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TTUSB05 Turntable

by Ion Audio
Photo shows a view of the Ion Audio TTUSB05  turntable from above. The cartridge/needle assembly is detached from the tonearm and resting on the body of the record player.
Retail Price: $149.95
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Price last verified: Monday, February 26, 2024
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It's a plastic USB turntable, through and through but at least it doesn't have a ceramic cartridge. Listen to the Ion TTUSB05 samples. What you hear is what you get- you cannot upgrade this turntable.



Turntable Quality Checklist
Review of the Ion Audio TTUSB05
Details and Specifications
Photos and Pictures
Sample Audio Clips



Turntable Quality Checklist

Score: 1 out of 6
Moving Magnet Cartridge or Better
Adjustable Anti-Skate Compensation
Metal Platter
Upgradable Cartridge/Stylus
2 Grams or Less Tracking Force
Adjustable Preamp Gain




Review Date: February 24, 2009

Turntable Quick Facts

The Good

  • Easy to use software for Windows and Mac
  • Treads lightly on your records (for the price)
  • Almost no assembly required

The Bad

  • Software is barebones and inflexible
  • Plastic platter
  • Defective on arrival



If you're only willing to part with $100 for a USB turntable, the Ion TTUSB05 offers a lot for your money. It features easy to use (though very limited) software. The needle exerts little pressure on your vinyl compared to the Crosley and Audio-Technica turntables. Take it out of the box and it is nearly ready-to-go (assuming it arrived in one piece, Knowzy's was in three).

Its all-plastic construction reminds you that the Ion Audio TTUS05 is not a high-end turntable by any means. But for less than $100, you could do worse.


A Decent, Cheap Cartridge

The TTUSB05 is Ion Audio's next-to-bottom-of-the-line turntable. Only the portable iPTUSB is lowlier in their USB turntable line-up.

Despite its ranking and price, it does feature a moving magnet cartridge, as opposed to a ceramic cartridge featured on the Crosley. The difference in sound quality between these two types of cartridges should be evident when listening to the samples.

The TTUSB05's cartridge also puts little pressure on your records compared to Audio-Technica's moving magnet cartridge- 3.08 grams vs. 4.54 grams. The less "tracking force" a cartridge puts on your vinyl, the longer it will last.

Vinyl enthusiasts like to see that tracking force number under two grams. Closer to one gram is even better. However, cartridges with such low tracking force start at around the price of this turntable and get much more expensive from there. And, unlike the higher-end Ion Audio turntables, the cartridge on the TTUSB05 is not replaceable.


What Else is the TTUSB05 Made Of?

While the Audio-Technica turntable features an aluminum platter, the TTUSB05's platter is made of plastic. A heavier platter leads to steadier playback. This is perhaps one reason why Audio-Technica publishes their specifications (particularly Wow and Flutter) where Ion Audio publishes absolutely no specs.

Like the Crosley turntable, the TTUSB05 is semi-automatic. This means the tonearm returns at the end of the album but it's up to you to place the needle on the record at the beginning. The fully automatic Audio-Technica starts playing at the press of a button.

The turntable comes almost completely assembled. All you have to do is place the mat on the platter and connect it to your computer.


Defective on Arrival but Easy to Fix

It's amazing that the Audio-Technica was the only turntable Knowzy purchased that didn't arrive broken in some way. On the Ion TTUSB05, the cartridge had fallen off the tonearm and the stylus had slipped off the cartridge (see second photo).

This wasn't difficult to fix. Both pieces snapped back together and the TTUSB05 played records just fine.

One concern was that the stereo balance might be off if the needle skewed one direction or the other. However, watching the meters, the channel balance was visibly better than the Audio-Technica, which arrived in perfect condition.

The whole experience makes it tempting to jump to the conclusion that quality control is an issue with some manufacturers of these cheap USB record players.


Medium Volume Level, May Need Help

Unfortunately, most USB turntables do not let you set the recording volume. All of the turntables featured here record at a fixed volume.

The recording volume of the TTUSB05 is between the Crosley (quite low) and the Audio-Technica (possibly too loud).

On one record, Gorillaz, the Audio-Technica exceeded peak volume. This wasn't a problem for the Ion Audio turntable.

However, the Ion Audio's lower level means reaching for the volume knob when shuffling your LP music in with your digital music. Your vinyl files will sound much softer in comparison.

You can fix this somewhat by using software to "normalize" the volume after you're done recording. The Audio-Technica's loudness may allow you to skip this step.


Easy to Use but Barebones Software

If you don't consider yourself computer savvy, Ion Audio's EZ Vinyl Converter makes recording your LPs simple. The downside is that it may be too simple for your needs.

There's a full review of EZ Vinyl Converter in the USB Turntable Comparison Guide. Briefly, here's what you should know.

It is extremely easy to use: It guides you through the entire LP ripping process, from dropping the needle, to creating tracks to naming the songs to creating MP3s.

Creating new tracks is very imprecise. You need to press a button as each song is ending. It is difficult to get just right and your only recourse is to re-record the entire album.

Mac users rejoice: Both Mac and Windows versions ship with the turntable.

Innovative feature automatically figures out the album name and song titles. Just don't try to use it over a dial-up Internet connection.

There's a lot it doesn't do: Adjusting volume, removing clicks and hiss, exporting to formats other than MP3, trimming silence at beginning and end of the record and most mistakes are only correctable by starting over.



Details and Specificatons

Turntable Basics
Suitable for 78 RPM?No
Upgadable Cartridge?No
CD Burner?No
SD Card, USB Flash DriveNo
iPod DockNo
SoftwareEZ Vinyl, EZ Audio, Audacity
Tape Player, RadioNo
Remote Control?No


USB OutputYes
Line OutRCA
Phono OutNo
Headphone OutNo
Line InNo
Ground WireNo


Turntable Construction
Cartridge TypeMoving Magnet
Cartridge MountPermanent
Cartridge Make/ModelGrooveTool (iCT04)
Adjustable Anti-SkateNo
Adjustable GainNo
Speeds33.3 and 45 RPM
Automatic FeaturesSemi-automatic
Tonearm CueYes, Button
Tonearm Height AdjustmentNo
Offset Tonearm?Yes
Adjustable FeetNo


Turntable Features
Adjustable Pitch?No
Pitch Lock?No
Reverse (Backward) PlayNo
Strobe Light?No
Cue LightNo


Signal to Noise (S/N)Not Published
Wow and FlutterNot Published
Vertical Tracking Force (VTF)3.08g1
Tracking ErrorNot Published
Effective Tonearm LengthNot Published
Speed VarianceNot Published
Counterweight RangeNot Adjustable
Cartridge Weight RangeNot Applicable
A/D Resolution44.1kHz, 16-bit
Dimensions (W x D x H)Not Published
WeightNot Published

1  Measured by Knowzy using this tracking force scale*. Figure not from manufacturer.



Photos and Pictures

Photo shows a view of the Ion Audio TTUSB05  turntable from above. The cartridge/needle assembly is detached from the tonearm and resting on the body of the record player.
Detached Cartridge Upon Arrival

Like three out of four turntables ~$100 turntables Knowzy tested, the TTUSB05 had a serious defect.


Close-up photo shows the cartridge and stylus unit laying on the plastic turntable plinth (body).
Close-Up of Disconnected Cartridge

Fixing it was pretty easy- it slid and snapped in to the head shell. But this part is not supposed to be removable!


Photos shows belt around a pulley through a hole in the bare turntable platter on the Ion Audio TTUSB05.
How the Belt Connected to the Pulley

Before the mat is installed, you can see the belt through the platter. This is a passive pulley. The motor pulley is not user accessible.


Close-up photo of the cartridge and stylus on the Ion Audio TTUSB05 turntable. Platter with mat is partially visible on left side of photo.
Cartridge Close-Up

The 'GrooveTool' in all of it's glory! 3.08 grams (Knowzy's measurement) of tracking force and no anti-skate.


Overhead photo of the Ion Audio TTUSB05. The dustcover is raised and the platter is empty. The tone arm is in resting position.
Assembled and Ready to Play

The TTUS05's platter is plastic, despite the shiny highlights you see around the edges.


Marketing photo shows the Ion Audio TTUSB05 from above. Platter mat has 'Ion' logo across its width.
Marketing Photo

Idealized photo from the marketing minds at Ion Audio/Numark. Knowzy's didn't have logo on mat.




Sample Audio Clips

Album Cover: The Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business

The Black Eyed Peas - Dum Diddly

Source: Ion Audio TTUSB05

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Michael Franti and Spearhead - All Rebel Rockers

Michael Franti And Spearhead - A Little Bit Of Riddim

Source: Ion Audio TTUSB05

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd - On the Run

Source: Ion Audio TTUSB05

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Steely Dan - Aja

Steely Dan - Peg

Source: Ion Audio TTUSB05

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Album Cover: Fleetwood Mac's Self-Titled Album

Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon (Abused LP)

Source: Ion Audio TTUSB05

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 0:30
Play Button

McDonald's Million Dollar Menu Sweepstakes Single

Source: Ion Audio TTUSB05

Play Button
MP3 (192Kbps VBR)
Duration: 2:40

Listen to recordings from other turntables on our USB Turntable Samples page.




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Originally Published:  Wednesday, January 18, 2012, 10:57 PM PT

Last Updated:  Thursday, January 19, 2012, 12:05 AM PT

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