I know Christmas hasn’t arrived yet, but my Mum has given me one of my gifts early, actually my brother and I both got the same gift, and we got it early. Anyone who has read my babbles for any time knows that my family are audio-and-videophiles, Matt and I have walls in our room that are pretty much filled by our stereo and television systems, which are hooked together via our DVD players.
The gift we both got was a new turntable for enjoying our vintage and new vinyl, this one however connects to a pc as well as to a component stereo system; I can hardly wait to do that- be connected to both!
We got our hands on the Ion TTUSB10 from Costco. This is the second time we have found a technical toy at Costco about two years before it is advertised to the general market.
I first checked the sound reproduction through my pc, and that is surprisingly good, and full of the depth and breadth usually reserved for CD players or turntables connected to stereos. Granted my pc has a pair of Altec Lansing speakers for pc with a subwoofer connected to it.
The Ion turntable’s performance and sound quality is close to the same as my other turntable, a Technics SL-Q200 that has been my workhorse from the early 80’s through today.
I have been favourably impressed by my new turntable’s ease of use and installation. Less than an hour from the time I opened the box, I had it connected to my system and ready to go. Unfortunately the hour had already grown too late to play with settings, so the next day I went at it again, with a refreshed mind, and changed the necessary settings.
I then took the time to register the turntable and software, which includes I-Tunes. And found that the only way you will get left and right sides when you record is to register the software. So… fully registered, and working in stereo I spun my first platter.
What did it sound like? Matt popped his head in my room and went to Mum to tell her, “It sounds like a stereo Ma!! Yeah, that’s from Gwen’s computer!!”. I was sitting there with shivers on my arms because the sound wasn’t at all expected.
I had heard that the pc turntables offered near-Mp3 sound quality. The sound quality I got was closer to DBx sound reduction to a metal cassette. The I-Tunes software converted all of my music to their format, and that improved the sound quality of all previously recorded music whether in Mp3 or WAV format.
Now, I’ve already talked about vinyl being back into vogue, and the difference in sound, so we don’t need to cover that ground again. What I do want to talk about is where I get some of my best vinyl from, there is a series of stores across the Valley and beyond that sell quality new and used vinyl, CDs and DVD’s as well as some of the neatest extra goodies you’d want to find.
That is Zia Records, with locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas. The Zia we visit regularly is at Dobson Rd. and Chandler Blvd.. Of all of the record stores we frequent, this store and location boasts the friendliest staff, the widest selection, and great offers. They also have an E-Zine that I subscribe to.
They have in stock, replicas of the Leg Lamp from “A Christmas Story”, posters, books on music, and exotic incenses to match your every mood, and gifts for music lovers of all ages. I think they are the only place that one can find Beeman’s Gum (remember that one kiddie-ohs?).
So, if you’re in the Valley of the Sun, and you are looking for some awesome vinyl, or CDs hit your nearest Zia records to find what you’re looking for and more.