Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct Drive Turntable
Audio-Technica has managed to turn their turntables into something of a staple product for independent record stores to sell right across the country. They’ve done this by assessing the wants and needs of people that use turntables for a variety of purposes, and delivering a series of products that each matches a specific segment of the market. The LP-120-USB direct drive turntable is Audio-Technica’s more modestly priced DJ offering. It packs all the features you need from a DJ turntable into a classically designed and impressively built unit.
The AT LP120 takes on the classic DJ turntable layout made famous by the iconic Technics SL1200 turntable back in 1972. It has a host of features designed specifically with a practicing DJ in mind. For example, though the pitch adjustment is centre indented to make finding standard time simple, it also features a Quartz button which snaps it back into perfect time instantly, no matter how far removed from the centre the pitch adjustment is. There’s great scope for pitch adjustment with the LP120, enabling you to freely move between tracks with starkly different bpms.
A lot of people opt to have direct driven DJ turntables in their home instead of their belt driven audiophile cousins. For those people, the LP120 is a great option, as it’s layout is clear and intuitive, while the classic design isn’t nearly as jarring or overwhelming as many of it’s competitors. When put through the rigours that it’s designed for as a DJ turntable it delivers in spades, with great pitch control, three selectable speeds, a high torque-motor and balanced tone arm. The added bonus of this is its built-in A/D converter, which allows you to send the audio direct from the unit to a computer via USB, making it easy to digitise your collection or session.
Audio-Technica LP3 Belt Drive Turntable
While the LP120 is designed for the DJ, the LP3 is put together with the record enthusiast in mind. This is a cleanly designed belt-driven turntable that forgoes the bells and whistles necessary for a DJ to accurately mix tracks in order to deliver consistent hum-free playback, so that you can enjoy your favourite records as clearly as possible. As far as audiophile turntables go, this is a fairly inexpensive one, aiming at bringing this type of product to a new market.
The fundamental difference between a DJ turntable and an audiophile turntable is the driving mechanism. DJ turntables are usually direct driven, meaning that the platter sits directly on top of the spinning motor. The strength of this is it generally offers more torque, more consistent speed and a faster start up time. The drawback of it is that it produces unwanted hum or noise. An audiophile turntable is often a belt-driven turntable, whereby the platter is operated by a motor that’s housed to the side of the turntable, with a belt connecting it to the platter. Though their builds might not seem quite as sturdy, they produce a more pristine sound that’s favoured by audiophiles.
The belt driven platter on the LP3 is stable and smooth. The tone arm on this one is balanced and solid. The adjustable counter-weight is set to get the right tension on your stylus. Although the arm itself is straight, the head shell is mounted at an angle with an AT91R Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge, to ensure the stylus sits comfortably in the record grooves, with the least amount of side pressure from the out regions right in to the centre of the record.
The Audio-Technica LP-120-USB Direct Drive Turntable retails for $599 and the Audio-Technica LP3 Belt Drive Turntuable Retails for $469, head to audio-technica.com.au.