Saturday, January 09, 2010

ION niche products

I have recently acquired two Ion Audio products and have been very impressed with them.

The first, picked up on sale at my local Bed, Bath, and Beyond on sale for $45, is the Ion Profile Pro USB Turntable. I have been transferring lots of 33rpm albums into iTunes and the results are surprisingly good! The turntable also includes a line-in to attach another input peripheral if needed, the ability to transfer 45rmp records, and the connections to allow the turntable to act as part of a regular stereo component system.

The software is provided for the both Windows and the Apple OS, and differs in one aspect. The Windows version of the software creates new tracks during recording in-between songs. One has to baby-sit the Mac version and manually hit a button to create the tracks as the album is being recorded.

The results sound like real albums, with the hisses and scratches, but can easily be cleaned up in an audio-editing program if so desired. I have been recording on the Mac side, and the items run seamlessly into iTunes. So far, I have been recording "niche" albums that are not available for purchase on CD or digitally, such as my highly coveted Rutgers 1975-76 championship basketball season LP, "Run Rutgers, Run"! Am I a true audiophile? No. Do I want to transfer my albums while the technology is still around to do that? Yes. Do I want to finally get rid of some of them? Yes.

The second Ion Audio item I have recently acquired for my parents, is Ion's new version of the Film2SD scanner. I wanted an item that would be easy to use, did not necessarily require a computer in the mix, and produced a good image.

This item arrived yesterday and works like a charm! You simply load the appropriate carrier with four slides, a strip of negatives, or roll film, and manually slide the carrier into the device. You can then rotate or flip the image if you want, and press the button. In under 2 seconds, you can move on to the next one.

There is an SD card inserted in the back of the device, and the scans are saved there. The results from slides that were from the early 1950's (and had not been stored archivally) were great! In addition, even without rotating or flipping, one can easily fix that and any color or contrast concerns in the post-processing time on the computer.

This device can output its screen to a TV, which would allow the user to enjoy their slides as they are scanning (instead of huddling around the screen on the scanner as we were doing). The power cord is a USB-plug adapter, allowing the user to scan directly to a computer if so desired by using the USB cable alone. Here is a link to the user guide if you are interested.

Ion Audio seems to have a whole host of new products on the horizon-- they have announced a fullish-size keyboard that you place your iPhone into and can easily type, a musical keyboard that does the same thing, and a variety of film and print scanners. This may become another of my favorite companies!