Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

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conoroconnell
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Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by conoroconnell » 25 Jan 2020 21:28

Hi all,
Just curious this evening regarding the Audio Technica tables. Last January when I went to upgrade my TT (from one of those crappy all in one units given to me the Christmas before), I was hell bent on the LP120. I decided to go new rather than used as I have had bad experiences buying any used electrical goods in the past, and for a non-audiophile I just thought it more trouble than it was worth. Anyway, got to my local Tower HiFi store and grimaced to myself at the price of their LP120s but still pointed one out with the intention of purchasing it. Shop assistant's first question was if I was a DJ or not. I'm not, so his first words were to check out the LP3 instead- basically telling me there wasn't much point in me getting a LP120 unless I was a DJ, and that someone just interested in listening to records at home should go with the LP3 over it. Basically the LP120 without all the fancy bells and whistles.

It's now a year since I purchased it and honestly I find it a great little machine, albeit maybe with a bit of a speed issue (which I think can be fixed by fiddling with screws at the bottom, which I'm not sure if I'm prepared to do). I quickly replaced the standard conical stylus cartridge with an elliptical one, the ATVM95E (honestly not sure if I heard much difference though).

Just interested to see if what that shop assistant told me is true; I hear much ado about the 120 series but never much about the LP3, for whatever reason this may be. Also, I went in to the same shop a while later when I was unsure about how to balance the tonearm, counterweight adjustment etc, and was told by a shop assistant that all of that didn't really matter with my model (what a stupid statement!), which kind of put a dent in their knowledge and credibility etc, or maybe he just couldn't have been bothered showing me. (By the way, I'm not sure if that's the same person who sold me the TT).

By the way, in terms of aesthetics I still think the 120 has the edge. I like a nice squared off design, to be honest I'm definitely not a fan of the curvy shape of the LP3.
What does everyone think?
Conor

Bob Dillon
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by Bob Dillon » 25 Jan 2020 21:36

LP120 not really a real DJ turntable. It's direct drive but you wouldn't want to put it in a club PA system with it's plastic plinth.

LP3 is belt drive, maybe your speed issues should be looked at there, with the belt, before you go turnin' any screws. Or maybe it has inherently poor wow and flutter.

No offense but I think I would have gone with the LP120 over the LP3 for spinnin' records at home.

cafe latte
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by cafe latte » 25 Jan 2020 21:48

If you are spending such a small budget used is the only way you are going to get something decent. The LP120 is junk, a cheap imitation of the Technics sl1200mk2 which is a fantastic turntable also for hifi.
If you really insist on buying new save up and get a sl1500C which is a real turntable that will sound great and last a lifetime.
Chris

conoroconnell
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by conoroconnell » 26 Jan 2020 11:12

Yes might go down the used technics route in future.. doubt the lp120 is 'junk'- I mean I'm not interested in a really expensive TT as good as they probably are- just a decent reasonably sounding model. I agree though that the lp120 is a complete imitation of a technics

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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by cafe latte » 26 Jan 2020 12:05

conoroconnell wrote:
26 Jan 2020 11:12
Yes might go down the used technics route in future.. doubt the lp120 is 'junk'- I mean I'm not interested in a really expensive TT as good as they probably are- just a decent reasonably sounding model. I agree though that the lp120 is a complete imitation of a technics
Arm has issues with anti skate and bearings, strobe is off mains not quartz locked so pointless wow and flutter is 10 times higher than Technics, plinth is undampred , platter is undamped and motor is not shielded. The LP120 is a toy compared to the Technics they only have a visual thing in common nothing else, the Technics is many levels above.
Chris

Vinylfreak86
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 26 Jan 2020 14:03

Save your money. Find one vintage Sanyo based DD turntable. They are available for cheap and easy to service, even if not working. But not buy and "computer-controled" higher rank models, when they spoil, they spoil forever. Those two mentioned Audio-technika turntables are just toys.

poutrew
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by poutrew » 26 Jan 2020 20:12

Getting opinions on turntables is like asking people what is their favorite flavor of ice cream. You will get as many opinions as people responding. The Audio Technica turntables are not the best table out there, true. But, they are also far, far from 'junk'. I have one, an AT LP120 USB, and I am very happy with it. I got it mainly because I wanted a direct drive unit. The only problem I have encountered is with its weak anti-skate spring. I've ordered a new spring from AT Parts, for a dollar, and will make the switch when I get some time. Some people don't like the built in pre-amp, but I have no issues with it. As far as a blanket 'junk' conclusion goes, well, I am sure the audiophile guru Michael Fremer would call most tables under 10,000 dollars junk - his personal table cost him 30,000 dollars. And he got it at a great bargain... :shock: Strangely enough, Fremer reviewed the AT LP120 on audiophile magazine, and he liked it... so much for taste... :)

lenjack
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by lenjack » 26 Jan 2020 20:28

The "shop assistant" who told you that arm adjustments for your model "didn't matter" was a complete ass, and should have been flipping burgers instead. Both these tables are marginally OK, but you really should get something better. No, the 120 is/was not a DJ table, but the Technics table it imitated certainly was.

cafe latte
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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by cafe latte » 26 Jan 2020 22:54

poutrew wrote:
26 Jan 2020 20:12
Getting opinions on turntables is like asking people what is their favorite flavor of ice cream. You will get as many opinions as people responding. The Audio Technica turntables are not the best table out there, true. But, they are also far, far from 'junk'. I have one, an AT LP120 USB, and I am very happy with it. I got it mainly because I wanted a direct drive unit. The only problem I have encountered is with its weak anti-skate spring. I've ordered a new spring from AT Parts, for a dollar, and will make the switch when I get some time. Some people don't like the built in pre-amp, but I have no issues with it. As far as a blanket 'junk' conclusion goes, well, I am sure the audiophile guru Michael Fremer would call most tables under 10,000 dollars junk - his personal table cost him 30,000 dollars. And he got it at a great bargain... :shock: Strangely enough, Fremer reviewed the AT LP120 on audiophile magazine, and he liked it... so much for taste... :)
Decent direct dives have wow and flutter around the 0.02% AT tables have 10 times that. When Hi fi World tested the AT120 they tested in the same issue an entry level belt drive which they noted had far less wow and flutter and rumble than the lp120 which is nuts that a cheap belt had less wow and flutter than a direct drive. The AT turntable will also hum with unshilded carts as motor is not shielded. Platter is not damped a and too light, plinth is not damped either and the quality of internal preamp is terrible.
When the Audio Technica turntables came out I auditioned them not good..
Chris

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Re: Audio Technica: LP3 vs LP120

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 27 Jan 2020 10:05

cafe latte wrote:
26 Jan 2020 22:54
Platter is not damped a and too light, plinth is not damped either and the quality of internal preamp is terrible.
When the Audio Technica turntables came out I auditioned them not good..
Chris
Here I have to say, that plinth is the only thing which I like on these turntables. It is solid build (but hollow) and has good anti-vibration feet. When I had Reloop, which is made on the same basis, I could jump near the turntable with wooden floor in my room and nothing happened on the playback. But platter is terrible, thin and light and rings like a bell all the time when spinning.

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