Ion Profile Pro Review
How Good Is The Ion Profile Pro Turntable?
The Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable is one of the more inexpensive ways to turn your vinyl records into digital audio files, yet it gives a very good value for the money. It connects directly to your computer through the USB port to allow you to convert your vinyl records into digital music.
For a piece of "old school" technology the unit is quite attractive and modern looking. The Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable is housed in an attractive slimline design that does not take up a lot of space. As is standard on models in this price range, it has a belt driven turntable and a ceramic stylus.
The body is shiny black with smoke gray pivoting dust cover attached. The dust cover is spring loaded so that it stays in either the open or closed position without fear of dropping accidentally. The unit rests on 4 spring-loaded feet.
The rubber slipmat that rests on the turntable is a separate piece. It is not permanently attached to the turntable; it just rests there by gravity, and it should always be in place when playing or recording records. When you receive the unit, you simply unwrap the shrink wrap and place the mat in position on the turntable. There is really no other assembly required for this unit.
The unit comes with a 45 RPM record adapter, a small circular disk that you place over the center spindle of the turntable when playing 45 RPM records. There was a small glitch when I received my unit in that the 45 RPM adapter would not come loose from its storage position. I had to use a tool to remove it for the first time by force.
The tickmarks around the edge of the turntable are not decorative as you might imagine; they are actually used in conjunction with a strobelight to test the speed of the turntable (small recessed dials on the bottom allow for speed adjustment) although this should not be needed if you buy this turntable new.
Controls and Operation
One nice feature of the Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable is that it comes with a raise/lower tonearm lever to help you place the needle in position without danger of scratching the record. Moving the lever lifts the tone arm so that you can guide it into the proper position on the record and lowering the switch lowers the tone arm so that it will smoothly come in contact with the record. A very nice feature.
Moving the tone arm into position automatically starts the motor, and moving the tonearm back to its resting position automatically stops it. There is no on-off switch other than this. The unit uses a simple in and out toggle switch to change the speed from 33 1/3 RPM to 45 RPM. That and the stop button are really the only controls on this unit.
Pushing the stop button has the same effect as lifting up the tonearm and returning it to its resting position; pressing it will cause the mechanism to lift the tonearm and return it to “home base.” When it does so, it automatically shuts off the motor (the same thing that happens when the tone arm reaches the end of the record).
NOTE: Since moving the tone arm from its resting position will start the motor, you should be careful, if the turntable is kept plugged in, that the tone arm is not jarred from its resting position (such as during cleaning) when it is not being used. If this should happen, the turntable motor may turn on and, since the motor is quiet, it could run for hours or days without your knowing it.
The Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable features a plug-and-play USB connection. This eliminates the need to connect it to an audio-in jack on your computer. That means it can be used with any computer that has a USB port and otherwise meets the system requirements, even if it lacks an audio-in port.
Using a USB connection is a bit different than using the audio in port; USB does not allow you to adjust the input volume of your recording.
This is good or bad depending on your personal needs: it gives you a little less control, but it is preset to record at the optimum volume for most purposes. You needn't worry about adjusting the volume control on the unit or recording at too loud a volume (resulting in clipping) or too soft a volume (resulting in a weak, faint recording).
The back of the unit contains a power cord which is AC 120V-60 Hz consumption; 5W RCA audio output cables allow you to plug the unit into your home stereo system so that you can use it as an ordinary record player or to monitor your recordings if you don’t wish to use your computer’s internal stereo speakers to do so (you can still make recordings even if the unit is not plugged into your stereo system).
A 1/8 stereo line input allows you to connect other audio devices to the Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable in case you wish to record cassette tape players, reel to reel or other audio sources through your computer’s USB input.
The Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable comes with basic software on an included CD for converting your records and tapes into MP3 recordings: Easy Vinyl/Tape Converter for Windows and Easy Audio Converter for Mac. This software will record your audio and transfer it directly to iTunes. It is very basic and will not give special features like noise reduction or sound enhancement, but it will do the job.
Alternatively, you can use the downloadable Audacity software that is available free online from the Audacity website or your own preferred third-party audio recording software. I personally prefer the third-party Vinyl Studio for its excellent click and noise reduction features.
Buy the Ion Profile Pro Turntable at Amazon - Want the inexpensive turntable reviewed here? Here's a direct link on Amazon
The one control missing from the Ion Profile Pro is any form of tone or bass control. You won't get the booming bass from this unit that you will get from much more expensive turntables, and you probably shouldn't expect that from a unit in this price range, anyway. (However, when audio created with the Ion Profile Pro is listened to on a quality sound system with good bass, I have found that the unit does indeed provide very nice, deep bass.)
Of course, the whole reason you are converting your vinyl records rather than repurchasing the music from the iTunes Store is probably to save money anyway (except in the case of rare or no longer available recordings). All in all, the Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable will do the job nicely.
The Ion Profile Pro USB turntable has listed at Kohl's and other major retailers for $119.95 (and it's worth it) but you can order it currently from Amazon for the price below:
How to Convert LPs to CDs
By this same author: step-by-step instructions on how to digitize your vinyl (and why you should do it).