Rightly so, vinyl has been making a comeback as people rebel against the convenience and low cost of mp3’s in favour of better sound quality, even if it does mean giving up a large part of your home to your collection. If you aren’t sure what format to commit to, the Superior LP from Ion has got you covered with this 7 in 1 unit you can play 7”, 10” and 12” records, CDs, Tapes (remember them?), connect devices via Aux or Bluetooth and if all that fails simply listen to the AM/FM radio.
As well as playing multi formats, you can also record your tapes and LPs to a USB thumb drive, allowing you to listen to your favourite albums on the go, or at your unrefined record-player-free friend’s house (seriously, why are you friends with these people?) If I follow my mums advise and “look with my eyes not with my hands”, the Superior LP looks well made, with a vintage design featuring dials on big physical knobs to turn. However, the moment you start placing your mits all over it, you can tell that looks are deceiving, and the quality isn’t as good as first thought.
The turntable is wobbly by design with a suspended platter to eliminate feedback from it’s built-in fairly high power speakers, with a thin, flimsy tone arm and head shell. The speed button is also plastic and poorly made and the lid doesn’t open all the way, so depending on the light it can be difficult to see the function labels on the controls. The tape deck is also a made from the same nasty, thin plastic and the metal control panel feels thin. The CD player and metal control panel has a slightly better build quality, but the format selection dial is difficult to line up with the labels. There is a built-in speaker with an internal amplifier, so the product is ready to go straight out of the box. 3 speeds to choose from on the turntable (33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM), headphone output, an informative 2-digit LCD display and RCA lineouts if you choose to connect Superior LP to other equipment.
I was surprised by the sound quality - don’t get me wrong it won’t be winning any awards, but, for the build quality and price, it is clean and rounded. It lacks bass and is compressed, but I think a lot of people would still enjoy listening to it. If you are looking for a cheap and simple way to play all your music formats and have a penchant for vintage design, you may love the Ion Superior LP. I wouldn’t expect it to last you a lifetime…or even necessarily a medium time, but it will still look beautiful even when it stops working. RRP £169.99
3 out of 5
7 format options
Good sound quality for price
Lid doesn’t open fully