Audio Technica has been on the Hi-Fi scene for several decades now, gaining notoriety for its headphones and microphones in particular. In an attempt to branch out from the radio, clubbing and DJ scenes, the Japanese brand recently released, as well as its living room turntable the LP5, two vinyl turntables for professional use.
The entry-level model in this range, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB HC, has of course retained elements of its Hi-Fi version, but also boasts several new features designed to meet the needs of audio professionals, as well as vinyl amateurs.
Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC: Motor and drive
The AT-LP120-USB HC vinyl turntable has a high-torque direct drive motor, ensuring that the machine starts up and stops almost instantaneously.
It also gives you the option of reverse playback, making beatmatching easier and more precise for DJs playing records, as well as the various scratch effects used in rap and hip-hop music.
This AudioTechnica LP120 has three speeds: 33⅓, 45 and 78 rpm.
It also has a fader for adjusting the pitch to +/- 10 or 20% of the rotation speed. This can be controlled using the stroboscopic indicator.
Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC: Platter
The platter has been meticulously crafted from die-cast aluminium and topped with a slip mat to reduce the effects of platter resonance on the record.
Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC: Tonearm and cartridge
The tonearm of the AudioTechnica LP120 USB HC is very similar to that of the Technics SL-1200 vinyl turntable.
It is simple, robust and very well made. It is compatible with many extremely high quality MM and DJ Hi-Fi cartridges.
It is fitted as standard with the Audio Technica AT-HS10 headshell and Audio Technica AT95E MM cartridge.
It also has a small retractable light which lights up the area where the stylus meets the record groove.
Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC: Integrated phono stage
The Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB HC vinyl turntable also features a USB output, which can be connected to the USB input of your MAC or PC.
This gives you the option of digitising your vinyl records using the Audacity software provided with the turntable.
Naturally, this also means that this vinyl turntable is fitted with an RIAA preamplifier. However, the internal phono preamplifier is selectable and can be switched off if the record player is being used with equipment that has higher quality phono inputs.
Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC: Finish and accessories
The AT-LP120-USB is delivered as standard with a removable dust cover and is available in two colours: black and silver.
Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC: Listening and test review
From the moment you set eyes on it, this Audio Technica vinyl turntable inspires absolute confidence. Weighing in at over 10.5 kg, its imposing dimensions are a strong indicator of the performances it can deliver in demanding situations. This is unmistakably a highly professional turntable that fully delivers on its promises.
The sound quality is clean and highly precise. The dynamic range is excellent, despite not being quite as refined as its belt driven competitors.
It could never be accused of being harsh or aggressive – on the contrary, this Audio Technica AT LP120 USB HC vinyl turntable produces a controlled, soft sound with plenty of substance.
We highly recommend that you replace the cartridge after a while. We got great results with an Audio Technica AT120E MM cartridge and Ortofon 2M Blue MM cartridge. And the Ortofon DJ S is, as the name suggests, perfect for DJs!
As I’m sure you know, this Audio Technica turntable reproduces the technology honed by Panasonic 35 years ago with its SL-1200. But, unlike other models on the market, it does it well, and for a reasonable price to boot!
At this price, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB HC vinyl turntable is unrivalled. It does the job perfectly!
We highly recommended it! Franck
Principle: rigid platter
Drive principle: direct
Speeds: 33⅓, 45 and 78 RPM
Pitch variation: +/- 10% or 20%
Starting torque: > 1.6 kgm-cm
Braking system: electronic
Platter: die-cast aluminium
Platter dimensions: 294 x 5mm
Platter weight: 370 g
Wow & flutter: 0.2%
Signal-to-noise ratio: >50 dB
RIAA preamp: On/Off
Phono preamp gain: 36 dB (MM)
Analogue outputs: RCA + Ground
Digital output: USB
USB resolution: 16 Bits/ 44.1, 48 Khz
Format: USB 2 compatible with iOS, Windows
Tonearm: 230.5mm, S-shaped
Tracking force: From 0.1 to 4g
Supported cartridge and headshell weight: 15-20g
Headshell: AT-HS 10/ 10g
Cartridge: AT 95E
45 RPM adapter: Aluminium
Cable: phono with ground, power cable, USB cable
Protractor: Audio Technica software: Audacity (CD version)
Finish: Matte black or silver
Dust cover: Included
Dimensions: 450 x 157 x 352 mm
Weight: 10.6 kg