This turntable was an upgrade from an Audio-Technica AT-LP 60. I have been listening to my vinyl more and more lately and, while there wasn’t anything wrong with my old turntable, I just kept thinking/feeling that I wasn’t getting the best sound from it so I started looking around for an upgrade. I looked at offerings from Pro-Ject, U Turn and others… with most of those I would have ended up spending more for the turntable and then also have to purchase an amp to place between my turntable and my receiver (which doesn’t have a Phono input).
I realize that many “audiophiles” aren’t crazy about this turntable because of the built-in phono amp. I’m not one of those guys who sits around in a smoking jacket sipping brandy… analyzing the sound quality of my music. I am a guy who’s listened to music all his life, loves great music and a great, big sound coming out of his speakers. This turntable delivers like Domino’s for me and my needs. From a build-quality perspective it’s definitely a step up from my old turntable. It is heavy (there is a large metal weight bolted inside the bottom of the chassis (I found this out by watching a couple youtube videos). Even though the chassis is plastic on the outside, the weight and feel of the switches/controls feels really good. Everything from the power switch to the start/stop button to the cueing lever feels like good quality to me. The hinged cover opens with a good, solid feel and stays put in the open position. There are a lot of features here that I’ll probably never use… not a DJ so I don’t know that I really need to change the pitch of my music or play a record backwards. If you’re interested in doing any of these things they’re here for you. I do really like the pop-up light tho. It keeps me from having to turn on brighter lights to line the stylus up with the beginning of the record.
I did spend a bit more to get the black version, but I’m happy with the way it looks with all the rest of my other components which happen to be black. If you are interested in upgrading components you can always get a higher-quality cartridge/stylus. I don’t hate the one it came with which is the Audio-Technica AT95E (the green one). Apparently this turntable used to come with a lesser-quality cart that was white.
One last thing, and it’s a very important note. My old Audio-Technica turntable’s cover got scratched up really bad during a move. I contacted Audio-Technica support to ask about ordering a new cover. I fully expected the cover to cost a crazy amount of money and for it to be such a huge pain in the ass that I’d just say the heck with it. I contacted their tech support and got a reply from someone within 24 hours. He was incredibly helpful and told me the part number I needed and the price. I was impressed with how nice and helpful he was as well as the fact that they weren’t gouging me for the replacement cover (I think it was around $20). I called him back and ordered the replacement, shipping was a very reasonable $4 and it was on my doorstep within 3 days. I was surprised and impressed with the service I got… something I don’t think most people can say very often.