Audio Technica has been present in the professional sector for many decades, mostly with headphone and microphones. Wanting to expand to the radio broadcasting, discotheques and DJs fields, the Japanese manufacturer has been offering for some time now, in addition to its LP-5 turntable, so-called professional turntables.
After the success of the LP120 USB, Audio Technica replaces this one by the new “X” model. It receives several technical and aesthetic changes.
Despite its very affordable price, the Audio Technica AT-LP120X model takes, in many aspects, the elements of the well-known “MK2” (not to name it). It allows small budgets to take advantage of various professional options such as the starting and the quick stop, the Pitch adjustment etc.
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120X: MOTOR AND DRIVING
As for all DJ turntables, the AT-LP120X is equipped with a direct drive motor with a high torque (> 1.0 kgf.cm) ensuring a very quick starting. It is associated to a very performing electronic brake, allowing the turntable to stop almost instantaneously.
This gives you the possibility to have a reverse playback allowing the precise timing of the vinyl record, to get a smooth sequencing as well as various scratch effects used in rap or hiphop. In addition, to facilitate the timing in the darkness, a small retractable light lights the groove at the stylus level.
WARNING: the supplied cartridge (AT VM95e) allows these options but not its stylus, that will be replaced by an Audio Technica ATN-XP5 or ATN-XP7 DJ stylus.
As for the previous model, the Audio Technica LP120X offers 3 driving speeds (33/45 and 78 rpm). For their playback, we recommend you to replace the stylus by the specific 78 rpm version, the Audio Technica AT-VMN 95 SP stylus.
Finally, a fader allows you to adjust the tonal height (the pitch) by acting with +/- 8 or 16% on the rotation speed. The rotation speed is controlled with a stroboscopic indicator.
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120X: PLATTER, TONEARM AND CARTRIDGE
The platter is manufactured with precision in cast aluminium. It is damped in order to avoid colorations and vibrations as much as possible. It is associated to a platter mat made of felt.
The “S” tonearm of this Audio Technica is very similar to the Technics SL 1200 of the 80’s! Very simple, it has proven itself. It is well designed and seems very resistant, even on indelicate handling. Of course, it will allow the mounting of MM cartridges or DJ cartridges of high quality.
As standard, it is equipped with a new Audio Technica AT-HS6 headshell and the new AT-VM95E MM cartridge.
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120X: INTEGRATED PHONO PREAMPLIFIER
This AT-LP120X is equipped with a phono preamplifier (MM) and a DAC (A/N) with USB output allowing the connection to the USB input of your Mac or PC. This one digitalizes your records thanks to the provided software, Audacity.
A selector allows you to switch off the internal phono preamplifier when the turntable is used with an equipment that have higher quality phono inputs.
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120X: ACCESSORIES
The AT-LP120X is delivered as standard with a removable dust cap, an USB cable, a phono cable and a 45 rpm adapter. It is available in 2 glossy finishes: black or silver.
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP120X: TEST AND LISTENING
When unpacked, this Audio Technica vinyl turntable gives confidence by its mass and rigidity. We are in the presence of a "professional" model, and the announced characteristic features are there!
The restitution is clean and precise, we find the dynamics of the direct drive turntables.
However, it can't compete with its belt driven competitors in terms of nuance and timbre.
But it is a false debate, because they are not dedicated to the same uses and so do not meet the same expectations.
Overall, the AT-LP120X provides a well structured listening experience with excellent bass. But as I told to you, its performance can be hugely improved by the changing of the cartridge or just the stylus. The results were surprising when replacing the original stylus by the Audio Technica AT-VMN95SH stylus.
You will have understood it, Audio Technica is only taking back what Panasonic developed more than 40 years ago, with the SL 1200! But this new Audio Technica AT-LP120X turntable does exactly what it is expected to do, even more!
Its manufacturing is surprising, its finish is perfect and above all, well above the rate at which it is offered. In this segment, it seems unrivalled.
Principle: Manual turntable
Speeds: 33-45 and 78 rpm
Adjustable pitch: +/-8% or +/-16%
Platter: Die-cast aluminium
Starting torque: >1.0 kgf.cm
Braking: electronic braking system
Wow and Flutter: <0.2% WRMS (33 RPM)
Signal-to-noise ratio: > 50 dB
Phono preamplifier: nominal 4 mV at 1 kHz, 5 cm/s
Phono preamplifier gain: 36 dB
Line output: nominal 240 mV at 1 kHz, 5 cm/s
USB: PC or Mac (1.1 or more USB)
Compatibility: Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OS X or higher A / D, D / A - 16 bits / 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz
Accessories: USB cable, Phono, cover and 45 rpm adapter
Power consumption: 2.75 W
Dimensions: 141.6 x 452 x 352 (H x W x D mm)