic dust cover which is really useful and you don’t even have to put it on yourself, it is already attached to the turntable. Just lift and close the cover. The turntable itself, like the ION iCade Mobile, has a Piano Black chrome feel and color, which just make the device very nice. Don’t expect the iLP to be portable, it is about the size of a record player and it will require speakers even then. It is not light either but at least that shows it is sturdy and not made poorly. The iLP can not be used without the complimentary application. The app itself provides instructions and is self-explanitory. I found it to be easy to use both on the iOS devices and Mac, not sure about the PC as nothing is easy to use on that :). Seriously, it is an app that does what it needs to and performs well despite many people’s criticisms about it. Of course, what it does and how it does it is more important so let’s move on.
The iLP is a turntable that allows you to play and record your songs on records. You put the record pole into the hold in the record (put in the 45 port if need be first) and pull the lever so you can move the stylus. Move and line up the stylus, pull the lever down and it will do one of three things. One, it will play on it’s weak internal speaker. Two, it will play through your way more powerful external speakers (and play beautifully too) or three it will play/record on your iOS device, Mac or PC. The internal speakers in the iLP, despite being quiet, are okay since they will only be used to make sure that the device is playing and recording on your iOS device, Mac or PC if you have the volume off on the device you are recording onto. Of course, this is 2013 so why not make a change to it and add more power to the internal speakers? I don’t see any reason why not. The iLP plugs into RCA inputs from a stereo system. This is how other record players worked too. Perhaps not through RCA inputs but through external speakers. Additionally, you can play the music on your computer speakers as well if the internal is too weak or you don’t have external speakers for it. It has the auto stop function and a switch to change from 33, 45 and 78 RPM speeds. It comes with a 45 connector so you can use your 45s should you have lost the ones you had from a long time ago. The applications that come with the iLP are useful despite what most reviews say. You are able to record multiple tracks at one at a time, at one time. You can do the automatic track splitting, however it will make mistakes if the song becomes quiet or if there is a scratch on the disk. I played “The Entertainer” and I got three recordings for one song. Just turn this feature off and manually split the songs if there is more than one song on a disc. What you hear is what you get. If there is static, it will playback as static which is okay considering that it is a straight conversion. Be prepared to give up some of your office space though since it is certainly not the smallest player out there. It is big and bulky, which to me is a downside because not everyone has a lot of space. Overall, the iLP is well made and is very useful for those of you who want to keep your golden oldies.
-Converts records to MP3 with no problem, easy transfer into iTunes
-Brings back the Golden Age
-With external speakers, including RCA or computer speakers, you can blast your ears with Johnny Cash and The Beatles
-Applications for iOS, Mac and PC are simple to use and self-explanatory.
-Attached dust cover
-Stylus can be taken off and replaced by any stylus
-Bulky (as with all turntables)
-Internal speaker could be improved
Ways to improve
This product would do best with better internal speakers. Many similar products also don’t have speakers in their turntable conversion products but why not innovate? Why not be the first to add those needed speakers?Make it more than a conversion table, make it a conversion/listening table. It concerns me a bit that this product is a bit bulky and there isn’t a whole lot you can do especially when you have a similar product that ION sells that is marketed as a smaller, cheaper version of this turntable. However, I believe that ION could work on making it a bit smaller. It can be done. I believe it can be, Apple does it all the time! :)
The ION iLP truly does a great job at combining the older record age with the new digital age. The record age may be gone but this product helps it make it’s own little comeback. It offers conversion of your golden oldies unseen by any other product of similar pricing. It’s a job well done. It receives 4 and a half stars from me.
Thanks for reading,