Review: Sony USB turntable

Last updated 01:09 07/10/2008
WHERE IT'S AT: The Sony USB turntable has good hardware, but bad software.

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I bought my last turntable in the late 1970s and in less than a decade it was made obsolete by the compact disc.

So it's an odd time-shift to be setting up a shiny new turntable and even stranger to be connecting it to my PC.

The reason for this Jurassic Park moment is Sony's awkwardly named PS-LX300USB turntable ($300, see product page), which is based on its appealing PS-LX250H sibling but adds a USB port so it can be hooked up to your Windows computer (alas, Macs are not supported).

Then, with the aid of the supplied Sound Forge Audio Studio software, you can spin your 33s and 45s and have them recorded into modern digital MP3 files. These can be burned onto a CD for more convenient playback and, of course, loaded onto an iPod or other digital music player.

Armed with a stack of favourite '60s LPs, "Operation Vinyl Revival" began.

The biggest hurdle is the cumbersome software that is intended for advanced audio editing and production.

The interface is cluttered and overwhelming for the average user, and Sony's rudimentary instructions didn't help - I couldn't even hear the LP play through the PC's speakers.

For some reason Sony makes you do things the hard way, because lurking under the software's Tools menu is a "vinyl recording and restoration" feature.

This isn't mentioned anywhere in the flimsy manual but it's exactly what you need: a simple step-by-step guide designed specifically to turn an LP into a CD or MP3 with only a few clicks and to listen to the album while it's being recorded.

This includes being able to run filters to clean up pop, crackle and hiss, as well as "normalise" audio peaks.

The only shortcoming is that each side of an album is recorded as a single audio file rather than divided into tracks.

This won't matter if you don't want to skip between CD tracks or add individual songs to an MP3 playlist.

But, if you're willing to roll up your sleeves, you can use the Sound Forge software to edit the recording into individual tracks.


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- Sydney Morning Herald

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