Best of both worlds
This whole having to keep everyone happy lark is a bit of a nightmare for anyone in the deck design business. Numark obviously spent time looking at the needs of DJs and did their best to please as many people as possible without alienating anyone. In the DJ world, there’s a basic split between S-arm toting regular position mix DJs and the rather more gymnastic straight arm battle positioners – and Numark have managed to cater for both camps with style.
Depending on your rotational preference, the TTX has 2 large start/stop buttons in the corners. For the more scratchy amongst you, this is a god send as it means that lefties and righties get an button for each hand. These come complete with brake and start dials just above the buttons. These give a 0-9 seconds adjustment range, improved from 0-6 seconds on the original TTX1. It takes a good few turns to effect the whole range and i would have liked it to be effective in perhaps one turn for some more flexibility in deck techniques.
One real innovation implemented by Numark is the user configuration of the somewhat stiff pitch slider and speed controls. Again, depending on your preference, you can simply unscrew the controls and swap them round. So for battlers, the pitch won’t be obstructed by the tone arm. And it doesn’t stop there – the display also auto-rotates, so no cricking your neck to read the big blue light.
It’s a nice move, but for those who use other people’s decks on a regular basis, this benefit might actually be a hindrance. I’ve certainly got used to having the pitch in a more battle friendly position and very much missed the second start stop button while reviewing the Gemini TT-04 recently.
When two arms are better than one
The tonearm assembly is very solid and unlike any other on the market. Of course you get full lockable height adjust (though I’ve never used it) from 0-6mm. And again, you also get the standard anti-skate control as well. The pivot itself is more like a seesaw than a suspended gimbal style as favoured by most other manufacturers. This means that the tonearm assembly is connected directly to the bearing, which while being simpler, has the potential to create greater tracking forces because of increased friction. Doesn’t seem to effect the Vestax PDX arms and nor does it on the TTX.
Here’s the clever bit. Remarkably – and backed up with a patent – Numark allow you to swap between S and straight arms using the same connector as your headshell. Both are supplied and work with varying levels of success. The S-arm being longer thus a tad heavier comes with a small counter balance that you screw into the end of the tonearm. Being in the straight arm camp, I experience 99% skip free performance (surpassed only by Vestax’s Dynamic Balance arm) whereas the S-arm does seem to suffer considerably from the forces at play. It’s fine for mixing but without some experimentation with tonearm weights, height adjusting and anti-skip, you’re not likely to be as happy with straight arm as you would like. With the S-arm, adjusting the height does improve performance, but at the expense of record wear.