January 2012 Paul McCollum
Powered by USB or 4x AA batteries, the ION Audio Duo Deck packs a ton of function into a very portable package. It can play 45s or LP albums and the slightly more modern cassettes over a small speaker. The deck is completely standalone, perfect for relaxing on the roadside and chilling to some serious analog tunes. Besides providing power for the Audio Duo deck, the USB connection can also be used to capture the audio as it is played and convert it to MP3 in real-time. The batteries may not last too long spinning the cassette or album wheels so you’ll want to make sure to pack a USB battery or keep the included power supply with you.
ION does provide EZ Converter software to make quick work of the conversion or preservation of your collection. Free software Audacity, should be on your list to clean up any converted vinyl music as degradation and noise removal filters are freely available. So if you still haven’t gotten around to transferring all your classic Motown albums or jean-jacket-romance mix tapes, you really should get to it. While Dick Clark may be set to live forever your music won’t be so lucky. No word on price or release date yet but ION has a good history of keeping things under budget. You can expect to pay between $70 and $110 when it finally hits shelves.