Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Turntable Review

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)
By | 2016-12-02T15:28:03+00:00 August 25, 2011|Reviews|5 Comments
  • Reticuli

    If you replace the RCA cable and you are not using the internal phono preamps on the decks (which you shouldn’t anyway) you need to use very low capacitance cables. Phono cartridges require that. You will totally screw up the electrical loading of the external phono preamps if you use ordinary line-level RCA cables.

    This particular turntable has been around in some form almost as long as the 1200, but I believe it is simply a pulse direct drive rather than a linear one like the Technics. The continuous motor torque application on the Technics (rather than it pulsing off and on) is chiefly what makes them such an excellent DJing decks, not to mention their sound quality is very high end due to the other quality of parts.

    To my knowledge, there is not a single DJing company attempting to “fill the gap” that the 1200’s discontinuance has supposedly created. All these companies are still creating the same crap they did prior to the production line stopping and have not changed their designs to copy the 1200 internally.

    • DJ Johnny Fox

      Try the Reloop turntables, not bad at all…

  • Carlostorres1973


    I have this turntable and it is fantastic, but I have a little problem and I don’t know if it is a problem with all the models or it’s just mine, as you may know when playing a record if you cause any type of vibration you will hear it on the turntable, even if you close the dust cover when playing, you will hear the “hit” or “stomp”, well, in my turntable I can hear the sound of the motor, I can hear its vibration between songs. Is it normal? Is there a way to fix it? Is there a way to fix the problem? Thanks in advance


    • DJ Johnny Fox

      Hmm, that’s weird. I haven’t had that issue at all. But I have noticed that the turntables only work in line, not phone, weird.

  • Tre


    I know this is an older post, but I just got this turntable an would like to replace the RCA with an upgrade lie you mention. Could you tell me how or what I need to do to have that done? Thanks!