I will more than likely plan to buy one of Frank's new grinders simply because I would like an extra grinder for the unlikely event that I would ever need to send my Titus back to Frank for some repair or update.
I used to have success (significant improvement) with RDT and WDT with my Baratza Forte but have found both unnecessary with the Titus. I analyze the donut's shape - it is almost always the same regardless of the bean. I pay extreme attention to leveling the donut with my finger attempting to get an even/uniform puck as much as possible prior to tamping. There is so little to pay attention to in order to perfect a shot, leveling the donut and maintaining a consistent amount of tamping has become my largest focus that produces ever so slightly improvements in taste. I use the excellent Eazytamp tamper and my extractions are consistently, extremely even. The only time I make shots less than sweet and tasty are when I receive a bag of coffee that is simply not that great.
Oh, if our kids pull shots they tend to tamp somewhat erratically and the shot will sometimes channel a bit and the resultant shots are expectedly less than perfect.
When I first got the Titus I experimented a lot with taste comparisons of various beans when grinding at various levels of fineness (and also RDT and WDT). This was puzzling because compared to my Baratza Forte the Titus produced drinkable shots over a much much wider range of grind coarseness/fineness. And, I found that RDT and WDT was entirely unnecessary - I just found zero improvemen from RDT or WDT. In fact I found it was kinda hard to make a truly bad shot on the Titus - you had to be grinding really course or really fine before shots became undrinkable. I found myself simply in shock at how the same bean ground so that it was too coarse or too fine could still taste pretty darn good.
Now I have found that among the coffees that we buy (all lighter roasts) the sweet spot for amazingly sweet and very predictably wonderful shots can be simply obtained by setting the Titus to pull a weighed input, 18 gram shot, measuring 36 grams on the output in a shot timed to extract between 19 and 22 seconds. 95% of the time my shots pull in 20 or 21 seconds and the taste is precictably heavenly. If the shot for some reason pulls slightly quicker or slower than this (say in 19 or 22 seconds) I adjust the Titus' grind ever so slightly to keep the shots output to 36 grams in 20 to 21 seconds. However, a shot that pulls a little too quickly, in 17 or 18 seconds is extremely drinkable, but ever so slightly leaning towards sour at 17 seconds. A 15 second shot I would drink but I will have known I screwed up. At the fine extremes, if a shot were to pull in 30 seconds it would have some bitterness and I might choose to throw it out. A shot pulled in 25 to 28 seconds I find is ground a bit too fine, still very drinkable, but not as smooth and as sweet as it could be had the shot been pulled between 19 and 22 seconds.
I have found that with some beans (Capanna's Ethiopia Yirgacheffe for example), when the leveled off donut shape for 18 grams is lower than the height of the puck rim (the beans must be heavier or they simply don't grind very fluffy), I increase the dose in order to bring the grind up to the level of the puck rim. For example, by increasing the dose from 18 to 18.5 or 19 grams the the donut shaped grind into the puck will be even (or slightly above) the rim of the puck after finger leveling. Then, I just make sure my output ratio stays at 1:2 in about 20 - 22 seconds and everything is sweet and perfect. If 19 grams in, then 38 grams out, in 20 - 22 seconds.
Ryk, I will try to play around with grinding a little faster or slower. It is interesting that you've discovered some changes to taste profiles by trying this. I have never experimented with varying the Titus' grind rpm - this will be fun to experiment with.
I too have heard that the current batch of Titus grinders is planned to be the last. The only reason I can imagine that Frank would do this is he must feel he will be able to go even further with the new design. It sounds like it might be simpler to implement the phenomenonol engineeering that is Frank's continued goal and hallmark.