Authored by Mike Bacon in Computer Hardware
Published on 12-22-2009
If you have reached a certain age, i.e. over 50 – You probably still have a few vinyl albums. Perhaps you belong to that select group that thinks vinyl sounds better than CD. We will not dispute that contention here; rather speak of what you can play them on. These days, with most music being released on a Compact Disc, there are not many uses for turntables.
Suppose you are one of the people above who still want to listen to their albums – What then? What if you want to copy them onto your computer?
You have the option of getting a USB turntable. This is a turntable made to play vinyl albums, by plugging into a computer via a USB cable.
There are some good and bad things to look out for when choosing a USB turntable. One thing you need to avoid is ceramic cartridges. They are usually found on the more inexpensive turntables. These cartridges tend to muffle the high and low frequencies. They can also create more wear on the records.
What you do want on your turntable is anti-skate. This allows you to adjust the needle so that it stays in the center of the groove.
To determine the best you need to decide how much you want to spend. There is a best among the more expensive USB turntables, which an audiophile would purchase. Then there are the less expensive models the average person would buy.
One of the best USB turntables used by more experienced audiophiles is the Pro-Ject Debut III USB. It lists for $499.00. This may be a bit expensive for the average consumer, but this is truly a case of getting what you pay for.
The Debut III gives you the best chance for turning your vinyl music collection into digital files. The tonearm and fixed headshell are made from a single piece of aluminum for superior rigidity and resonance. The tonearm features a flexible counterweight and single screw adjustment of the needle to ensure skip free playing. The internal wiring of the tonearm terminates to gold plated sockets for nose suppression.
To prevent vibration and to suppress noise the motor is made to run silently and is belt driven.
The USB interface will work on PC, Mac or Linux systems. You can easily connect the turntable to any computer to digitize your record collection.
There is another lower cost Turntable available that might be of interest to those wishing to digitize their record collections, but do not want to spend $500.00.
Sony has a USB turntable available at Best Buy for $157.99. The Sony PS-LX300USB has a belt driven motor, and will play 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. You have a choice of USB output, and RCA style output as well. This is an excellent choice, as the Sony name is well know for its quality. Both come with software to make it easier to record to your computer, or iPod.
Certainly, the more expensive Pro-Ject Debut III has more features, but the Sony is more accessible to the average music fan. No matter which you choose, the ability to play and convert your vinyl collection to MP3 is an attractive idea.