Still have some old vinyl kicking around the attic that you'd like to offload to the iPod? You've got a few options for converting those soundwaves into bits.
Numark, maker of turntables for pro DJs and consumers, will ship a direct-to-iPod turntable next month that converts vinyl tracks to MP3 files--without a PC in between. The option works with iPod Classic and 5th-gen iPods as well as 2nd and 3rd-gen Nanos. Owners of other iPod models can import music from records into iTunes and then burn CDs or sync with an iPod from there. Bundled EZ Vinyl Converter 2 software for the PC and EZ Audio Converter software for the Mac remove pops and hisses from original recordings during transfer. Gracenote MusicID technology analyzes vinyl content and retrieves artist, song and album info.
The TTi turnable ($449) comes with platter, iPod dock and USB interface and can connect to an A/V receiver without the need for a phono input--a lost feature of most home theater receivers today. Think Sam Ash instead of Circuit City. The TTi will only be sold through musical instrument dealers.
Audio-Technica's AT-LP2DUSB ($229) is Mac- and PC-compatible and bundles a turntable, phono cartridge, software and USB cable for connection to a PC. The automatic turnable spins at 33 1/3 and 45 rpm and plays 7-inch and 12-inch analog disks. A switchable phono preamp enables connection directly to an A/V receiver. Supplied Cakewalk PYRO software converts the analog tunes into MP3, WAV or Windows Media files. Included filtering utilities promise to remove the pops and hisses. If you're looking for that warm LP sound, connect directly to the stereo system using supplied RCA cables.
Sony's new PS-LX300USB turntable also converts musical tracks into MP3 and and plays 33 1/3 and 45 rpm vinyl. Cartridge and PC software are included, along with a built-in phono preamp for use with A/V receivers that don't include a phono stage. Suggested retail price: $150.--Rebecca Day