The Numark PT-01 and the more expensive Vestax Handy Trax are targeted at those who relish the idea of listening to wax at a record store on their own gear. However, the PT-01 is affordable enough for anybody interested in records, and it's portable enough to shuttle between the living room, picnics, the office, the studio, wherever. The built-in mono speaker isn't loud, but it's sufficient for intimate gatherings. Attached to powered speakers and a hi-fi stereo system, the PT-01 sounded excellent. While their sound doesn't match the deftness, solidness, and audio quality of our much heavier Technics, the Numark reminds you why vinyl is still audio king. (Is the better sound quality offered by turntables worth dealing with their old-fashioned quirks? Make Some Noise.)
The player can spin at 33rpm, 45rpm, and 78rpm and includes an adapter for 45s. The delicate tone arm features auto start/stop and a replaceable stylus; of course, you can also lock it down during transport. The small 7-inch platter includes a felt mat and can accommodate 12-inch records; felt "buttons" in four corners away from the platter protect larger records from abrasion. The platter is pretty stable--you can even scratch on it--but the 12-inch record protrudes a few inches past the unit's footprint. You'll find the controller knobs in the lower-right corner. Here you can adjust volume, tone (remember tone?), and RPM, as well as alter pitch by plus or minus 10 percent. Throw another PT-01, battery-powered speakers, and a mixer into the fray and you have yourself a battery-operated party.
Nestled down the back right of the unit are cool output options: 1/4- and 1/8-inch headphone outs, as well as a master stereo RCA out. You'll also find the AC port and the power switch. Underneath the device is a battery compartment that accepts six D cells; they'll add considerably to the unit's weight, but in general, the Numark remains light. We'll update this review with our own battery tests, though Numark hasn't published any claims.
The beauty of the Numark PT-01 is its portability. It has a rugged built-in handle and a cover that locks securely. Though lightweight, the plastic casing is durable and will withstand minor bumps. At 12 by 12 by 3.9 inches, it's narrow enough to fit into record boxes or crates. We only wish that there was a compartment or a mechanism to store the AC adapter; at times, it's an unwelcome straggler.
The Numark PT-01 is a winner as portable turntables go. Though some are beckoned by the Vestax brand, we like the PT-01 better than the Handy Trax for its overall look, feel, and of course, price.