Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB Turntable Overview
Vinyl is the zombie of the AV world – it never really stays dead. We like to keep in our back pocket a turntable recommendation for those that decided, after reading something online, that they are going to get (back) into vinyl. Audio-Technica has been making varying levels of turntables for a while. They have what they call entry-level, step-up, and audiophile offerings. The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB turntable is one that falls in the middle but has all the features we care about.
A Turntable for the Masses
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB is a turntable for the masses. This is not a knock. If you are an audiophile that has never let your vinyl collection gather dust, this is not the turntable for you. You know that. But this IS the turntable for your friends. You know the ones. They see your setup and ask how they can get something like that in their home.
They have no idea what they are asking. You’ve spent a lifetime collecting that gear. Even if they wanted to put out the money for all of it, much of it would be impossible to find. Plus, what they REALLY want to do is to connect a turntable to their existing (or soon to be bought) gear.
Enter the AT-LP120XBT-USB. This Audio-Technica offering is perfect for most people looking to get into vinyl. It has a built-in preamp, line-level outputs, USB connectivity (so your friends can burn their records to their iPods), and even Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The Bluetooth uses the aptX codec so they can get up to CD quality out of a wireless connection. Right there, they have the ability to use the AT-LP120XBT-USB with nearly any gear they have on hand.
The upside is that you can bypass the preamp. By flicking the switch on the back to “Phono” instead of “Line,” the AT-LP120XBT-USB completely bypasses the Bluetooth and USB outputs. That’s right, it disables all the other outputs. The included RCA cable has the needed grounding cable to connect to a proper phono preamp.
Upgrading the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB
Once you’ve convinced your friend(s) to buy the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB turntable, you can step away for a while. Let them watch the tutorial video and set the thing up themselves. It isn’t all that hard and it will help them learn. Eventually, they’ll start asking you about the differences between your turntable and theirs. That’s when you can walk them through some upgrades.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB turntable can upgrade its cartridge with other VM95 series stylus’. After they run through attaching the first stylus, they’ll be able to add others without your help. They can also start looking at phono preamps or at least bypassing the internal preamp and using the one in their receiver.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB turntable is a great option for those that want to get (back) into vinyl. It has all the modern bells and whistles with the ability to make some of the more common tweaks that vinyl lovers crave. At $300, it is priced just high enough to let you know you are buying quality but not so high that it turns off new users. With a setup video in the vein of “How It’s Made,” it is easy for new users to set up and trains them on how to upgrade it in the future. We would call it a turntable with training wheels, but we think someone would take offense.
For more information, visit www.Audio-Technica.com.