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Audio-Technica AT-PL120
2 Reviews
rating  4.5 of 5
MSRP  211.00
Description: High torque motor and braking Hi-metal S-shaped tone arm Aluminum platter 33/45/78 speed play Built-in pre-amp Pitch control Anti-skate adjustment Forward and reverse play Counterweight adjustment and stylus target light Strobe indicators Includes slip mat, A-T cartridge, headshell and hinged dust cover. <ul> <li>High-torque direct drive motor</li> <li>Built-in phono preamp with bypass switch</li> <li>Selectable quartz-controlled speed lock</li> <li>Forward or reverse play</li> <li>Manual operation</li> <li>Adjustable tracking force and anti-skating</li> </ul>


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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by kaask a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2010

Bottom Line:   
As a veteran broadcast engineer and audiophile I have found this turntable to be the one of the very best I have ever owned. I was so impressed with it I bought a second TT for my den. I purchased 5 extra cartridge shells to accommodate a variety of carts, including a 78 RPM cartridge. The only thing that might have made this TT even better would have been an auto shut-ott (turn off the motor and lift the cart). But it's OK just the way it is.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2007



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by From Commercial Site www.crutchfieldadvisor.com a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 26, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Taken from this WebSite:

http://www.crutchfieldadvisor.com/S-cZri7krpPiB/reviews/20040224/turntable_review.html?page=1

From the Crutchfield Archives...
A Review of the Audio-Technica AT-PL120

by Barry Montgomery

...

The AT-PL120 offers good looks and great sound.

Setting up
Like all turntables fresh out of the box, the AT-PL120 requires minor assembly. To those unfamiliar with the process of setting up a turntable, some of the tasks involved might sound intimidating — assembling the platter, mounting the cartridge on the tonearm, balancing the tonearm, setting the tracking force, and adjusting the tonearm height. But the included literature explained everything in detail and the entire procedure took only about 20 minutes to complete.

One of the AT-PL120’s handiest features is its built-in phono preamplifier. Many turntables do not include such a preamp, and therefore can only be connected to a receiver or preamplifier with a designated phono input. If you switch on the AT-PL120’s phono preamp, however, you can plug it into any auxiliary input on a receiver — a very useful feature, since a good number of latter-day receivers do not include a phono input. And for LP lovers who are interested in archiving their albums to CD via a computer CD burner, the built-in phono preamp is great news, since it lets you connect the turntable directly to your PC, without having to employ a receiver as a “middle man.” You’ll most likely have to buy a stereo RCA-to-miniplug adapter to achieve the connection to your soundcard, but this is an expense of only about $4.

Bringing out the best in your LPs
From the first notes of the first record I put on the AT-PL120 — Stevie Wonder’s Hotter Than July — I was impressed with the warm, rich sound of this turntable. The bass was punchy and well-rounded. The drums were dynamic and sharply defined, with a crisp cymbal sound that steered well clear of the brittleness you often hear from lesser turntables. Each instrument in the mix came through clearly and cleanly, and Wonder’s vocals were reproduced with real presence. So far, so good.

I played a variety of records on the AT-PL120, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it handled every genre in my collection with aplomb. I tried a number of different jazz records — ranging from the astringent free jazz of Ornette Coleman’s This Is Our Music to the richly layered harmonic palettes of Duke Ellington’s early 40's classics — and was pleasantly surprised at how good each one sounded. Undercurrent, an album of duets between pianist Bill Evans and guitarist Jim Hall, sounded especially gorgeous. In this case, I was able to compare the LP to a CD version of the same album. The CD had slightly better definition, but sounded thin and brittle when compared to the fuller, warmer, more intimate sound of the LP.

When I sampled the spectrum of pop and rock albums in my collection, the AT-PL120 demonstrated similar versatility. The textured layers of strings and brass that slowly build over the course of John Cale’s Paris 1919 were recreated with precision and a palpable sense of depth. Switching gears, I next sampled the bracing (but surprisingly well-recorded) art-punk of Pere Ubu's The Modern Dance, and was knocked out by what I heard. This album is a series of sonic maelstroms, with siren-raid synthesizers blasting aural shrapnel across the upper end and massive, monstrously propulsive bass lines anchoring the bottom. The AT-PL120 brought each track to life with visceral punch and a convincingly three-dimensional soundstage.

Plays 45s and 78s, too!
Of course, this turntable isn’t just for LPs. Naturally, it also offers 45 rpm (rotations per minute) operation so you can enjoy your classic 7” singles all over again. More unique, however, is the AT-PL120’s ability to play 78 rpm 10” records — very few modern day turntables in this price range offer that capability. I don’t own any 78s, so I couldn’t test out this feature myself. But for anyone who’s got a stack of old 10” records stashed away somewhere (perhaps formerly owned by your parents or even your grandparents), this turntable can open up a door into the dimly lit musical past.

A cartridge and needle for most occasions
A contributor to the great sound of this turntable is undoubtedly its phono cartridge, Audio-Technica’s ATP-2. This is a significantly nicer cartridge than you’ll find included with most turntables in this price range (many turntables don’t even include a cartridge at all). As a bonus for DJs, this cartridge uses an elliptical stylus that's capable of playing records both forward and backward. Many needles aren’t designed for backward play and you’ll damage both your needle and your album if you “back up” a track in cueing it up for play.

However, what makes a good playback cartridge doesn't always make a good cartridge for the popular DJ practice of "scratching." I spoke with DJ Select, a professional DJ who had also tried out the AT-PL120. He found that, using the ATP-2 cartridge, he needed to set the tracking force at 5 grams in order to prevent frequent skipping. At such a high tracking force, scratching will tear up both the needle and the grooves of the record. However, DJ Select noted that cartridges designed specifically for scratching are relatively cheap, and for straight playback of LPs can't compare to the ATP-2's fine sound.


The AT-PL120's pitch control offers impressively speedy response, and gives you the choice of ±10% or ±20% speed adjustment.

Features for DJs
Otherwise, the AT-PL120 is loaded with DJ-friendly features. It's got a large slider that lets you adjust the playback pitch by ±10% or ±20% — you can toggle between these two ranges with the press of a button. There's also a Quartz Lock button that instantly zeroes out the pitch adjustment, letting DJs achieve seamless track segues by instantly switching from beat-matching mode to perfect pitch. DJ Select tested the AT-PL120 side by side with the Technics SL-1200, widely regarded as the reference turntable for DJs. He was impressed to discover that the response speed of the Audio-Technica's pitch control held its own against the venerated Technics, and noted that he actually preferred the AT-PL120's wider range of pitch adjustment.

While the included cartridge isn't designed with scratching in mind, the AT-PL120 is otherwise very well

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   www.crutchfieldadvis




Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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