Numark's USB TTi is a revolutionary way to convert your vinyl to your computer, or even better—directly to your iPod. This is quite a feat when you consider that when Apple debuted the iPod in 2001 it didn't hit the mainstream until 2003 and not many people, even in 2003, truly knew the longevity of, let alone the massive ways the iPod would have firmly integrated itself into the mainstream. The truly neat aspect to being able to record a record directly to your iPod without having to hook up any RCA cables or go through your computer via a USB cable was enough for me, but there are still enough "true" audiophiles out there who firmly believe that the way of the vinyl is just that and there aren't any substitutions for the way that vinyl's unique sound reproduction qualities can be replicated in the digital medium. Personally, I think that it comes down to where you are in terms of how each audiophile has chosen to adopt the digital revolution or not, and by that I mean whether your preference leans towards the CD or mp3 technology, or whether you'd rather only listen to vinyl but time is a significant issue and if you have the time to convert your extensive libraries to the either digital formats, it's well worth it.
Right off the bat, though, with regard to your operating system, in both Windows XP and Vista, you have to change their respective default sound selections. With regards to Windows Vista, provided that you downloaded the Service Pack 1 utility, any one of your USB audio devices may not work.
The TTi comes with a CD loaded with two software programs. One is the EZ Vinyl Converter 2 software interface or the more advanced Audacity utility software that enables you to "wash" the sound through various quality filtration programs in order to fine-tune the music. In my tests using Audacity, the software didn't always take out all of the pops, hissing, or other sound imperfections as dust particles and other small debris are usually the culprit leading to poor sound quality. Unfortunately, the small record collection that was passed down to me via an aunt was not kept in some kind of hermetically sealed container, thus I had to carefully clean many of the records. Still, transferring the records, although time consuming, was fun in that I seemed to take a greater amount of care, due diligence, and respect for a medium I grew up around but never really got to know.
The TTi's learning curve, provided that you aren't computer- and/or iPod-challenged, falls in the medium range and as long as you follow the well laid-out instruction manual Numark has carefully taken the time to instruct you on, you shouldn't have a problem converting your vinyl; but it's not a fast process as you do have to monitor all of your recordings.
Unpacking the TTi unit, I immediately took note that it's constructed well. The platter is metal, a good sign in terms of durability, and all small parts—the counterweight, the pre-mounted cartridge, and the 45-rpm adapter were all easily located via the clever "eye" stickers that adorned both sides of the Styrofoam innards that also housed the turntable unit. Sadly, there wasn't a protective cover.
Being a somewhat early adopter, I decided to jump on the Windows Vista (Home Premium) bandwagon after deciding to purchase a Dell desktop while my four year-old HP laptop would, I decided, be lovingly demoted to being used as my upload and download station for my iPod per my Numark iDJ2 console.
At first glimpse, the iPod dock on the TTi appears flimsy in that there's no back support for the heavier 160-GB iPod that I own. Once I carefully connected the iPod into the dock, minus any unnecessary forcing, the iPod seemed securely in place but I think a better support system could have been employed.
On the lower right hand side of the TTi is where access to your iPod is granted via a small scroll knob along with a Menu, Select, and Rec. Menu buttons in addition to forward, reverse, and play/pause buttons. For recording to happen, you must access the Voice Memo mode and while the instruction PDF warns you not to make any file changes to a recording until after recording, which was fine, but the confusing part came when I had to remember the order in which I was recording records, whether it was Side A followed by Side B of Record 1 of Gladys Knight & The Pips' Anthology set followed by Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions." Unlike when you hook up the TTi via the supplied USB cable to your computer, you have nearly immediate access to the Gracenotes company, which uploads a majority of an artist's information, but when going directly to the iPod, this information is not otherwise accessible and therefore must be input after you record to the iPod. To me, this was a minor inconvenience as tweaking the sound quality of the unit and therefore marrying both the iPod and the TTi is crucial to future recordings that you may want to embark upon. After all was said and done, I preferred to record one whole side of a record, then go back to make sure that the conversion process worked to my satisfaction. Again, this took some time to perfect but perfection didn't necessarily come so easily.