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 Audio Technica LP5, two vinyl turntables for professional use.
The Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB vinyl turntable is one of the brand’s high-end models. It has all the key elements of a professional vinyl turntable. It has a brushless direct drive motor with very high torque (> 4.5kgm-cm), ensuring that the machine both starts up and stops instantaneously. Both of these functions can be adjusted using 2 potentiometers.
It has three speeds: 33⅓, 45 and 78 rpm. It also has a fader which adjusts the pitch by adjusting the rotation speed. This can be controlled using the stroboscopic indicator.
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. Its tonearm is very similar to that of the Technics SL-1200 turntable. It is simple, robust and very well made. It is compatible with many extremely high quality MM and DJ Hi-Fi cartridges. The tracking force, antiskating system and VTA (height) can all be adjusted. The AT-LP1240-USB is delivered as standard without a cartridge but with an Audio Technica AT-HS1 headshell.
This Audio Technica 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 record player is fitted with an RIAA preamplifier. However, the internal phono preamplifier is selectable and can be switched off if the vinyl turntable is being used with equipment that has higher quality phono inputs. It also has a small retractable light which lights up the area where the stylus meets the record groove. Its imposing plinth sits on four large adjustable damping feet. The AT-LP1240-USB is delivered as standard with a removable dust cover.
From the moment you set eyes on it, this Audio Technica vinyl turntable inspires absolute confidence. Weighing in at over 12.5kg, 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 finish is beautiful and both the assembly and production quality are flawless.
And these high standards are certainly reflected in the sound quality. It is dynamic and rhythmic, remaining consistently clear and precise across all musical genres. That said, we prefer it with more contemporary music and blues and jazz rather than with classical music, as it doesn’t quite manage to capture the same refined sound as its belt driven competitors.
We recommend combining it with a high quality cartridge. We got impressive results with an Audio Technica AT120E cartridge and Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge. And the Ortofon DJ S is, as the name suggests, perfect for DJs! The integrated preamplifier produces decent results, but will eventually cramp the style of this turntable and its high-end cartridge. To remedy this, just switch it off and use a standalone preamp. A Rega Mini A2D phono preamp or Pro-Ject Tube Box S will do the job a lot better.
The Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB vinyl turntable is the modern day version of the Technics SL1200 – and it’s a triumph, delivering even stronger performances than the original Matsushita model! Admittedly, it's not aimed at everyone, but it’s absolutely perfect for pros or even semi-pros. And at this price, there really is no competition.
We highly recommended it! Franck
Principle: rigid platter
Drive principle: direct
Motor: 16-pole, 3-phase, brushless DC motor
Speeds: 33⅓, 45 and 78 RPM
Pitch Variance: +/- 10% or 20%
Starting torque: >4.5 kgm-cm
Braking system: electronic
Platter: die-cast aluminium
Platter dimensions: 332 mm
Platter weight: 370 g
Wow & Flutter: 0.1%
Signal-to-noise ratio: >55 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: 230mm, S-shaped
Tracking force: 0.1-4g
Supported cartridge and headshell weight: 13-18g
Headshell: AT-HS 1/9.5g
45 RPM adapter: Aluminium
Cable: phono with ground, power cable, USB cable
Protractor: Audio Technica software
Software: Audacity (CD version)
Finish: matte black
Dust cover: Included
Dimensions: 450 x 166.5 x 353 mm
Weight: 12.5 kg