DIY iPhonola: How To Make a Great iPod Dock Using A Record Player

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The trouble with iPod docks is that they mostly look the same. And when the design is unique, it's usually tacky it's hard to find something distinctive that doesn't look tacky. DIY enthusiast Mlaargh found an old Waters-Conley Phonola "portable" record player at a Goodwill shop for $25. He decided to use it as a base for an iPod dock.

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Initially, Mlaargh hadn't intended to make a dock. He only wanted to harvest the amp, but one thing led to another and the idea of a cool looking iPod dock came to mind. First of all, he tested the amp to make sure it still worked. He also saw that this record player was manufactured in 1959.

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First, he cleaned out the scrap. The unmodified phono on this amp could handle the headphone and line outs of the iPod without distorsion.

For me, it kind of went against intuition, as I had jumpered the audio out of the ipod (via half of an 1/8" audio cable) right into the cut lines coming from beneath the tonearm on the underside of the platter assembly.
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You'll need some electrical know how in order to complete this build. Since this is a very old record player, it's not that complicated though. Basically, you'll need to install the charger and an on/off switch. Mlaargh also installed a neat plexiglass window to see the glowing vacuum tubes. Read on to find out how he did this. The total cost of his build was about $50. [via Make, photos by Mlaargh]

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