The iPod and a vinyl turntable might be from different generations, but Numark brings them together superbly with the TTi.
The Numark TTi is a USB turntable with an iPod dock tagged on – allowing you to digitise your vinyl collection straight on to the iPod. It’s also laced with other connections so you can link the system to your existing audio setup. A docked iPod can be used as a source for music playback and, if a computer running iTunes is connected to the TTi, you can also sync your iPod with this system.
The Numark TTi turntable itself is pretty good. Features of the 45/33rpm vinyl record player include a ±10 percent pitch control that lets you tweak the playback speed for better fidelity and an integrated line-level output, meaning you can play music from the turntable or your iPod through an existing setup, just by plugging the system in.
In order to protect the most valuable parts of the device, the Numark TTi does require a certain amount of assembly on first setup. You need to connect the needle, the counterweight for the needle arm, and the metal platter to the system yourself. Youthful iPod users may not be terribly familiar with turntables, but we’re sure granddad will help.
We’re impressed with vinyl playback. The Numark TTi's music playback is warm, and those scratches and crackles that vinyl geeks love so much keep analogue’s charm.
This isn’t just a turntable though – the Numark TTi offers various ways to digitise your ancient records. You can record direct to your iPod (which works pretty quickly), or use a computer and the included USB connection to get MP3 files to iTunes.
The Numark TTi lets you use the Voice Recording feature on a docked iPod, (it works with classic, fifth generation, 2G nano and 3G nano). Put your record on, set the pitch control and speed for best playback, drop the needle and start recording using the controls carried aboard the turntable.
This feature has its limitations – recordings are filed as Voice Recordings with no artist or track information, and recordings are made in one chunk. However, it lets you swiftly make a copy of a record for playback later. It’s important that you connect your Numark TTi turntable to a speaker system when doing this in order to ensure what you are recording is as good as possible. How else will you tell the needle is skipping?
The Numark TTi comes with EZ Vinyl Converter, which automates many operations and even analyses sound to grab track info from Gracenote. Mac users get Audacity – a powerful but unfriendly open-source application. It could do with a few nips and tucks to improve the user interface to make it accessible to less techy people. The inclusion of built-in wizards for simple digitisation tasks – track separation and re-naming, for example – would help.