Pros: Relatively inexpensive, well-made, has input for channeling cassette player
Cons: Does not play 78rpm records, RCA plugs are not detachable
Im comparing the Numark TTusb & Stanton T.90 USB turntables as a music listener with a very large collection of LPs (33rpm), singles (45rpm), & 78rpm records, who is interested in converting my collection to digital format. The Numark TTusb turntable costs less than half the price. Both of these turntables are good values, but serve different users. The Numark has two speeds (33 & 45), while the Stanton has these speeds plus 78rpm.
1. The Numark is well-made, but the Stanton is sturdier, & looks like metal but is mostly heavy-duty plastic, but triple the weight of the Numark.
2. Audiophiles may want to buy a better cartridge than supplied by the Numark for better sound (I purchased a Shure); the Stanton 500.V3 cartridge is an industry standard (but not as good as the Shure).
3. The Numark supplies a plastic 45 adapter which may eventually break, as all plastic adapters eventually do; the Stanton 45 adapter is metal.
4. The Numark RCA plugs are not detachable & must be stored in a position that doesn't allow the metal contacts to touch each other; on the Stanton, the RCA plugs are detachable.
5. The Stanton has a Key Lock, which enables you to keep the pitch the same while increasing or decreasing the tempo, not available on the Numark.
6. The Stanton has several features for DJs which I don't use, but if you always wondered what The Beatles were saying on the "Sgt. Peppers" LP, heres your chance to find out, this turntable has a reverse button.
7. The Numark has far superior set-up instructions & a manual that's clearer & better written. The Stanton has no instructions for installing the components of this turntable (including the counterweight, platter, slip-mat). There are instructions only for adjusting the counterweight after its installed, balancing the tone-arm, & installing the cartridge assembly onto the tone-arm. If all this sounds confusing to you, youd be better off with a turntable that gives more complete directions, like the Numark.
8. The Numark has the normal on/off button & another button to start the turntable, both of which are easy to reach; for non-pros, the triple switches (power, motor, & start/stop) on the Stanton needed to get it going are a bit overkill, & the power button is hidden in a recess in the rear of the unit, & difficult to access.
9. The Numark includes a USB cable thats about 72 inches long, plenty long enough; the Stanton includes a USB cable but its too short (41-42 inches) to reach my USB hub.
10. There is no cue/damping lever on either turntable, which would really help when youre trying to use one hand to put the needle on the disc & using the other hand to click the record button on your computer screen; for double the price, I certainly would have expected one on the Stanton.
11. The Numark has a 1/8 inch stereo input, which allows users to hook up a tape cassette player through the turntable, listen through your computer's speakers, & digitize the cassette. Depending on the output jacks of your cassette player, you may need adapter cables (costing $5-30, but well worth it because you'll then be able to convert your entire cassette library through this turntable). The Stanton does not have any input at all, a big disadvantage when compared with the Numark.
12. The Numark includes free public domain software on a CD, Audacity (the manual is incorrect, as of November 2007, the version included IS the version recommended for Intel Mac computers), which is not intuitive & has advanced features that most users will not use; for some reason, this software does not work well with my Mac OS 10.4.11 system & introduces static to the digitized file where there is none on the record. Audacity allows users to record 78rpm discs on the Numark at 45rpm & then digitally convert the file back to 78rpm. In any case, Audacity is quite poor at noise reduction (I purchased Roxio's Toast with CD Spin Doctor, which is good at managing sound files but also not too good with noise reduction, & also Bias SoundSoap, which is great at noise reduction but not good with file management). Macintosh users dont get a discount, but the Stanton included Cakewalk Pyro 5 (a commercial audio software program) which is usable only on Windows computers; I wasn't able to test that program, but if it works well with Windows computers, that may be the only audio program you need. The Stanton manual mentions that you can download Audacity for free & gives their web address.
The Stanton is more sturdy, has more advanced (DJ) features, but does not have an input jack & costs twice as much as the Numark. The biggest advantage of the Stanton for basic users is the ability to play 78rpm records at their intended speed, which means that you can enjoy the music while digitizing the record, also allowing feedback while the music is playing. With the Numark, you cant very well listen to a record thats playing at the wrong speed, so when youre finished, you may discover a fault in the recording in the first 15 seconds that would have caused you to stop the record, correct the situation, & start over again. With the Stanton, the audible feedback will allow you to immediately stop the recording, saving you valuable time. Another related advantage is that if you have to record the 78rpm disc at 45rpm speed (which is what you have to do on the Numark), it will take you 73% longer to record than if the record can be played at 78rpm. That means that a 3 minute 78rpm record will take over 5 minutes to record on the Numark, AND you wont be able to listen to it while its recording.