Numark TTi Turntable review:

Numark TTi Turntable

The Numark TTi is compatible with most iPod types from the past few years, with the exception of the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPod Shuffle. Many older iPod models are also incompatible, such as the iPod Mini, iPod Nano (first-generation), and any hard drive-based iPod prior to the fifth-generation model.

As far as the turntable is concerned, the Numark TTi is a belt-drive system with an S-shaped tone arm and a standard removable cartridge and headshell. Typical turntable features such as antiskate control, RCA output, speed control, and a tone arm lock are included, as well.

We're happy to see a 3.5mm stereo auxiliary input included, for those times when you want to capture recordings from sources other than vinyl. We wish Numark had included a headphone output, though, allowing you to monitor recordings without hooking up a pair of speakers.

To make a recording with the Numark TTi, all you need to do is place an iPod in the dock, get a record playing, and hit the turntable's record button a few times. Recordings are made using the iPod's integrated voice-memo feature (not available on all iPod models), which encodes to either a 44KHz or 22KHz uncompressed 16-bit stereo WAV file. Pressing the TTi's Select button stops the recording process and offers the option to save the recording. Unfortunately, there's no way to name your recordings on the iPod, so you're left with a chronological list of recording times that offer no clue as to the artist or song you've recorded.

When you sync your iPod back to your computer, the included iTunes software will ask you if you wish to import your recordings, at which point you can rename and organize the files as you see fit. Whether the iPod recording process actually saves any time or headaches compared with a computer-based recording setup is debatable. Inevitably, you'll want to transfer your recordings to a computer in order to name and manage the files, but the ability to keep your turntable and your computer in separate rooms will appeal to many users. You can, however, use the Numark TTi to record your vinyl directly to your Mac or PC, but if you're going this route, an inexpensive USB turntable such as the Ion TTUSB05 will get the job done just as well.

Recording quality on the Numark TTi, whether direct-to-iPod or direct-to-computer, is accurate and free from glitches or distortion. The weakest link in the recording quality equation is the bundled software, which doesn't allow an easy way to perform basic editing or sound enhancements. The included Audacity software, while capable, is too intimidating for novice users, while the EZ Vinyl Converter 2 software is too limited for anyone recording more than a handful of records.

Judged purely on its merits as a turntable, the Numark TTi is more flash than substance. The TTi's mostly plastic construction doesn't do much to dampen vibrations or isolate against noise. Sonically, your records will sound no different on the TTi than on a $100 deck.

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