The Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB  with that smooth silver look appears to be as close to a five-star turntable as it gets for the money. It’s a professional product suitable for those who have some experience with music but aren’t necessarily at the audiophile level yet. When connected to a computer, it can turn vinyl record tracks to digital form. Furthermore, it supports other DJ tools as well and is manually operated in its entirety. It is not recommended for starters, but if you are a novice and looking for your second or third turntable, this is the one for you. Notably, it is a nice upgrade to the lower model AT-LP60.

With an an outstanding range of features an overall much better than the plastic models, the Audio-Technica turntable is packed with functionality for casual Djs and vinyl collection owners.

Audio Technica AT-LP120

  • Direct-Drive turntable with a nice high powered motor.
  • 3 Speeds: 33.1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM.
  • Pitch adjust of 10 percent and 20 percent levels for customization.
  • Adjustable counterweight S-shaped tonearm is beautifully designed.
  • USB cable is included as well as PC and MAC compatible.
  • Comes with built in pre-amp with RCA output.
    Grade: B+
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Hallmark Features

The stereo turntable with a direct drive motor has a USB connection (includes a cable), a pre-built, internal amp (that can be disabled) and three speed levels, along with a plastic pitch slider that appears to be just like metal and definitely acts like it. The tone arm has a well balanced shape and a whole sophisticated mechanism takes care of it. There are controls for the height, the lift and the level, the rest, plus aspects like tone arm stability and locking.

For conversions, Audio-Technica AT-LP120 is equipped with the Audacity software, which works on both PC and Mac. The AT95E cartridge stands out – it ensures a more than satisfying performance and doesn’t come at a high price.

Performance

Firstly, when compared to other models, the sound is rather soft and the rhythm tends to follow suit. While it may sound nicely, there isn’t much detail coming from the tracks played. The pitch lock is controlled with quartz and so it is highly accurate. Users can adjust the pitch with a maximum of 20% higher and also 20% lower and a minimum of 10% both ways as well.

AT-LP120 can create audio files from vinyl tracks. The file conversions are smooth and the quality is very pleasing but not amazing. It manages to reproduce sound with great fidelity though, as ‘far’ as it can get (remember the lack of sound detail) and is always running at the correct speed, thankfully.

Another positive aspect is that the user is visually assisted in tune selection. There is a frequency response between 20 and 20,000 Hz. The turntable can play forward and reverse and will work in conjunction with many programs similar to Audacity, should you wish to find alternatives to this one. There are more positive points to consider: it performs well in low light and all buttons are reliable.

The Design

The AT-LP120 is rather light but definitely looks robust. Almost immediately you will notice that it is quite clearly well reinforced through its dampening. The platter is made of cast aluminum and strong polymer. This model also comes with a plastic cover ( THANK YOU! ) to protect it from dust piling inside the delicate parts. All in all,  it’s a durable product with a built-in strobe light and other customized features that can turn it into a really high quality record player.

Setup Guide: What You Need To Play This Turntable

  • This turntable comes with its own built-in preamp, however it can be disabled and you can install a better one if you wish.
  • You need to buy the power amplifier or receiver separately.
  • You need to buy speakers separately.

However, while choosing the external speakers, don’t forget to ensure that they are compatible with the system. This is probably the cheapest turntable you can buy if you are more than just a casual listener, and that is because it still has the specs and quality to allow you to fabricate a nice overall setup.

Conclusion: The Quality Promise

Audio-Technica has been creating products that served well in live tours, or which were fit for recording in a studio, products that enabled broadcasting and facilitated events in corporate mediums or in other kinds of company/institution environment.

Well-built and packed with functions, this doesn’t fall short to the Audio-Technica high standards. It won’t be difficult to have it installed and start using it. What’s more impressive is that it’s a budget range turntable. As it’s priced between $249 and $300, you won’t be paying that much for this level of performance. The AT-LP120 means striking a good balance between the price and the capabilities.

It may not compare to the more expensive belt driven designs in terms of sound, but for the casual spinner it is well fulfilling. And also for that reason, it is definitely the best turntable under $300.