The Ion iPTUSB ($149) is a portable turntable with an impressive amount of features, including a direct USB output for archiving your vinyl to your PC. Whether you're a seasoned crate-digger or a vinyl holdout looking to downsize your hi-fi, the Ion iPTUSB strikes a great balance of portability, features, and sound quality.
In the world of USB-enabled turntables, the Ion iPTUSB is one of the coolest kids in town. Sure, we've seen portable turntables that are smaller, and USB turntables that offer better audio quality, but not until the Ion iPTUSB has there been such an affordable, and attractive compromise.
The Ion iPTUSB measures 12 inches long by 4 inches thick by 12 inches wide with its lid on (3.5 inches high with lid off). It is constructed almost entirely of plastic (the handle is metal). If you feel like you've seen the Ion iPTUSB somewhere before, you're not crazy. Ion's parent company, Numark, released a turntable called the PT-01 back in 2006 (see our review). The PT-01 is cosmetically identical to the Ion iPTUSB, but lacks the capability to connect with USB, or record using a line-input jack. If you're not thrilled about the Ion iPTUSB's USB integration, the Numark PT-01 is still available, and a great value.
The Ion iPTUSB is designed for two groups of people: those who don't have the space to permanently set up a full-size turntable, and record-shop junkies looking for a portable way to demo (and possibly record) vinyl on-the-go. If you're looking for the highest-quality means to archive your beloved collection of vinyl, we recommend steering clear of USB turntable solutions altogether, and going the high road of investing in a phono preamp, audio card, and recording software.
Our favorite design feature of the Ion iPTUSB is probably the easiest one to overlook. Through some marvel of engineering, the Ion iPTUSB measures only 12 inches square, allowing it to fit perfectly alongside your dusty record collection.