Audio Technica AL LP120 USB Turntable Review

Audio Technica LP 120 USB Close up

With the death of the Technics SL1210, DJ’s everywhere have been searching for a worthy replacement.

Can the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB be the ultimate successor?

Even at first glance it looks like the design department at Audio-Technica used tracing paper when creating this record player and took their inspiration form the legendary Technics 1200 series. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. So when buying a record player take this little beauty into account.

As vinyl record player reviews go, setting it up was an uncomplicated process and all it specs make it an ideal choice on paper compared to its competitors. Once all plugged in and working the first thing I notice is the whir of the direct drive motor and an ever so slight earth humming, Neither of these are noticeable once playing your favorite vinyl

Whats under the hood?

It comes with an Audio-Technica AT-P2 cartridge (Not supplied in the UK Market, despite being pictured on the box) and a tone arm which can play at 33.3, 45 & 78rpm. The USB port around the back of the unit can be linked straight to your PC or Mac using the bundled Audacity software. It records straight to your hard drive, courtesy of this turntable with built in pre-amp.

The Pre-amp is a nice little bonus, so taking it out of the box and plugging in to some kind of powered speakers that had an analogue input is easy and can save you a small amount of your hard earned cash as no pre-amp is required. This in turn cuts down of the complexity of your setup (Less wires are a good thing).

It’s a mixture of plastic and metal which feels solid and looks pretty good. The pitch slider clicks once centered and a handy LED will illuminate at zero. The other buttons have the same feel and resistance you want on a decent record player. The pitch button will switch between 10% and 20% and the Forward / Reverse is accompanied by another LED light that’s tells you which way the turntable will spin.

audio-technicalp120usb2Inbuilt cables are so 80’s and the RCA cables are permanently attached, this is an obvious cost saving exercise and not a welcome one. Another thing that does bother me is the poor quality, thin piece of plastic mildly disguised as the Tone arm locking clamp. This looks flimsy and I wouldn’t like to put it to the test.

As far as sound quality goes, its again on par with the Technics.

Clean crisp top end, a solid low frequency base and good to mid range clarity and a remarkable quiet background. In testing I noticed that better sound can be had by making sure it’s not connected via the USB port, the USB port when connect does give a little interference.

When buying a record player, consider, would I buy it?

Overall, this is an excellent piece of kit. It has everything and more for a budding or professional DJ needs. So if you were happy with your Technics 1200 or 1210, then you will be 99% happy with one of these.

I’m just the 1% who wouldn’t.

In the next section we will find out what the best speakers for turntables are, as well as the best in ear noise cancelling headphones.


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