Back to vinyl.
As a kid I grew up listening to my elder brother and parents vinyls and now, as an adult I have more of an appreciation for the nostalgic hiss and clicks that only an LP can provide.
ION are bringing back that magic with their range of turntables, from basic plug and play through to the more professional level units, such as this one, the ION Pro 500BT.
From the box there’s a fair bit of assembly required.
Thankfully ION provide an info-graphic with detailed instructions to place the ION Pro 500BT together.
From adding the motor belt, the counter weight to the arm and the needle – it’s a construction of ease and satisfaction.
The ION Pro 500BT is not just a record player – it’s the ultimate analogue turntable with both USB and bluetooth builtin.
Once assembled your connection options to start blasting your vinyl collection are RCA to an amp or the mentioned bluetooth.
Simple RCA connection works well – sure it is not the same audio experience that you will get from wireless streaming or HDMI – but it’s not meant to be.
The ION Pro 500BT has a few onboard dials that you’ll need to get grips with too.
Start and stop is for the turntable motor. Always make sure you stop the motor before removing the needle arm to change out or change the side of your LP.
You can plug a 3.5mm connecting headset directly in to your ION Pro 500BT and this has it’s own separate volume dial.
As records are not always full sized (remember 45’s?) the ION Pro 500BT has a switcher knob for this too on it’s wood grain base.
ION have also included USB connectivity. You will need to download software – but once you have this installed plug the ION Pro 500BT in to your PC and on Windows 10, in my test, will recognise it immediately.
Have an old record collection? A few vinyl rarities that you wish had been released digitally? The ION Pro 500BT has you sorted for this.
The idea of USB plug and play is to enable you to convert your vinyls in to MP3s.
Dusting off some older LPs that I have I gave this a go and while each LP conversion does take a while (it of course needs to play the LP through each track) it sure does convert to digital.
Bluetooth connectivity is another matter.
It’s hit and miss – mostly miss.
To connect via bluetooth the ION Pro 500BT needs to be in pairing mode. This part is easy enough as there is a tactile bluetooth button on the front of the unit.
However – it’s a blind pairing. The ION will connect to the nearest bluetooth speaker that is also in pairing mode – or at least broadcasting out and is visible.
I tried connecting to a Konka Tower bluetooth speaker – but to no avail, even though the Konka speaker was in pairing mode and most definitely visible.
The Alexa Studio fared the same – in pairing and visible but still the ION snubbed it.
Eventually I did manage to get the ION to connect to a UE Boom – and remarkably after so many failures with other devices, it connected immediately.
The bluetooth connectivity on the ION Pro 500BT is a nice to have – but my preference is to amalgamate the unit in to my home entertainment and keep it connected to an amp.
The ION Pro 500BT is a beautiful looking turntable with retro aesthetics combined with current technology.
If you’re looking to get back in to the magic of LPs I fully recommend the option rich ION Pro 500BT. This said, if you’re not a tinkerer and want something that ‘just works’ from the box this one wont be for you and you’ll need a more simpler turntable.
ION Pro 500BT – designed for pro’s but really, is easy enough for most to take for a spin.