STUFF ESSENTIALS - Vinyl and cassette rippers

Even in 1988, five years after the launch of CDs, we bought 200 million vinyl albums. That's a lot of shiny black plastic, and much of it is still kic

Even in 1988, five years after the launch of CDs, we bought 200 million vinyl albums. That's a lot of shiny black plastic, and much of it is still kicking around in lofts, cellars and second-hand shops. Luckily it's now easier than ever to spin that vinyl or cassette tape for one last time and digitally resurrect its sweet, sweet sound...

Numark TTX USB £295

www.numark.com

A professional-spec DJ deck (above) festooned with digital tricks, including USB output and bundled EZ Vinyl Converter software for easy ripping. DJs will love the variable-torque direct-drive motor, pitch control and flashy BPM counter. Very well built with great sound, but you'll have to supply your own cartridge.

Plus Deck £80

www.firebox.com

This tape deck lives in one of your computer's drive bays and is a neat solution for ripping cassettes, but you'll need to know your way around the insides of a PC to install it. Control is either via software or the front-panel buttons. Works well, but high-speed dubbing would have been a nice option.

Pro-Ject Debut III USB £210

www.project-audio.com

The Debut III is a well-respected turntable, which makes this USB variant the pinnacle of vinyl archiving. High-grade components, including a decent Ortofon cartridge, assure your tunes are transferred with punch, weight, definition and sparkle – even if you have to remove the platter to switch between 45 and 33rpm. No bundled software, but the all-singing, all-dancing Audacity freeware will do the job.

Ion Tape2PC £100

www.iwoot.com

The chances are that any old tapes you want to convert to MP3 are already in a pretty sorry state, so it won't matter that the double-decked Tape2PC will rough them up even further. Quality isn't great – those old Peel Sessions won't sound half as good as you remember – but it's easy to use with the bundled PC or Mac software.

Terratec Phono PreAmp iVinyl £100

www.terratec.co.uk

If you already own a decent turntable, this box will let you harness its superior sound quality for ripping purposes, funnelling either a phono or line-level source through your computer's USB port via some quality analogue-to-digital components. Roxio CD Spin Doctor software is included. Gets great results with the right source.

Ion USB Turntable Classic £90

www.firebox.com

We wouldn't expect audiophile sound quality at this price, and we haven't got it. What we do have is a simple way of recording 33 and 45rpm vinyl to a PC or Mac with passable fidelity, all set up and ready to go straight out of the box. Tread carefully as you're ripping, though – there's virtually no damping on the deck.