Budget Turntable – Big Sound

The Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB is a turntable for the modern enthusiast who values good sound but doesn’t want to break the bank.

By Leonard Co
April 20, 2017

Let’s take a look at the AT-LP60-USB turntable.

The Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB is a turntable for the modern enthusiast who values good sound but doesn’t want to break the bank. Simply connect it to any home stereo or even powered loudspeakers, and you can enjoy spinning your records to your heart’s content. No need for a phono input as one is already built-in. With its USB output, you can even plug it into your computer and record your LPs to digital with the included Audacity software.

The AT-LP60-USB is a belt-drive turntable, which will please discerning audiophiles. It has a moving-magnet (MM) cartridge with a replaceable diamond stylus and a die-cast aluminum platter. It comes in two colors, black and white. The limited edition teal color is on review today.

The AT-LP60-USB is well-packed. It is double-boxed and all components are well-protected. Some assembly is required, as the platter, dust cover and record mat are packed separately.

2017-10-03 01.42.22 pmRugged double-boxed packaging. 2017-10-03 01.42.39 pmLP mat, various wires, and Audacity software on CD. 2017-10-03 01.42.56 pmHow it looks like without the platter.

Installing the platter of the AT-LP60-USB is simple and straightforward. Simply use the included tie-wire to lift out the rubber belt, sit the platter onto the spindle, slide the belt to the motor pulley and remove the tie-wire, and you’re done. Oh, and don’t forget to place the included felt mat over the platter.

STEP 1:

2017-10-03 01.48.41 pm.pngInsert the included tie-wire under the belt.

STEP 2:

2017-10-03 01.49.19 pm.pngSit the platter on the spindle

 

STEP 3:

2017-10-03 01.49.31 pm.pngGuide the belt onto the motor pulley and pull out the tie-wire.

Before you can spin your records, you need to hook it up to your stereo system. The AT-LP60-USB gives you several ways to do this.

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The switch on the left chooses what comes out of the RCA jacks of the AT-LP60-USB. Flip it to the left and you will need to hook it up to a “PHONO” input of your stereo. Flip it to the right and you can plug it to an “AUX” or “LINE” input. Very useful for stereo systems that do not have a “PHONO” input. How about the USB connector?  We’ll get to that soon. For now, plug the RCA cables of the turntable to the appropriate input of your stereo system.

A few more steps. The tonearm is kept in place during shipping by a black tie-strap. Remove this. There is also a small cap guarding the stylus. Simply remove it by pulling it out. I recommend keeping it handy, in case the turntable will not be used for a long time.

Excited to play your records? Hang on, we have few more things to do.

The turntable itself is lightweight. Raising the dust cover can sometimes cause the plinth (its base) to move or maybe even tip over. For the purposes of this review and because my listening environment is relatively dust-free, I used the AT-LP60-USB without the dust cover.

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The dust cover is packed separately. To install it, align the two black-colored metal hinges to their matching slots behind the turntable and insert lightly. To remove the dust cover, gently pull it out.

Turntable aficionados will do this last and highly recommended step – making sure the base is level. I recommend you do this, too. Leveling the base is accomplished with a level gauge.

STEP 1:

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With your level gauge (not included with the AT-LP60-USB), ensure your stand or rack is perfectly level. If not, adjust its feet so that it is.

STEP 2:

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Place the AT-LP60-USB on your stand or rack. Place the level gauge on top of the platter near the spindle at the center of the turntable. Check that it is still level.

Are we finally ready to spin records? Excited? Well, now’s the time!

STEP 1:

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Are you playing a 7” or a 12” record? Flip the switch accordingly.

 

STEP 2:

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The AT-LP60-USB turntable comes with an adaptor. Use it for playing 7” records.

 

STEP 3:

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Even if you’re playing 12” LPs, some “audiophile” pressings play at 45RPM. If this is what you are playing, press this switch.

STEP 5:

The AT-LP60-USB is a fully-automatic turntable. No need to manually lift the stylus and place it on the record. Just press “START.”

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STEP 6:2017-10-03 01.55.07 pm.png

Now we’re ready to enjoy some tunes!  No need to set the counterweight or adjust the cartridge.

This has all been done for you at the factory.


So how does it sound? In one word?
GREAT!

 

Audio Technica definitely pulled a rabbit out of their hat with the AT-LP60-USB. Bass is deep, full and tight. Mids, vocals and instruments are clean and clear. Highs are smooth and airy. Speed accuracy is very good. Never did I hear any change in tone or pitch. Rock and pop LPs sounded vibrant while audiophile LPs sounded butter-smooth. Oh and never did it skip or jump tracks. The AT-LP60-USB was dead-reliable. For a “budget” turntable with so many connectivity features, its sound competes favorably against more expensive turntables.

What LPs were auditioned for this review? A lot! After 20 hours of play time to break-in the brand-new tip of the diamond stylus, here are three notable albums.

 20170417_213220.jpg This 1982 album is a crowd favorite. With top-charting songs like “Africa” and “Rosanna,” TOTO IV never fails to please. Just like the AT-LP60-USB.
On this Japanese pressing, the drum intro of the late Jeff Porcaro came through clean and clear. The vocal melodies of Steve Lukather, David Paich and Bobby Kimball literally floated in the air between the loudspeakers, with Steve Porcaro and David Hungate laying down the foundations of the songs.
And boy, did they perform! As someone who was growing up when this album hit the market, listening to it brings back some fond memories. Plus, there is nothing like the sound of a turntable to bring you back to the 80’s. This album is definitely a very enjoyable listen on the AT-LP60-USB!
20170316_212045.jpg This 1959 album is an audiophile favorite and is widely considered a Miles Davis’s greatest work. It takes a top-notch turntable and stereo system to do it justice. Much to my enjoyment, the AT-LP60-USB played it very well.
The soundstage was deep and wide, and I heard good focus the placement of the individual musicians. It was easy to just sit down, close my eyes, and imagine Bill Evans as he tickles his piano keys, Paul Chambers as he fingers his upright bass and Jimmy Cobb as he strokes his drums. Of course, Miles Davis front-and-center as the star of the show, backed by the equally famous John Coltrane and “Cannonball” Adderley.
The AT-LP60-USB acquitted itself very well with this landmark album!
 20170405_211007.jpg While this 2013 release is primarily a “pop” album, Daft Punk made it a point to employ the best studio musicians, singers and recording engineers. The result? An album that not only appeals to the masses but gives any stereo system a true workout! How did it sound on the AT-LP60-USB? It sounded fantastic!
It was easy to hear Pharell Williams’ voice on “Get Lucky” as both forward and smooth while Omar Hakim on drums provided an infectious backbeat and Nathan East on bass laid down a solid foundation. Several times, I found my feet tapping in time with the song, a testament to the excellent timing and pace of the AT-LP60-USB.
In fact, of all the tunes and albums I listened to in this review, this is the one song that I simply had to repeat. The AT-LP60-USB played it that well.


What about the USB function? Well, let’s get to that.

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The AT-LP60-USB has a built-in ADC or Analog-to-Digital-Converter. Sound from the LP’s grooves goes out the USB port as digital audio, ready to be recorded by compatible software running on your computer.

The AT-LP60-USB comes with a CD installer of AUDACITY software. Both Windows and Mac OS versions are available.

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I inserted the disc into my laptop and installed the software. Then I plugged in the included USB cable into the turntable and a free USB port on my laptop and configured the software. A few moments later, I was digitizing my vinyl!

The AUDACITY software let me transfer my vinyl onto various digital formats such as FLAC, AIFF and WAV.

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 Yes, it can also save as MP3 for playback in portable devices with limited memory capacity. But for best sound quality, lossless formats are recommended.

 

This feature is especially useful for record collectors whose LPs are not available in CD, or those who would like to preserve their old, scratched LPs. With some time spent learning the features and functions of the AUDACITY software suite, it is possible to add filters that remove surface noise, or boost/cut various parts of the audible spectrum. Does the album lack bass? Add it with AUDACITY. Too much hiss? Reduce it with AUDACITY.

So, what can I say about the AT-LP60-USB?

TWO THUMBS UP!

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It is a versatile and wallet-friendly turntable that can do a lot of things for its asking price of ₱ 12,000. The important thing is that it sounds good, too! Highly recommended! Are there better turntables that can do everything this one can? Yes there are, like the AT-LP120USB at roughly double the price. Will it sound twice as good? Hopefully, we’ll soon find out!

 

 

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