Now that the Technics 1200 turntable is a thing of the past, companies are scrambling to fill the void left by this iconic staple of the DJ world. If you’re not scrambling, you better start, because Audio-Technica is ahead of the curve with its AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable. This is a real gem of a turntable. Listen, it looks like a 1200, not sure if that’s by design, but who cares, it’s tight. Oh, and it comes with its own Dual Magnet™ phono cartridge as well, not bad.
But before I get into the details of this turntable, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why do I need a turntable?” The industry is so different now with DVS, controllers and mp3s. I have absolutely no need for a dinosaur (turntable). But that’s not entirely true. What about time coded vinyl for your DVS, need a turntable for that you know? Or your dusty old collection of vinyl in the attic, need a turntable for that as well. What about ripping vinyl to digital, oh that’s right, I do need a turntable. Personally, I still purchase vinyl and own nearly 10,000 albums and singles on wax. I love how it feels and sounds.
So we had the pleasure of having two Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntables on the road, testing them in a live setting, like parties, yeah baby. We settled on a straightforward, ol’skool, two turntables and mixer setup. Four hours of spinning vinyl on these turntables without any major issues, absolutely flawless. Sound quality is tight, although I would replace the RCA cable with an upgrade. Any studio head will tell you that cheap cables will kill your sound quality. So let’s upgrade that or, at the very least, give us the ability to make the switch without having to open the turntable. We also switched out the Dual Magnet™ phono cartridge. It’s good but not great. And you shouldn’t expect it to be great. It’s a free cartridge with a professional grade turntable. We were just totally amazed that it came with its very own cartridge, that’s a major plus.
What about ripping vinyl? The USB capabilities are pretty powerful for those wanting to rip vinyl. It comes bundled with the Audacity software for ripping vinyl to digital? It’s actually plug-&-play, once the software is installed. Again, Audio-Technica makes it pretty straightforward, which is great. You can use features like; remove static, hiss or hum (I prefer that dirty sound with vinyl personally), Spectrogram mode for visualizing frequencies, record and edit 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit sample rate and change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa, just to name a few.
And here’s the best part, it retails for $299 USD. Sure, there are a few 1200’s somewhere on the internet, new or used. But why bother, pick up one or a pair of the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntables. It will probably be one of the best purchases for your DJ studio.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Turntable features include:
- USB output—connects directly to your computer for plug-&-play use
- Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity software digitizes your LPs
- Direct drive high-torque motor
- Selectable 33/45/78 RPM speeds
- Professional cast aluminum platter with slip mat
- ½-inch mount universal headshell with Dual Magnet™ phono cartridge
- Balanced tone arm with soft damping control
- Switchable built-in pre-amplifier with line-level RCA output cables
- Included cables connect to your stereo or powered speakers
- Stroboscopic platter speed indicator
- Forward and reverse play
- PC or Mac with an available USB port
- Voltage selector switch (under platter)