Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

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kramer
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by kramer » 09 Nov 2016 09:38

I had the AT LP120 and did the preamp mod etc, and while it wasn't unpleasant sounding, I could always some motor noise present during quiet tracks. Its an ideal starter turntable, but i eventually sold it and got the 1240, which is built like a tank and sounds great through a standalone preamp. The built in preamp does not seem to have an impact on sound, which is just as well as I have no intention of taking apart a new £370+ turntable :shock:

Finally its well worth investing in a genuine Technics counter weight which is heavier than the stock Audio Technica. Looks better too.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Technics-SFPW ... SwI-BWHSRl

Audio Technica AT LP1240
Nagaoka MP-110
Cambridge Audio 551P preamp
Yamaha AS 501
Yamaha CD-N301
Pure DRX 701 ES DAB tuner
Tannoy Mercury V4
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antennaguru
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by antennaguru » 28 Feb 2017 03:37

Someone from an audio society I'm involved with brought over a Technics SL12XX with some modifications to the tonearm and some plinth damping they had a high opinion of, to try to sell it to me following an audition on my revealing system, and comparison with my current turntables. The listening results were:

1. Goldmund/Goldmund
2. Oracle/Graham
3. Lenco L75/Jelco
4. Homebrew Belt Drive/Jelco
5. Thorens TD 125 Mk2/Helius
6. Linn Sondek LP12/Fidelity Research
7. BIG GAP (not a turntable, just a large performance gap)
8. Technics SL12XX with modifications
9. QRK 12C/Microtrak

So, bottom line there was a big gap in performance between the "lowly" Linn LP12 and the Technics SL12XX (with modifications), too large to justify the purchase of the Technics. Believe what you want but this Technics SL12XX was not a high-end turntable as is did not surpass my benchmark to the entry of the high-end, being my "lowly" LP12...

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by H. callahan » 28 Feb 2017 04:50

Do you happen to know whether this Technics was servo- or quartz-controlled?
Which were the drawbacks you could hear?

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by antennaguru » 28 Feb 2017 05:15

Quartz.
Couldn't carry a tune when listening to well miked classical piano music, and was just generally uninvolving with most music, and not as tuneful as the others (except one). I never wanted to get up and dance listening to the Technics!
Playing the Vanessa Fernandez LP "When the Levee Breaks", which is a carefully recorded great sounding album on the higher ranking turntables was amazing, involving, and pulled me into the performance, making me want to get up and say WOW. That was not the case with the Technics which just lacked about everything that the others did so well. It turned a dynamic involving performance into a bland one. The only turntable worse on hand was the big former radio station idler drive QRK, and that because of its audible rumble. In every other way the idler was actually a bit better but the rumble was the deal breaker with that one - so the Technics did beat something. So no, it's not the worst turntable - just worse than real high end turntables, starting with the "lowly" Linn LP12. The differences were more extreme as we moved up the ladder. I don't know the details of the tonearm and plinth damping done to the Technics, but it was one of the less inspiring turntable I've heard in a while.

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by H. callahan » 28 Feb 2017 05:40

Sounds like the Technics still is lacking some damping. Interesting, because the Linn seems to be a sub-chassis-construction and these usually have problems with vibrations.
What would you say about the speed stability of the quartz Technics?

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by cafe latte » 28 Feb 2017 09:56

antennaguru wrote:Quartz.
Couldn't carry a tune when listening to well miked classical piano music, and was just generally uninvolving with most music, and not as tuneful as the others (except one). I never wanted to get up and dance listening to the Technics!
Playing the Vanessa Fernandez LP "When the Levee Breaks", which is a carefully recorded great sounding album on the higher ranking turntables was amazing, involving, and pulled me into the performance, making me want to get up and say WOW. That was not the case with the Technics which just lacked about everything that the others did so well. It turned a dynamic involving performance into a bland one. The only turntable worse on hand was the big former radio station idler drive QRK, and that because of its audible rumble. In every other way the idler was actually a bit better but the rumble was the deal breaker with that one - so the Technics did beat something. So no, it's not the worst turntable - just worse than real high end turntables, starting with the "lowly" Linn LP12. The differences were more extreme as we moved up the ladder. I don't know the details of the tonearm and plinth damping done to the Technics, but it was one of the less inspiring turntable I've heard in a while.
Add an arm damper and a psu and the Technics will win. I have 5 turntables and a rather decent system, set up correctly with a decent cart the Technics will beat most turntables and yes I have heard one next to a Sondek and the Technics sounded way better. The rest needs to be correct though, the Technics is neutral often people merit lesser turntables due to a " more sound" but decent gear will highlight this as doubling distortion.
Chris

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by H. callahan » 01 Mar 2017 02:38

Looking at the service manual for the Technics MKII it seems like its not a subchassis-construction. Therefore the stand for a Technics should be more critical than for a Linn.

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by cafe latte » 01 Mar 2017 04:31

H. callahan wrote:Looking at the service manual for the Technics MKII it seems like its not a subchassis-construction. Therefore the stand for a Technics should be more critical than for a Linn.
floating sub chassis is not the be all and end all of TT design, there drawbacks too, watch what a stylus does when someone walks across a springy floor with a floating sub chassis turntable, it is not good. There is a very good argument for having everything solid like in the Technics. Older Linn's are basically a box plinth which is far from ideal too. Not wanting to get into a Technics Linn debate, it has been done to death. The sl1200 mk2 benefits like any turntable from sorbothane feet. I never really understood why some companies use spikes for feet as this couples the shelf to the turntable plinth ie sending shelf vibrations directly to the plinth really stupid..
My only turntable with a floating sub chassis is my Orpheus and it is not my best sounding TT by a long way. A good solid dead plinth a good solid shelf ie off the floor for the turntable is always a good idea whatever turntable you own as with or without a floating sub chassis vibrations and shocks are not a good thing.
Technics sound good stock, but dont know why but are a bit narrow sounding without an arm damper, this cheap mod changes the turntable completely, the feet and the psu are next making a very worthwhile difference, the rest is probably diminishing returns. The cart on my Technics cost more than the Technics cost new, but it sounds stunning so worthwhile ie the Turntable is good enough for it.
Chris

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by antennaguru » 01 Mar 2017 06:45

H. callahan wrote:What would you say about the speed stability of the quartz Technics?
The Technics couldn't carry a tune as well as the other turntables, didn't sound as natural as the other turntables, and listening to the Technics made us want to go back to listening to the other turntable it was being compared to - with that one exception of the QRK.

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by cafe latte » 01 Mar 2017 07:34

antennaguru wrote:
H. callahan wrote:What would you say about the speed stability of the quartz Technics?
The Technics couldn't carry a tune as well as the other turntables, didn't sound as natural as the other turntables, and listening to the Technics made us want to go back to listening to the other turntable it was being compared to - with that one exception of the QRK.
Not what I found,I have as I said 5 other turntables to compare it too. That said the damper does make a massive difference taking the Technics from being a good turntable to an excellent one.
Chris

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by H. callahan » 02 Mar 2017 03:21

floating sub chassis is not the be all and end all of TT design
Don´t get me wrong, i´m aware of that. What i wanted to say is that a non-subchassis-construction does benefit more from a good stand, while a subchassis-construction always will have vibrations regardless of the stand, because of its subchassis.
But a non-subchassis-construction will suffer more from a bad stand than a subchassis-construction would.
The Technics couldn't carry a tune as well as the other turntables, didn't sound as natural as the other turntables, and listening to the Technics made us want to go back to listening to the other turntable it was being compared to - with that one exception of the QRK.
Thank you for the answer.

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by antennaguru » 02 Mar 2017 06:37

cafe latte wrote: Add an arm damper and a psu and the Technics will win. I have 5 turntables and a rather decent system, set up correctly with a decent cart the Technics will beat most turntables and yes I have heard one next to a Sondek and the Technics sounded way better. The rest needs to be correct though, the Technics is neutral often people merit lesser turntables due to a " more sound" but decent gear will highlight this as doubling distortion.
Chris
This Technics SL1200 Mk2 had arm-wrap damping (from Music Direct), Vibrapod feet plus some other damping sheets applied to the chassis, and it was totally blown away by the lowly Linn LP12 with Fidelity Research Arm and its internal Hercules Sine Wave Generator Board (upgraded from the internal Valhala Board), when it came to tunefulness and natural piano and percussion reproduction. It wasn't its lack of a suspension since two of the turntables that ate its lunch, and also the Linn LP12's lunch were completely suspension-less. Suspension-less turntables are not a problem in my room since it has a structurally reinforced floor and you can physically jump up and down without any skipping, nor does the room bass excite the turntables. The floor was reinforced years ago to improve the bass. The turntables being compared were always both on identical lightweight rigid supports, and with similar if not identical cartridges, during the comparisons.

Being lighter and well grounded (direct connection path via fine points) allows vibrations to quickly dissipate away from the stylus interface. OTOH, damping adds mass and tends to store vibration energy longer and typically causes more harm due to the slow release of the energy. Mechanical grounding is critical to good turntables. However, in the case of the Technics its non-replaceable arm is so very substandard that dramatic measures like damping appear to actually help.

I personally think the Technic's weakest links were its lightweight platter (poor inertia to deal with percussive groove dynamics that single tone wow/flutter tests don't reveal) and its substandard arm. That Technics arm can't really be compared to most decent arms and certainly the arms I pitted against it (due to its inherent poor effective mass, and pitifully low bearing quality), and it's a shame that those plinths don't readily accept higher quality arms like even a less expensive Thorens TD125 Mk2 will, which also blew both the Technics and the Linn away when it came to tunefulness and natural sound. There were some older Technics of higher quality that could be built into better plinths which could in turn support better arms, but those SP models are known to frequently fail and contain some unobtainable chips. The Linn LP12 is just a far better benchmark to delineate the low end of the high end, and it ate the Technic's lunch by a big gap. I suspect that any Linn LP12 you heard get beaten by any Technics had a setup problem that should have been resolved before the comparison was made, and there is definitely a bit of effort that goes into setting up an LP12 suspension.

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by Martindfletcher » 02 Mar 2017 09:21

Shooby Doo wrote:
dalron wrote:
Shooby Doo wrote:Thank you for that. When I say "decent" I understand that it is a relative term. I currently am not looking for a super high end TT, just something superior to a Crosley or what I currently own, which is an Audio Technica AT-PL50. So you can see the comparatively speaking, the 120, 1240 or the Pioneer models are "decent", so your list at my price range really does help. Thank you!


I'm no audiophile either. I happened to be in a local store which had started selling those Chinese-made all-in-one boxes made to look like antique units - TT (probably from the Crosley factory), cassette and CD player, USB, Bluetooth etc for $175 and got the urge to buy one and resurrect my record collection which had been stored in a closet for more than 30 years (thankfully all in perfect condition).

I joined here and a few other places in the days after I bought the all-in-one and quickly decided to return it. In it's place I bought the AT-LP120 which retails for $595 in Australia although I got mine for $100 cheaper when it was on sale. It's hooked into a Panasonic CD player which is at least 10 years or more older, and sounds good and loud enough for my ears. (They don't make Panasonics like that one anymore!)

https://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-SC-PM2 ... B0001WV74K

I'm perfectly happy with my purchase so far and would buy it again. It would be nice to spend many hundreds of $ on an expensive TT and setup but to be honest I doubt I would notice the difference.

Between my LP120, CDs & Spotify, I'm as happy as a pig in mud. :D
^^^ This! ^^^
Thank you, dalron! I appreciate all the technical knowledge, but I just wanted a normal-ish opinion.
If you take the pre amp out if the lp120, directly wire some good cables to the tone arm, upgrade the cart to something like a at440mla/b, change the tracking weight, dampen out the rumble a bit, it sounds pretty decent. There are plenty sites on it, if I were do it over again I would buy used
https://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/ttables.htm

I also have a thorns td124, different ball game and price,

I thought about using the AT to digitize some things but with the preamp and decent cartridge it was barely better than cd but with occasional pop, noticable rumble even not using the preamp.

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2017 04:38

antennaguru wrote:
cafe latte wrote: Add an arm damper and a psu and the Technics will win. I have 5 turntables and a rather decent system, set up correctly with a decent cart the Technics will beat most turntables and yes I have heard one next to a Sondek and the Technics sounded way better. The rest needs to be correct though, the Technics is neutral often people merit lesser turntables due to a " more sound" but decent gear will highlight this as doubling distortion.
Chris
This Technics SL1200 Mk2 had arm-wrap damping (from Music Direct), Vibrapod feet plus some other damping sheets applied to the chassis, and it was totally blown away by the lowly Linn LP12 with Fidelity Research Arm and its internal Hercules Sine Wave Generator Board (upgraded from the internal Valhala Board), when it came to tunefulness and natural piano and percussion reproduction. It wasn't its lack of a suspension since two of the turntables that ate its lunch, and also the Linn LP12's lunch were completely suspension-less. Suspension-less turntables are not a problem in my room since it has a structurally reinforced floor and you can physically jump up and down without any skipping, nor does the room bass excite the turntables. The floor was reinforced years ago to improve the bass. The turntables being compared were always both on identical lightweight rigid supports, and with similar if not identical cartridges, during the comparisons.

Being lighter and well grounded (direct connection path via fine points) allows vibrations to quickly dissipate away from the stylus interface. OTOH, damping adds mass and tends to store vibration energy longer and typically causes more harm due to the slow release of the energy. Mechanical grounding is critical to good turntables. However, in the case of the Technics its non-replaceable arm is so very substandard that dramatic measures like damping appear to actually help.

I personally think the Technic's weakest links were its lightweight platter (poor inertia to deal with percussive groove dynamics that single tone wow/flutter tests don't reveal) and its substandard arm. That Technics arm can't really be compared to most decent arms and certainly the arms I pitted against it (due to its inherent poor effective mass, and pitifully low bearing quality), and it's a shame that those plinths don't readily accept higher quality arms like even a less expensive Thorens TD125 Mk2 will, which also blew both the Technics and the Linn away when it came to tunefulness and natural sound. There were some older Technics of higher quality that could be built into better plinths which could in turn support better arms, but those SP models are known to frequently fail and contain some unobtainable chips. The Linn LP12 is just a far better benchmark to delineate the low end of the high end, and it ate the Technic's lunch by a big gap. I suspect that any Linn LP12 you heard get beaten by any Technics had a setup problem that should have been resolved before the comparison was made, and there is definitely a bit of effort that goes into setting up an LP12 suspension.
We are talking different damping, you are wrapping the arm, I am talking about a Kab damper which is a liquid type damper helping the stylus track the groove. Wrapping the arm in something does nothing. Mine has a psu from Kab too which make a difference too. It should be noted too that the Technics sl1200mk2 arm is replaceable, many people fit all sorts of arms including sme309's to them. The platter of a Technics is not light either especially not with the mat. Sp10' mk2s dont have unobtainable chips either this is false.
You have bashed Technics on so many threads, and you go on about how the Linn blew the Technics away on this one. I have listened to a Linn and Technics side by side and what you are saying just is not true. Yes my Technics has a few small mod but even stock the Technics was really very good. I do use carts around the 1k mark though and my system is quite high end, maybe something in your set up is limiting? Maybe the colour of the sound of the Linn is filling a hole in the sound, I dont know, but for sure with a really good cart and good system most wont know which is which turntable. I could as I could hear the warmer Linn sound (which I dont like) but suptle stuff all the same.
Chris

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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2017 04:52

What I do find most annoying is wild statements like this TT cant carry a tune whatever the make. There are so many factors, the mods like the damper I mentioned on the Technics, the cart used, is it a good cart for the arm and is it set up correctly. Are comparison tests done using the same cart (more often not the answer is no and test means nothing). If the same cart is used is it the correct compliance for both arms and is it set up correctly on both? Are both the TT's working correctly, does the rest of the system do the turntable set up justice? How big or small is the listening room? What does the person listening like? A friend on this forum who is also not a Technics fan, we often joke about it, likes his music nails down blackboard hard :shock: . His system is really nice but I honestly could not live with it, but we all hear differently. My ears are very good indeed as are Chris's we both have regular tests, yet we both like our setups to sound different.
I dont believe that a Linn next to a Technics showed even a standard Technics a clean pair of heels, this is just forum talk, I said so hence it is true, this is on forums all the time. I do believe though that someone can prefer one sound to another, it does not mean either are getting anything wrong, just that we as people are not all the same..
Chris

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