Give Your Old LPs a Spin with this New Turntable

    Sometimes being older than dirt can work to your advantage.

    Case-in-point: The folks at Audio Technica just sent us their new turntable to play with. And, being older than dirt, we happen to have an extensive collection of what were once called “vinyl records” (or LPs) collecting dust on a shelf in the basement. Yes, I know vinyl is making a comeback, but it spared us the expense of overpaying for new LPs.

    The new AT-LP120XUSB ($249) is actually an update of an older model (the AT-LP120USB)  featuring a new DC servo direct drive motor that is actually QUIET!

    Setting up the new turntable was surprisingly easy. In fact we were up and running in about ten minutes after going through the usual unpacking ordeal of separating all of its well-taped components from the packing materials.

    The turntable features RCA phono and USB outputs and cables, which let us connect it to a sound system, computer or computer speakers equipped with an auxiliary USB input port. The USB-to-PC connection also allows us to digitize our old vinyl LPs.

    Of course it will play everything your old turntable did – – – LPs, 45s and even 78s – – – and comes with all of the anti-skate and tone-arm doo-dads found on every other turntable in existence since the dawn of the LP. But there are a few new features, aside from the USB output, that separate it from the pack, including:

    • A detachable small light in front of the turntable that eliminates fumbling around trying to cue a new track or changing records in low light
    • An AC/DC adapter that is designed to reduce signal noise
    • The base contains dampers to reduce low frequency feedback
    • It’s compatible with Audacity and most other PC/Mac digitizing software

    A built-in phono pre-amp (which has pretty much become a standard feature on higher-end models) allowed us to simply connect it to any RCA or USB input without having to worry about direct phono inputs on our receiver. Just plug and play!

    As stated earlier, all of the features you’d expect from a turntable are part of the package. But, in case you need a checklist, they include (per the Audio Technica website):

    • Fully manual operation
    • Adjustable dynamic anti-skate control
    • A professional-grade anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter with felt mat
    • A Dual Magnet™ phono cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus
    • A balanced S-shaped tonearm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest
    • A stroboscopic platter with speed indicator
    • Variable pitch control with quartz speed lock


    • Michael L. Berman has more than 40 years' experience writing and editing for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich (CT) Bulletin, The Journal of Commerce and The Middletown (CT) Press. Mike's Techtalk column was syndicated by the Scripps Howard News Service from 1995 to 2000 and appeared as a computer and technology blog on until No. 19, 2013. You can also visit Mike's consumer technology website at

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