Ion's LP2CD turntable ($399) pulls double duty by playing your records and CDs, and is one of the easiest solutions we've seen for making digital copies of your old LPs. Over the past few years, Ion has made quite a few turntable models designed to take the sting out of converting your records to CDs and MP3s, but the LP2CD's unique integrated CD burner and computer-free operation make it exceptionally user-friendly.
Before getting to the digital technology of the LP2CD, let's first take a look at the turntable itself. Up top you've got a belt drive system with three playback speeds (33, 45, 78), a metal platter, and a standard tone arm with a replaceable, off the shelf cartridge. The package also includes a hinged dust cover, a slip mat, a 45 record adapter, and USB, RCA, and power cables.
On the back of the deck you'll find stereo RCA input and output, a USB jack, and a standard three-prong power connection. All the real action is on the front, though, where you'll find a tray-loading recordable CD drive, a multi-button control strip, and a 2.5-inch LCD. Operating the CD drive is a fairly straightforward process, with buttons for play/pause, stop, skip, record, burn, and eject, located right above the tray.
To the left of the CD deck controls you'll find smaller buttons for navigating the LP2CD's onscreen menus. These buttons, and the menus they control, are intuitive to use and easy to understand.
In spite of its technological novelty, the LP2CD isn't a particularly high-quality turntable, given its price. The construction is mostly plastic, with the same generic feel as Ion's budget-price iTTUSB deck. It's also a bit of a beast, measuring a relatively bulky 6 inches tall (with cover), 17.5 inches wide, and 15.5 inches deep. Which is not to say that the LP2CD isn't a fine turntable from a practical and sonic perspective, but there are some sexier and sturdier decks in the same $400 range.