One curious note I discovered after recording several songs to the iPod and then subsequently relabeling the songs through iTunes was that each song, when I played them, wouldn't go back to the beginning. I repeatedly had to drag the small black dot at the top of the iTunes song screen to the left. I then used the ol' noodle and decided to check each song's 'Get Info' options. Sure enough, if you right click the song, go to 'Get Info' then 'Options,' you have to uncheck the box that says 'Remember playback position'.
Songs are wonderfully recorded as WAVs to your iPod at their highest level possible—1,411 kbps, which, if you've dealt with scores of mp3 and mp4 files, the highest they go to is 320 kbps. So what does that mean? Well, on a technical level and in layman's terms, the overall fidelity is unbelievably high but you won't necessarily be able to discern much of a difference—quality-wise without the use of a mid- to high-range surround sound stereo system, but I tested out both ranges on a high-end 5.1 surround sound system courtesy of KEF and I really wasn't able to hear that much of a difference, but then again, while I do consider myself a pretty good audiophile, I'm nowhere as close to any of you who might be reading this review (right?).
First impression: Blown away! I've never owned a turntable, much less vinyl- although I was raised on vinyl but have embraced the digital marketplace with open arms. The sound was quite incredible and I was only listening to the music through my 2.1 Boston Acoustics speaker system—packaged with a now old Gateway desktop system, but the speakers still sound and replicate digital music quite beautifully.
Although the TTi has a wonderful option to utilize a pitch slider that ranges from +10% to -10%, I only dabbled with it and didn't apply to this review.
Jose Maiato, one of Numark's tech support techies, told me that the cartridge or stylus on the TTi, while a stock stylus, will do more than an adequate job in terms of playing your music repeatedly but he did stress that if you plan on playing and/or recording from mostly 78's, that you consider changing the head-shell to a heavier model in order to appreciate hearing the deeper bass signals and other richer, textured sounds that may not be fully realized or defined with the stock cartridge.
The EZ Vinyl Converter 2 software was fun and easy to use and specifically designed for the casual or novice beginners. The one thing I highly recommend is that when you use the software make sure to follow each step all the way through to converting the files into your iTunes library. The reason is that if you X-out of the program after recording your music but before converting them into your iTunes library, you will delete all of the files you just recorded. Of course I learned this the hard way three times over.
The Gracenote functionality when using the EZ Vinyl Converter program is, for the most part, fairly accurate as it searches for relevant track information pertaining to your record selection but more often than not it was quite helpful. And if and when it did not present any one selection that pertained to what I recorded, you can always type in the correct song information. The folks at Numark didn't call it "EZ" for nothing but like all new techie products such as the TTi, just make sure that you read the instruction manual well and be mindful of your computers various sound and device settings.
The tone arm looked well-made but in fact was a bit on the flimsy and fragile side- but then again this isn't a product to treat haphazardly. It should be handled with the utmost of care, especially since vinyl needs to be handled accordingly. Screwing on the counterweight on the back of the tone arm was simple enough and balancing the arm itself took a matter of moments.
All in all, I think that for an entry-level to mid-range turntable, Numark's TTi is dynamic and well worth your investment in both money and your time. Sure, there are plenty of higher-end models that may or may not suit one's audiophile's various fancies but the iPod integration capability alone especially in such a cramped digital conversion market is something you really should consider.
Even hooking up the supplied USB cable was fun and certainly easier. Adaptability and connectivity was quite easy—again, provided your OS' service packs are updated—recording your music will bring a newfound happiness back into your musically inclined life if it hasn't already.
Overall, I'm enjoying Numark's TTi product and even though I'm now asking various family members to provide me with some or all of their record collections for me to transfer, I know that the process will be long and arduous but if you're like me and you're a music-phile, time, although fleeting shouldn't stop you from barreling through record after record.
A few Cons:
1. No protective dust covering.
2. No small plastic cap to project the iPod dock's connective pins.
3. Stylus, although good, may need to be upgraded to accommodate heavy 78rpm loads.
4. Audacity software not always effective when it comes to taking out pops, crackles, and/or hisses
5. The iPod Classic, iPod 5th Generation, iPod Nano 3rd Generation, and iPod Nano 2nd Generation iPod models are, as of this review, the only iPod models capable of both recording and playback.