The iPod dock itself is located at the rear left corner of the chassis but unfortunately ION doesn’t supply any Universal Dock Adapters in the box. No problem I hear you say – I’ll just use the dock adaptor that came with my iPod. Well the problem with that is the standard Apple dock adaptors are usually white, which don’t look all that great when used with silver-coloured accessories.
Styling issues aside, the controls for the iPod are all well situated to the right of the tonearm. These allow you to navigate the menu system just as you would normally, with a Scroll knob replacing the iPod’s ClickWheel controller. Recordings on the iPod are made using the built-in Voice Memo recording function, and the LP DOCK features a dedicated Rec Menu button for that purpose.
Underneath on the bottom panel are connections for the captive mains power lead and the RCA (or ‘phono’) audio cable. Depending on your amplifier’s input connections, the audio output can be switched between a lower output ‘phono level’ normally used for turntables, or a higher volume ‘line-level’ output. There’s also a gain knob to adjust the overall output of the audio signal but I was able to leave this set at maximum without any problems. A USB connection is available for connecting the turntable to a computer using the supplied lead. When hooked up to a PC the LP DOCK essentially acts just like an external soundcard, appearing as a new USB audio device in the Sound Control Panel.
Of course like any other turntable, a certain amount of setting up is required before the LP DOCK can be put to work. Installing the platter and fitting the rubber drive belt over the motor spindle is straight forward enough. Setting up the tone arm requires slightly more care, but you can’t really go wrong following the instructions in the handy quick start guide. Once the correct tracking weight and anti-skate adjustment have been set, all that’s left to do is place the felt slipmat on top of the platter, pop your iPod into the dock, and you’re ready to start recording.
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