For playback testing I connected the turntable to my amplifier and set it to stereo playback.
At first I was quite taken back by how natural it sounded and I had almost forgotten the fruits of the vinyl format.
The high end sounded simply fantastic. To be totally honest, my playback monitors are nothing to make mention of. And yet still; the unrelenting smoothness of 'vinyl's' high range makes it through.
I have found in my experience, especially with testing this turntable in particular, that the way in which the high end maintains its softness and warmth, even when the volume gets pushed up quite high, is still a testament to the format and also the turntable being used here today.
During my testing of the high-end, no-matter what I listened to, nor at any volume with any amount of treble added through my amp, the high end stayed smooth, crisp and most of all caused no tired sore ears what so ever - Fantastic stuff.
In fact, I haven't heard such a fine high end since I recently took a look at an 'audiophile' sound card from ASUS. There are few things I've heard that compare to the sound of vinyl being re-produced well.
When taking into consideration the mid-range frequencies, the story is much the same really; that being that they are a pleasure to hear using AKAI's turntable.
I found when listening to drum kits, horn sections, percussive or acoustic instruments and the human voice also, that the sound being delivered was some of the smoothest and most natural I've heard in some time. There's big emphasis on the word "natural" here, as this is an almost foreign thing these days with a big trend towards a lot of popular music sounding as un-natural as you like.
How about those all important bass frequencies? They are a must when producing a full rich soundscape with almost any type of music.
In a word, dynamic, like the high and mid-range frequencies above.
AKAI's little ATT023U really does a great job at reproducing strong omni-present low end at all times, no-matter the music being played. I compare the low end to that of 24-bit 96KHz resolution files in the digital domain.
In a sense, when you listen to your vinyls on this turntable, the sound quality is comparable (in many facets) to a high-bit (low-compression ratio) audio file based off a digital system.
So, we know it sounds great in all departments, but how easy is it to actually playback your favorite vinyls?
I'm glad to report it's very easy, as long as you remember to take good care of the needle itself; this by using the small boom arm located at the big end of the tone arm to raise and lower the needle onto the records surface, as well as keeping dust and dirt off the needle by using the dust cover provided when not in use.
Now, the playback of your old 33's is, well, 33 1/3 RPM to be exact and it's the first clearly marked button in a line of buttons at the lower portion of the unit.
Of course, other record sizes are also supported with the use of the small plastic adapter disk and corresponding speed selection.
The other buttons up the side are for recording of your records onto computer hard disk. I believe this can also be done by just using a flash card in the top slots; this to negate having to actually have a computer with you, which is definitely handy.