I recently bought the Audio-Technica AT-LP60 USB turntable for the purpose of writing a tutorial on how to digitize vinyl records with Audacity. Since I have been personally using this turntable, I decided to write a detailed review.
High quality turntables can be very expensive. Readers often ask me to recommend a record player with decent sound quality at an affordable price. In my opinion, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60 is the best entry level turntable in its price range and I highly recommend it. This turntable is hard to beat among record players with similar price. However, I suggest you read the entire review to make sure this product fits your needs. On this review you will find valuable and detailed information that would help you make a sound purchase decision.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60USB is a fully automatic belt driven turntable with a USB port. It is advertised by the manufacturer as an “LP-to-Digital Recording System” which makes me think that this turntable was designed specifically for that purpose. I highly respect Audio-Technica because they produce high quality products and have an outstanding customer service, but advertising the AT-LP60-USB as a “Recording System” is just a marketing strategy. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great product, but the advertising can be misleading. The turntable doesn’t do the recording itself, it’s the software and the computer who does the recording.
I have seen many consumers disappointed because they found the recording process difficult and time consuming. The reality is that ANY record player can be used to transfer your music to a digital format even without a USB port. You just need the right software and the right connection to make it work. Think of this product as a nice, easy to use, automatic record player, with the added benefit that you can use it to digitize your vinyl collection. But don’t buy this just because it’s advertised as a recording system. Remember that any record player will do the job. My suggestion is to look for the record player that best suits your needs and your budget.
Some people prefer ease of use over sound quality, I prefer sound quality. If you are looking for an quick and easy solution to digitize your music, you may consider a turntable with a built-in CD recorder like the ION CD Direct or the ION LP 2 CD or the ION iLP that allows you to directly transfer your LPs to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. For more options, read my article 20 Turntables that Convert Vinyl to Digital Without a Computer.
This is a great entry level turntable with a very decent sound quality. If you are new to the world of vinyl records and you are on a budget, this turntable will exceed your expectations considering its price. If you are unfamiliar with how to calibrate a turntable and you just want an automatic player that is super easy to operate, the Audio-Technica LP60 is right for you. Weather you are starting a vinyl collection or you already have one, this turntable will give you a good listening experience without emptying your pocket. It has the best combination of price , easy of use and good sound quality. If you bought a cheap self-contained turntable in the past, consider this player a good upgrade, you’ll notice the difference in sound quality. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB really surpasses its competition. I believe that this is one of the best options for the average consumer.
The AT-LP60USB is also a good option for someone wanting to digitize their vinyl collection with a good sound quality. Just remember that it’s going to take some learning if you are not familiar with recording software. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of learning the software and spending time recording your albums then this turntable isn’t for you. Instead, get a record player with a built-in CD or USB recorder or with direct connection to your portable audio device. I don’t recommend this record player to audiophiles needing fine adjustment features. This player is not for you if you want to directly record your analog music to a CD. This product is not suited for a non-technical person wanting an easy solution to digitize a large LP collection.
AT-LP60-USB Cartridge and Stylus
Most entry level turntables have a ceramic cartridge. The Audio Technica LP 60 has a dual magnet cartridge. Magnetic cartridges produce better audio signals. The drawback is that magnetic cartridges produce a low level electric signal that needs to be amplified to a line level, hence the need for a preamplifier. The other disadvantage is that magnetic cartridges are more sensitive to external vibrations. But in general, magnetic cartridges perform better than ceramic ones and they tend to skip less. Having a magnetic cartridge is one good reason to buy this turntable over one that has a ceramic cartridge.
The cartridge on this turntable is fixed to the tonearm, it cannot be replaced or upgraded. Different cartridges need a specific weight or tracking force to function properly, but this turntable does not have a counterweight to set the proper tracking force. The tracking force is factory adjusted and cannot be modified. It wouldn’t make sense to have a replaceable cartridge if the tracking weight can’t be adjusted. That is why the cartridge is fixed on this particular unit. This cartridge and its stylus is appropriate only for 33⅓ and 45 rpm speeds. You cannot use this turntable to play 78 rpm records.
The stylus has a 0.6 Mil (0.0006 in) spherical diamond tip. The stylus will last approximately 400 hours. You’ll notice a loss of high frequencies and some skipping when the stylus is worn out. If you need to replace the stylus look for the ATN3600L. You can also upgrade the stylus with the ATN3600DLXI. Those are the only two options you have for this turntable. Other than that, this unit cannot be upgraded. If you need a better sound quality, your only option is to upgrade other components like your speakers or get a better turntable in the future. If you need a record player that can be upgraded and adjusted you may want to consider the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB.
This turntable is fully automatic. When you press the start button, the tonearm will be automatically positioned at the beginning of the record. When the needle gets to the end of your record, the tonearm will automatically return to its rest. You have the option to operate the tonearm manually by using the tonearm lift button. This is very useful if you want to play specific tracks.
In order for the tonearm to drop at the right position, you need to specify the size of the record with the size selector. Only 12 in and 7 in records can be selected. This does not mean that you won’t be able to play other sizes, but you would have to operate the turntable manually. For example, if you have a 10 inch record, you would have to lift the tonearm with the lift button and position the needle manually.
As we stated earlier, the tonearm is permanently attached to the headshell assembly and the cartridge can’t be replaced. The tonearm is straight and cannot be upgraded either. This means that if you want an S-Shape tonearm, you would have to get a different model. This unit doesn’t have adjustment features like counterweight, anti-skate or height adjustment. The tracking force is about 3 grams, which is heavy compared to high end turntables, but it wont eat up your vinyl records. Other low end turntables have tracking forces of 5 grams or more, which could really damage your records. So, you are safe with this one.
Some people have complained that this unit does not have a clip to secure the tonearm, this could damage the turntable during transportation. I personally think that this is a good design because users could forget to release the tonearm before pressing the start button. This could damage your unit. If you need to move the unit, just secure the tonearm with a plastic tie during transportation.
If for some reason the automatic mechanism gets out of sync, for example if it doesn’t drop at the right position, you can re-sync the turntable by pressing the stop button, holding the tonearm with your fingers and turning the platter 10 times in a clockwise direction. This happened to me once when I transported my record player. I guess it moved a lot inside the car. But it was an easy fix.
Platter, Motor and Power
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB supports 33⅓ and 45 rpm playing speeds. You should not play 78 rpm records on this phonograph. The platter is made of aluminum and it comes with a black slip mat made of felt with the Audio-Technica logo printed in white.
This is a belt driven turntable, the platter is not directly attached to the motor, it rotates with the help of a rubber belt. On direct drive turntables the platter is directly attached to the motor shaft. There are some misconceptions about the type of drive. Many people think that direct drive turntables are better than belt driven ones. This is just not true. There are many high end turntables that are belt driven. Direct drive turntables are generally made for DJing, because they have higher torque. Belt driven record players are normally designed for audiophile listening. The belt helps attenuate the noise coming from the motor into the stylus.
One disadvantage of belt driven turntables is that you may need to replace the belt some time in the future depending on how much you use your player. The good news is that replacing the belt is fairly easy to install and you can find replacements on eBay.
This turntable comes with a power cord and can be connected to a AC 110V 60Hz power source. If you live in a country where 220V, 50Hz is the norm, buy the product locally and carefully read the specifications. Even if you get a voltage converter, the rotation speed of the platter may not be accurate due to the frequency of the alternating current. For example, if you buy this product in the UK, the power pupply requirements is 230V AC, 50 Hz.
Some consumers have complained about speed inaccuracy and noticeable pitch variations. I have not noticed this problem on mine. I listen to classical music albums with long note passages where speed variations are more noticeable, but they sounded fine. Of course, the ability to discriminate pitch variations is different for each individual. The only objective way to measure this is by using a test vinyl record. At the moment I don’t have one but I’m planing to buy one on the near future. If I measure my unit I’ll update this review. According to the user manual the wow and flutter is less than 0.25%. I think this is a decent value for this type of record player. High fidelity, top level turntables can reach values of less than 0.05%.
Before using the turntable you need to install the platter and belt. This is very easy to do, but make sure you read the instructions and follow the video provided by Audio Technica. Some people have mistakenly installed the drive belt on the white plastic post instead of the brass motor pulley.
Audio Technica AT-LP60 Variations
Recently, Audio Technica released the Bluetooth version of this great automatic turntable, the AT-LP60-BT. So I decided to update this article. At the time of this update, I’m aware of only two turntables that have wireless Bluetooth connectivity: the ION Audio Air LP and the Audio-Technica Bluetooth Turntable. In my opinion, the best bluetooth turntable beign the AT-LP60-BT.
What follows is a table comparing the different variations of this fully automatic record player.
Click the link for
|Audio Technica AT-LP60
|Audio Technica AT-LP60-BT
Like many record players, this turntable cannot produce any sounds by itself. It doesn’t have built in speakers. You need to hook it up to a sound system, amplifier, receiver or a set of powered speakers. There are many possible setups for this record player and it would be impossible for me to explain all of them. I’ll explain the basics and I’m sure you will be able to figure out the best setup for your particular needs.
There are three possible connections:
- USB – The Audio Technica AT-LP60 USB has a USB port. You can connect your player to your computer using the USB cable included. This is a convenient way to transfer your music to your computer using any recording software. Included is a CD with the the recording software Audacity, but is best to download the latest version from their website, since this software is in constant development. The USB does not need any special drivers and it is supposed to work on Windows, Linux and Mac. I have both Linux and Windows and it works well with both. The only problem is that the USB output signal is very low.
- PHONO – The turntable has a stereo RCA output cable. Set the preamp selector switch to PHONO if your receiver or home stereo system has a PHONO input. Remember that magnetic cartridges produce a weak electric signal. This type of signal is called phono level signal. If your home stereo or amplifier does not have a PHONO input you will have to connect the cables to the LINE or AUXILIARY input.
- LINE – This unit has a built in preamplifier for convenience to the user because many amplifiers or home stereo systems nowadays don’t have a PHONO input. Remember to set the preamp selector switch to LINE if you want to connect your player to a LINE or Auxiliary input.
The record player comes with two adapters that come in very handy if you want to connect your turntable to a 3.5 mm line input.
- Female RAC to 3.5 mm female jack adapter. You can use this adapter to connect headphones or powered speakers. Note that the turntable does not have a volume control. You would have to control the volume from your headphones or speakers.
- Female RAC to 3.5 mm male jack adapter. You could use this adapter to connect your player to a 3.5 mm line or auxiliary input, or to your computer’s sound card.
The RCA cables are hard wired to the unit. Many consumers don’t like that and neither do I because the cables are too short. Expect to spend some extra bucks on some extension cables if you decide to buy this product. Also, this record player does not have a ground wire, but I have not experienced any humming caused by a ground loop so far.
Some Possible Setups for the AT-LP60-USB
The most asked questions about this product relate to the possible different audio setups. Many people new to vinyl ask “What other equipment do I need to buy to make this turntable work?”. This is not a self contained player and does not have built int speakers. It needs to be hooked up to powered speakers or to your home stereo system. There are tons of audio devices and brands that would work well with this product and many possible setups. It would be impossible for me to list them all. Instead, I made some diagrams of the most common setups that will work with this product.
The simplest setup
I think the simplest way to use your record player is to hook up a pair of powered speakers or computer speakers. Note that the speakers on the image have a power cord. If your speakers are not self powered they won’t work. Some people have asked if this can be connected to a guitar amp. The answer is yes, your guitar amplifier is a powered speaker. Just make sure you have the right cable adapters. You will probably need a mini jack to ¼ inch jack adapter. For this setup you’ll need to set the preamp selector to LINE.
Connect the TT to a receiver with PHONO input
Notice that the preamp selector must be set to PHONO for this setup. The speakers don’t have a power cord. The speakers should be connected to the receiver or amplifier.
Connect the TT to a receiver with LINE input
Set the preamp selector to LINE.
It is possible to connect headphones to this unit by using the provided RCA to 3.5 mm female mini jack adapter. However, it is not a practical solution unless your headphones have a volume control. LINE must be selected on the preamp selector switch.
Connect the TT to an external phono preamp
If you happen to have a good phono preamp, you may consider bypassing the built in one. Or you may want to buy a better preamp than the one included with the record player. In this case you would have to select PHONO on the preamp selector switch. It would look something like this.
Connect the TT to a computer via USB
You can connect the phonograph to your computer using the USB cable provided. This will help you transform your albums to a digital format with the help of any recording software. To monitor USB output during recording you can use your computer speakers, headphones or you may plug in a set of powered speakers directly to your turntable.
Connect the TT to a computer via a 3.5 mm mini jack
You can also connect your record player to your computer’s sound card using the RCA to 3.5 mm male mini jack adapter.
Connect to a wireless transmitter
You can wirelessly play your vinyl records by plugging your turntable to a wireless transmitter as shown on the diagram. Some wireless transmitter also have a 3.5 mm input.
If you want a wireless turntable, take a look at the Audio Technica AT-LP60-BT with Bluetooth connectivity. The setup would look like this:
Receiver with USB input
On many receivers, there is a USB port. This is generally meant to be used for storage devices. The AT-LP60USB is not a storage device. This setup will not work unless your receiver supports USB audio streaming.
The Recording Software: Audacity
Many consumers have complained about the software that comes with this product. I decided to write a separate section about the software because there is a lot of misunderstanding. Most complains come from people that found the recording process time consuming and the software difficult to use. These consumers bought the product looking for an easy and fast solution to transfer their LPs to a digital format.
Despite being a great product, the AT-LP60-USB has received many low rates because of the software. Keep in mind that the software is not part of the product, it’s just an audio recording tool that Audio Technica recommends because is a wonderful recording software and can be downloaded for free. If you are unfamiliar with recording tools, you may find the software difficult to use. I encourage you to try it and learn to use it, after passing the learning curve you’ll realize how useful this tool is. Not only for transferring vinyl records but for editing any type of audio. You can read my tutorial on how to digitize your LPs with Audacity for more information.
The audio recording software recommended by Audio Technica is Audacity, which is a free audio editing and recording tool. It’s a wonderful tool but it wasn’t designed specifically for digitizing LPs, so it has a lot of features that you may not need. It is in constant development, so it does not make sense to use the CD that comes with your turntable. My advice is to download the latest version from their website, don’t use the one on the CD because it is most likely outdated.
You don’t have to use Audacity if you don’t like it. You can use any recording software for that purpose. If you find Audacity difficult to use, try other recording software and tools. There are many out there. Just to name a few:
- MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab
- Adobe Audition
- Roxio easy LP to MP3
- Roxio Toast (Mac)
- Garage Band (Mac)
- Sound Studio (Mac)
- Waveshop (Windows, Free)
- Wavesaur (Wondows, Free)
- ACID Music Studio (Windows)
- EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter. Developed by MixMeister in conjuction with ION and Neumark. This software is to be used with ION and Neumark prodcuts only. It does work with the AT-LP60 USB. However, you should be aware that there may be legal implications.
- Golden Records Analog to CD/MP3 Converter
- Vinyl Studio
- Audio Workshop by DAK
You’ll find that some of the other applications are just as complicated as Audacity if not more, and you’ll have to buy them. I’m sure there are other options but this list is enough for the majority of users. If I find better options I’ll make sure to update this post.
Although this turntable does not have the sound quality of top high fidelity turntables, it has a very decent sound quality for the average listener. It produces a very clear and warm sound. And because of the magnetic cartridge you’ll find that the sound is much better than the one produced by cheap turntables with ceramic cartridges like the Crosley Cruiser or the Jensen JTA-230. Of course it also depends on the quality of the rest of your audio equipment.
When judging the sound quality of a turntable it is very important to keep in mind that the quality of the sound coming out of the speakers is the result of a very complicated process that involves all the audio components. I call it the “Sound Quality Chain”. If you pair up your Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB with a good set of speakers and a good receiver you will be very pleased with the results. However if you connect your record player to one of those small portable speakers, don’t expect to have an amazing listening experience. Always keep your records clean and in good condition because this also affects sound quality.
Body and Look
There are three versions of this turntable. They comes in different colors depending on the model. Audio-Technica constantly changes their models, therefore it’s hard for me to keep this article up to date. You can check Audio-Technica’s website for up to date information about therir turntables.
- AT-LP60 without USB. Available in silver, royal blue, pink and black.
- AT-LP60-USB with USB connection. Available in silver and black.
- AT-LP60-BT wireless turntable with Bluetooth connectivity, without USB. Available in white, black and navy.
The unit is mainly made of plastic, except for the platter which is made of aluminum. It has a nice simple clean design and looks very elegant.When carried, it has a flimsy feel. It comes with a removable clear dust cover. I have seen complains that the dust cover gets scratched easily. I have confirmed this fact, but that is what the cover is for, to protect your records and your player.
It does not have a power button, so you have to keep it plugged in, but the unit operates only when the start button is pressed or when the arm is moved towards the record. The unit has rubber feet that help reduce vibrations. However, because the unit is too light, external vibration can make the needle skip. My daughter likes to dance to the music when I’m listening to my LPs. If she gets too close to the turntable the tonearm skips when she hits the floor. No big deal, I just tell her to keep a reasonable distance 🙂
The player has the following controls that are intuitive and easy to use:
- Start button
- Stop button
- Tonearm lift button
- Record size selector for 7 and 12 inch records
- Speed selector button (33 and 45 rpm)
- On the back there is the preamp selector switch (PHONO/LINE)
- 45 rmp adapter for playing 7 inch vinyl records
- Size: 360.0 mm (14.17″) W x 97.5 mm (3.84″) H x 356.0 mm (14.02″) D
- Weight: 3 kg (6.6 lbs.)
AT-LP60-USB Consumer reviews
The AT-LP60 turntable has gained very good ratings. Consumers appreciate the ease of use and the easy assembly. The sound quality is remarkable compared to other turntables with a similar price. Consumers brag about Audio Technica customer service. There are many people that have had this turntable for over a year without problems. Most consumers are satisfied with the quality of their recordings, but many complain about the complicated software.
Among the most frequent problems reported are:
- Speed inconsistencies like chipmunk-like overspeed, and noticeable wow and flutter. I have not had this problem with mine.
- Flimsy buttons malfunctioning after some time. The malfunctioning buttons can be fixed by opening the unit from the bottom to realign the metal rods.
- The recording level from the USB port has repeatedly reported to be extremely low. After recording you have to boost the volume with the software. I have confirmed this myself. I get better results by connecting the turntable directly to the sound card.
- Some consumers have reported skipping with new albums. This also happens with other turntables because of the way new records are made and mastered. You can reduce the chances of skipping by placing your record player on a perfectly leveled surface.
- Some defective units have been reported, like units not turning on or off. The good thing is that Audio Technica has a great customer service and they will make sure your issue gets resolved. Don’t hesitate to contact them if you have any issues. Audio Technica offers a 1 year limited warranty.
- Users not able to monitor their recording when using the USB port. This is not a problem, in Audacity go to Preferences ->Recording -> Playtrhough and select the option “Softaware Playthrough”. For more information, consult my tutorial on digitizing your LPs with Audacity.
Service Bulletin Issued for the AT-LP60, AT-LP60RBL and AT-LP60-USB Turntables
I updated this article because I found out that a service bulletin was issued for this turntable. Some units shipped after November 2015 did not have spindles adequately lubricated. This may cause the platter to stop rotating after a couple of hours of use. However, this problem affects a small percentage of production units. Here are the serial numbers affected:
Pros, Cons and Manual
- Fully automatic
- USB port for digital transfer
- Dust cover
- Very easy to assemble
- Simple operation
- Replaceable stylus
- Great customer support
- Magnetic cartridge
- Decent sound quality
- Short RCA cables
- Hardwired RCA cables
- No adjustment features like counterweight and anti-skate
- Cannot be upgraded
- Low recording level through USB
- No built in speakers
- No volume control
Click the link download the manual.
The Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB is a great entry level turntable with a decent sound quality at a very affordable price. This turntable beats its similar price competitors. This fully automatic turntable is very easy to use and easy to assemble. Best option for for the average listener. Not a good option if you want a simple solution to digitize your vinyl collection because there is some software learning to be done. Not a good choice for someone looking for a more professional turntable with adjustments. Some malfunction units have been reported but remember that Audio Technica has a great customer support. I hope you liked this review. Feel free to leave your comment below. Happy listening!