Do you find that your vinyl collection has taken a back seat to MP3s? If so, you might be in the market for an iVinyl unit, to convert your rare LP gems to tunes for your iPod in a fairly painless manner.

iVinyl is a phono preamp that connects your record deck directly to your Mac. It takes the audio signal as it comes in from the turntable, digitises it, and then pipes it out to your Mac via USB. To record the tracks inside your Mac you need recording software, which Terratec supplies in the box in the form of Roxio's CD Spin Doctor. CD Spin Doctor is a great program, with a clean interface and some handy filters for removing annoying clicks and hiss on the records.

There are two main types of record deck out there: moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC). iVinyl works with both, but does require a high-output MC turntable - check that your deck is compatible with the supplier.

Some people reading this review might be making a mental comparison with one of those USB record decks that came out recently. These are new types of turntables that output music directly down a USB cable to your computer, so there is no need for a phono preamp like the iVinyl.

We have two comments on this. Firstly, the iVinyl box is cheaper and will work with your existing turntable. Secondly, the overall build quality of the USB decks, from the quality of the stylus to the on/off button, is poor in comparison. In the interest of better recordings, iVinyl is better.

The iVinyl is not without problems, which is why it didn't get a higher score. Our main complaint is that it only outputs audio via its USB port, and not through stereo sockets. So, if you want to play records through your stereo system at any time, you need to detach the iVinyl from your turntable and reconnect the turntable to your amplifier. That's not particularly streamlined, but overall iVinyl worked as advertised and produced decent results.