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TerraTec iVinyl: plastic fantastic

Got loads of old vinyl hanging around and nothing to listen to it on? Here's a simple way to convert your existing collection into MP3 format for your jolly little iPod

Vinyl: food of the luddite. We are a nation of bespectacled maniacs with stores of vinyl stashed away in our attics and cellars, and no idea how to convert it into a iPod-compatible format. Early attempts at conversion involved smashing the vinyl original into hundreds of tiny pieces and posting these through the headphone jack of the iPod. Most of the time this resulted in choppy playback.

TerraTec's proposition is more effective. The PhonoPreAmp iVinyl is an integrated preamp (what your old hi-fi would use to amp up the sound from your record player) and analogue to digital convertor (ADC) that takes the output from your vinyl deck and spits it out in digital form over a USB connection to your computer.

Both vinyl and cassettes can be converted into MP3s at up to 24bit/96khz (that's theoretically higher quality than CD, but clearly your source is inferior, so don't expect miracles). There's also some bundled software to help clean up your recordings: Sound Rescue and Roxio CD Spin Doctor. Both cassette and vinyl have a fairly high noise floor, which means there's a fair bit of white noise, or hiss, on the recordings. The filters in this software can help to remove it.

If you've invested a lot of time in amassing your record collection, this looks like it could be an easy means of converting it into a post-Neanderthal format. The iVinyl is available now for around £70. Expect a more thorough review imminently. -CS