Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB Direct-Drive Turntable Review

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As the digital age advances, I appreciate the older technology products more and more. One of the best ways of enjoying good musical sound is through the use of a turntable. Those that have predicted the demise of the record player are mistaken in more ways than one, Yes, indeed, the sales of even the best record player are down substantially, but a million units or more are sold every year all over the world. In this Audio-Technica AT-LP 120 review, we explore all the features found in this great music maker, the likes and dislikes from using one, and if it should be included in the list of the top 10 best record players of all time.

The Audio-Technica LP120 comes with all the features required to digitize your vinyl record collection. It is capable of playing both long and short rpm records. If you ever wanted reverse playback of any vinyl record this is the ideal unit to use. Before we get deep into all its features, let’s examine the company behind the product.

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Brief History of Audio-Technica

While the invention of the first phonograph is credited to Thomas Edison, it was other creators that took it to another level before it was widely available to the buying public. The unit Thomas Edison invented in 1877 was crude, but it was the first to show that reproducing a recorded sound was possible.

It was not until 1887 when the gramophone was created by Emile Berliner that the masses got to experience the essence of having a music player right in the living room. In those days. only the rich or the well to do middle class could afford a record player.

From the desire of emerging tech companies to make the record player sound better, and more accessible to the public, came the Audio-Technica Corporation. It was established in 1962, by Mr. Hideo Matsushita. In the 1960s, Japan was still recovering from the two atomic bombs dropped by the United States of America during World War 2.

The AT-1 Stereo Cartridge was one of the first products created by this company. In 1969, the world got a taste of what Audio-Technica is capable of, with the introduction of the micro-cassette recorder. Five years later, the company shocked the world by bringing out its version of headphones.

Audio-Technica Corporation was the pioneer of the technology that made microphones resistant to wireless devices like computers, cordless phones, cell phones, and Bluetooth devices. It is rare to find a movie set or recording studio not using microphones and headsets made by this company. Audio-Technica holds over a dozen patents to this day.

Now that we know that the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB turntable is from a company that’s a leading force in the creation of high-performance, sound-enhancing products, let’s see if the features are as good as widely advertised.

Audio-Technica AT-LP 120 Features

To music lovers that appreciate what it’s like to hear sound from a vinyl LP player, the list of features embedded inside the AT-LP 120 will make the most sense. If you’re younger, or just new to what a record player can do, just know that the list of features is what enable this device to output great sounds, even from older vinyl LP records.

The Design

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The design style is similar to the older models, but with some improvements in its durability, and handling capabilities. It is a direct drive turntable, which means the motor is right underneath where the LP-record is placed and you do not have to worry about any worn out belt.

There is an on/off dial button that does exactly what it’s supposed to. The included start/stop button can be utilized as the user sees fit. This button is good to use when changing LP’s or moving the stylus pin to a different part of the vinyl record. The LP record player from Audio-Technica is available for purchase in two colors, black, and silver.

The red light incorporated into the design is used to show the available speeds levels that can be selected. This setting offers selectable options to play 78, 45, or 33 RPM vinyl records. There is strobe light that guides if you want to manually drop the pin to a particular section of the vinyl record. The user can also use the switch to achieve the same dropping result.

One of the biggest issues with record players is the accumulation of dust. This unit has a cover that can be left upright or removed during use. The four rubberized feet hold the record player steady, as long as it is placed on a flat surface.

Best Direct Drive Turntable

All the advantages attributed to direct drive turntables are present in this unit. It offers faster playback of sounds without much distortion, which is why it was favored by DJs before the digital music era took over.

USB Connection

If you want to transfer your vinyl LPs into the digital age, this is the right turntable to buy. With the USB connection to your computer, all the music outputted by the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 will be converted to digital audio files. The link to the free recording software is found in the owner’s manual, which is required to make digitization seamless.

Phono Preamp

Unlike the older version, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 is equipped with a detachable output cable. But the biggest buzz is the built-in phono Preamp, which can enhance the sound coming from the LP record player into any stereo sound system.

Options, Upgrades & Tweaking Possibilities

We love the fact that this record player from Audio-Technica is made with a headshell that’s both removable and changeable. Another part that can be adjusted is the stylus, which is where the pin is located. AT-LP120 allows for adjustments to prevent or eliminate distortions during playback. For those that want to hear some of the “crazy” messages embedded in popular songs, the “reverse playback” feature is there to be used.

Audio-Technica LP120 Pros & Cons

Just like any tech product, there are advantages and disadvantages present in the use of the record player Audio-Technica AT-LP120;

Pros:

It is one of the best all-in-one turntables for those seeking to digitize any type of vinyl record collections
The platter is made from die-cast aluminum
Comes with both anti-skid and anti-skate control features
Designed to play different RPM speeds
Good reverse playback option
Offers the best way to transfer old vinyl LPs into digital audio files

Cons:

No auto stop when it reaches the end of the vinyl record
Some might find it pricey

Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB Turntable Review Video

If you prefer the Audio-Technica AT-LP 120 review to be in presenter format, the video listed below will do justice to some of the amazing features, while listing some of its shortcomings. The link below will take you directly to the latest feedback from users.

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Conclusion

The AT-LP120 turntable is appealing to the eyes and comes with many features absent from some of the high-end record players heavily marketed online. Giving music lovers the ability to turn old LPs into digital audio files is a feature that cannot be ignored.

As an audiophile myself, I do admit assembling this record player will require a few minutes of your time. For those not familiar with turntables I suggest you read the owner’s manual before attempting to put the product together. Luckily, the manual is detailed and provides a step-by-step guide for error-free installation.

Ask any vinyl LP devotee about the prowess of Audio-Technica the manufacturer. I grew up with an Audio-Technica record player/radio station combo unit and it lasted for many decades. My parents owned it before I was born and it was still working when I moved out. The manufacturer is well-known and respected within the industry and based on that alone, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB turntable should be included in the list of the top 10 best vinyl record players of all time.

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