May 19, 2009 USB turntables provide an easy way to digitize your collection of vinyl. Usually, it requires a PC. However, a new range of USB turntables from Akai includes a model that lets you record from vinyl, directly to a USB hard drive – without the need of a PC.

Both models in the range, the ATT022U and direct-recording ATT023U, are belt-driven turntables that play 33, 45 and 78 revolutions per minute (RPM). There's a control to adjust pitch and another to minimize the "skating" force that pulls the tone-arm towards the center of the record as it plays, which helps prevent skipping.

The ATT022U and ATT023U include an S-shaped static balanced tone-arm with detachable headshell, audio technica magnetic cartridge, built-in phono preamp and slip pad (which allows budding DJs to produce "scratching" sounds and other special effects without damaging the records).

Although the ATT023U doesn't need a PC, both models can import vinyl recordings to a computer hard drive and export to WAV and MP3 format, using the free Audacity sound-editing software. Soundsoap SE software is also included to remove any pops, clicks or whistles.

The Akai ATT022U and ATT023U USB turntables are PC and Mac-compatible and available from selected Australian retailers for AUD$349.95 (about USD$265) and AUD$449.95 (about USD$345) respectively.

Darren Quick