Audio Technica AT LP-60 Review
The turntable is now an instrument at the Smithsonian - Ajay Naidu
Everybody needs to start somewhere. There’s a first time for everything and that moment, that first taste of whatever it is you’re being exposed to and experiencing can help to shape the rest of your life.
That’s why the first time needs to be special, as it burns itself into your memory and becomes the yardstick that you’ll use to measure and compare every other similar experience to for the rest of your life.
With the resurgence in popularity of vinyl and records once again establishing themselves as an increasingly popular physical format, being able to fully experience and enjoy vinyl the way that it was meant to, and should be heard, is critically important.
When you drop the needle on an LP, you should drown in a tsunami of gorgeous crystal clear sound that makes every atom in your body vibrate with joy.
And if you’ve never heard, or played a record before, you’ll need the sort of turntable that’ll deliver that instantaneous rush as easily, and effectively as possible.
In order to understand the beauty of the format and the pleasure it can instill, you need to understand and appreciate it.
In order to submerge yourself in vinyl, you’ll need the sort of record player that was designed to cut out the middle man, eliminate the need for extraneous technology and deliver that instantaneous hit of pulse-pounding tuneage that you crave.
That’s why it's important to spend that first time with a record player that you can fall in love with. And that’s exactly why you’ll want to spend your first time with the Audio Technica AT LP-60.
A TOP PICK
Even though we’ve spent more than two-thirds of our lives spinning vinyl on more turntables than we care to, or should remember, there’s still something magical and tangibly exciting about unpackaging and slowly, but surely learning everything that there is to learn about a new record player.
While we usually like to take out time setting them up and immersing ourselves in all of the intricate details of a new turntable, it didn’t take us anywhere near as long as it usually does to discover all the LP60’s secrets.
That was, we suspect, mainly because it isn’t supposed to have any, and you’re supposed to be able to hit the ground running and be set up and ready to start playing your favorite LPs on it in under half an hour.
In all honesty though, if you’ve ever set up a smartphone, or a laptop, you should be able to set up the LP60 in about half of that time. Even less if you’ve ever used a turntable before.
It’s ready to go almost straight out of the box. As soon as you’ve made sure that the belt drive is hooked up, the vinyl mat is laid on the turntable and you’ve removed the stylus cover, as far as this turntable is concerned, you’re good to go.
All that’s left to do is to connect it to some speakers and you’ll be ready to drop the needle.
That’s right, you didn’t misread that last sentence, we did say that all you need is a pair of speakers to connect the LP60 to and you’re ready to go.
You don’t need an amp, or a separate system as the LP60 has its own built-in preamp, and in order to completely lose yourself in its sweet, rich sound, all you need is a pair of powered speakers to connect it to.
Or, if you prefer, you can just connect it to your PC or Mac and play it through your laptop’s speaker system.
The usual turntable rules do apply though - it’ll need to be set up on a stable, level desk or unit, as you’re going to want to avoid any possibility that the needle might jump.
If it does skip, that can end up scratching and damaging the record that it’s playing, which as we don’t need to tell, can put a serious downer on anyone’s day.
So, always make sure that wherever it is that you choose to set this turntable up is flat, level, and doesn’t and won’t transmit footfall straight through to the LP60.
The first time you drop the needle on the LP60 is one of those sweet memories that’ll flash before your eyes when you’re lying on your deathbed. In other words, it’ll last a lifetime.
It’s an automatic turntable, so all you have to do to put either a twelve or seven inch record on the mat, hit the right speed and the LP60 will do the rest.
It’ll move and lower the tonearm and stylus straight onto the record, and when it’s finished playing, it’ll lift the needle and return the tonearm to its rest.
The diamond-tipped needle and phono cartridge that Audio Technica has used on the LP60 is surprisingly effective.
Heavy enough to avoid any accidental jumps or skips, and precise enough to create the sort of dynamic sound response that we didn’t think was possible from a turntable that’s anchored at the price point that the LP60 is.
There’s depth, warmth, and texture in the sound, and if we’re honest we were kind of floored by how good it was and how impressed we were.
We knew, given what we’d heard about the LP60 on the audiophile underground, that it was good, but we had no idea that it was going to be as good as it was.
One thing that we should maybe point out to vinyl virgins and turntable first-timers is that it doesn’t matter how good your set-up is, or how clean your records are, as soon as that needle meets the grooves, there’s always going to be a certain degree of hiss and crackle.
That’s part of what makes listening to records so exciting, knowing that the crackle and hiss are about to explode into a miasma of sing-a-long rock ’n’ roll anthems at any moment.
The general rule of play is, the quieter that the hiss and crackle are, the better the record player and stylus that it’s fitted with are.
Judging by the minimal amount of both that the LP60 produced, we honestly thought that Audio Technica had made an accounting error and was selling this turntable for far less than they were supposed to.
The LP60 Party Trick
Just when we thought that the LP60 didn’t have any surprises left, it went and revealed its party trick.
There’s a USB port on the LP60 that doesn’t just allow you to connect it to your laptop and play your records through it, but with the included Audacity software, you can actually record your vinyl straight on to the hard drive of your PC and then transfer the digital sound files to your chosen account, smartphone or music player.
It’s a neat trick, but we’re still trying to figure out why you’d want to do it in the first place unless you’re determined to digitize your entire record collection for posterity.
The Final Word
The LP60 is widely considered to be a budget turntable, but if it is, then it’s slowly going to help to redefine what the word “budget” actually means.
Granted, it’s far from being the cheapest or most affordable turntable that you’ll stumble across, but for the sheer quality of sound reproduction that it’s capable of, the level of functionality that it has, and the inclusion of a pre-amp, it’s probably the best turntable that you’ll find at that price point.
The only thing that might not float your boat and make you go wild for the LP60 is its rather nondescript looks and middle-of-the-road, bland design.
There’s nothing really aesthetically pleasing about it, and it looks like any one of a hundred other turntables, which is a shame as we just wished that it packed as much visual as audio punch.
But you’re not going to be buying this substance over style turntable for the way it looks, so at the end of the day whether it looks good or not doesn’t really matter does it?
All that does matter is how it sounds, and as we’ve already said, on that front, the LP60 is almost unbeatable.
Audio Technica AT LP-60 Buying Guide
Will The Audio Technica LP-60 Damage Records?
Possibly. It’s a budget turntable, so there is a possibility that the needle it uses will, over the course of time degrade, which could lead to it damaging the records that it's used to play.
However, if that is something that you’re unduly concerned about, you can always swap the needle on the LP60 for a superior one and thus greatly reduce the possibility that it might damage your records.
Is The Audio Technica LP-60 Good?
At the price point that nearly every outlet that stocks it sells it for, the LP60 is possibly the best turntable in its class.
Reliable, capable of delivering a deep, crystal clear sound reproduction, and with its own built-in preamp, the LP60 is a cut above almost every other similarly priced turntable.
Is it good? It absolutely is, and for once, you really can believe all the hype that it seems to be generating among audiophiles.
Does The Audio Technica LP-60 Need Speakers?
As the LP60 doesn’t have any built-in speakers, there are only two ways that you’ll be able to fully enjoy and hear the records that you’ll use it to play.
You can either connect it directly to a laptop that’s already integrated into your home stereo system, or you can connect it directly to a set of powered speakers, and its preamp will do the rest.
Is Audio Technica A Good Turntable Brand?
Since its inception in ninety sixty-two, Tokyo based Audio Technica has forged an incredible global reputation for manufacturing reliable, affordable audio equipment that has earned it legions of fans.
They might not be at the forefront of cutting-edge audio technology, but the turntables that they do design and manufacture are, more often than not, among the very best that any discerning audiophile can easily lay their hands on.
How Good Are Audio Technica Turntables?
Believing that substance is more important to the audiophile than style, Audio Technica has developed a solid reputation among music devotees the world over for making robust, reliable turntables that are fitted with high-quality audio cartridges and an impressive, if not staggering, amount of technology.
Do they make good turntables? Yes, they do. Audio Technica makes some of the best turntables in the world.
Does The Audio Technica LP 60 Have a Built-In Preamp?
Yes, the Audio Technica does have a built-in preamp. This negates the need to buy a separate amp and it can be used in a simple turntable speaker setup if you connect it to a set of powered speakers, or it can be connected directly to a laptop and incorporated into an already established and setup home stereo system.
What Speakers Are Compatible With The Audio Technica LP-60?
As it uses a preamp rather than having to be connected to an amp, which would then be connected to a set of speakers, the LP60 can only be used with a set of powered speakers.
While they’re more expensive than traditional passive speakers, powered speakers can, and do, produce a much richer, more vibrant, and engaging, louder sound than their passive counterparts.
What Speakers Work With The Audio Technica LP-60?
The LP60 has been designed to work with a wide variety of different speakers and isn’t confined or constricted by brand loyalty.
As long as the speakers that it's connected to are powered, then the LP60 will work with them and do exactly what it was made to. Play your records as loudly as you want it to.
Do You Need An Amp For The Audio Technica LP-60?
No, you absolutely don’t need an amp to use the LP60 to play records.
You can either connect it to a laptop that’s already part of your home stereo setup or pair of powered speakers and it’ll play as many records as you want it to for as long as you want it to.