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Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

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Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Shooby Doo » 22 Oct 2016 00:57

Hello,

I've been really wanting to dive in and get the next step up in a TT, so I have been researching for a while and I feel like once I've made my mind up, something changes it again. I keep coming back to the AT-LP120 being the "best for the price", but I've also read about some problems with this TT. Are those issues just from picky audiophiles? Or are there any real issues that a non-expert like myself should worry about? I've found a AT-LP1240 New for $360. Is that a good price? Is the 1240 worth the price bump? Especially since I'd have to get a cartridge as well. I'm leaning toward the AT-LP120 right now just because of price.

Here is what I'm looking at..

1) AT-LP120 with included Mackie CR3 monitors for $330
2) AT-LP120 for $255 + monitors (don't want to spend more that about $100-$150) = approx $405
3) AT-LP1240 for $360 + monitors + cartridge AT100E $70 = approx $580

I'm a casual listener, absolutely no intentions to use for DJing or anything other than enjoying in the comfort of my home. I do like a few extra features but I don't need anything that's overkill or the best of the best, just a quality TT that won't give me issues.

Can some of you knowledgeable audiophiles please give some advice to a lady who's just a bit confused by all the choices out there? I'm open to other options as well. I'm trying to stay as close to $400 as possible, but my all in budget is about $550-$600.

Thanks all! :D
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby macnoob » 22 Oct 2016 04:17

Is that $400 just for the turntable? Because you will need some kind of amplifier and speakers as well.... when you say "monitors" - I guess you mean powered speakers of some sort.

People talk down the A-T tables because they are made in China and have been known to have some quality issues - if you do decide on one of these make sure it can be returned if you get a bad one.

Watch for the 1240 to go on sale nearer Christmas for $288 at places like Fry's or on Amazon. The AT100 is a very good cartridge.

Consider the UTurn Orbit in that price range - US made, with a quality cartridge, and good customer support. Include their builtin pre-amp and you can plug it into any pair of powered speakers. Include the cueing lever for convenience. And you should be well under $400.

https://store.uturnaudio.com/products/o ... -turntable
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby H. callahan » 22 Oct 2016 05:56

Well, you see in the 1950s there was something created called the HIFI-norm (HiFi = high fidelity, its simmilar to nowadays HD = high definition, HD usually being better than HiFi). Within this norm there were requirements stated, an audio-device needs to have to be called HiFi.
Nearly every tt built within the last 50 years is "HiFi" or even better.
The AT-LP120 doesn´t comply with the HiFi-norm from the 1950s, its so bad it would have been crap 60 YEARS AGO (and still is today).
The AT-LP1240 just may be within the HiFi-norm, but there are waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy better tts out there.
If you´re a casual listener the AT-LP1240 may be ok, but you could get something waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy better, used of course, for around 100$. Something used may need some cleaning, repairing.

So if you want something good (+ save money), you go with something used, but then you´ll have to refurbish a bit or get it refurbished (which would cost money).
If you don´t mind good/best quality, but want something new, go with the AT-LP1240 - but then you´re paying a lot money for "little tt" and if you want to improve your tt someday, you´ll have to get another one, because the AT-LP1240 is just as good as an average tt from the 1960s.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Alec124c41 » 22 Oct 2016 05:58

Going up a step in anything, is worth while, particularly in the lower levels of anything. Get the best you can afford, and your enjoyment will be your payback. Bottom line stuff tends to be just frustrating.

Cheers,
Alec
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Shooby Doo » 22 Oct 2016 06:21

H. callahan wrote:Well, you see in the 1950s there was something created called the HIFI-norm (HiFi = high fidelity, its simmilar to nowadays HD = high definition, HD usually being better than HiFi). Within this norm there were requirements stated, an audio-device needs to have to be called HiFi.
Nearly every tt built within the last 50 years is "HiFi" or even better.
The AT-LP120 doesn´t comply with the HiFi-norm from the 1950s, its so bad it would have been crap 60 YEARS AGO (and still is today).
The AT-LP1240 just may be within the HiFi-norm, but there are waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy better tts out there.
If you´re a casual listener the AT-LP1240 may be ok, but you could get something waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy better, used of course, for around 100$. Something used may need some cleaning, repairing.

So if you want something good (+ save money), you go with something used, but then you´ll have to refurbish a bit or get it refurbished (which would cost money).
If you don´t mind good/best quality, but want something new, go with the AT-LP1240 - but then you´re paying a lot money for "little tt" and if you want to improve your tt someday, you´ll have to get another one, because the AT-LP1240 is just as good as an average tt from the 1960s.


Can I ask what new tt you would suggest? I don't mind used, but there are so many variables with anything used and I'd rather not deal with that now. I'm trying to stay in the $400 range. It doesn't have to be the best of the best, just really good for the price. And quality. Something that I don't have to worry about getting a bad tt and dealing with issues.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby raphaelmabo » 22 Oct 2016 08:15

The problem with those turntables is that they have too much features for the price. Instead of spending money on a good motor, plinth and tonearm - the money has been spent on USB-phono stages and DJ-features such as pitch/variable speed control etc. The AT-LP5 is a good turntable, here we can talk about a quality entry level sound with details and musicality, and it has not as much features as their lower end 'tables because money has been spent on the motor, platter, plinth and a clearly better tonearm than their entry offerings.

The U-Turn Orbit is a classic and good construction for good sound for not so much money. Other entry level turntables to recommend is the Music-Hall MMF 2.3, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon or RPM 1, Rega Planar 1 (a step up above the Rega RP1).

If you want easy change of speed (by a switch rather than manually having to move the drive belt on the pulley) then the Teac TN300 is Ok, it gives a musical enjoyable performance but it's not as detailed as the turntables with manual speed change (but if you bypass the built-in phono pre-amp for a good external one then you get better sound), and I've seen reports about quality differencies on it regarding the belt drive where some samples shows more speed variation than others... Speed variation means the musical notes are not as stable, it's more noticeably on simpler acoustic recordings such as a piano recording, not so much noticeable when there's much happening on the record (lots of instruments and so on).
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Vinylfreak86 » 22 Oct 2016 10:29

For home listening AT-LP120 will be enough. AT-LP1240 is more designed for DJ use, but both are hifi and DJ friendly. I don`t think that AT-LP1240 will sound anything better, but have more strong motor. I use Reloop RP-2000, which is on the same rang as AT-LP120 and for that price it is actually too good to be real. :)
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby H. callahan » 23 Oct 2016 04:33

Can I ask what new tt you would suggest?


I´m sorry, i´m not into new tts. I just sometimes browse the net and i see the same problem everywhere: Either the tts are on quality level of the 1950s or 1960s, or they do around 2000$ and are as good as a tt from the 1980s (you get on ebay for about 150$).

The AT-LP5 is a good turntable, here we can talk about a quality entry level sound with details and musicality


Sorry, but the AT-LP5 has exactly the same specs as the AT-LP120 - which is 0.2% wow+flutter and SNR -50DB. -50DB is very bad and 0.2% wow+flutter isn´t within the HiFi-norm from the 1950s. Its the same crappy motor, just in another tt-housing.
You need -60DB SNr and wow+flutter <0.1% at least, for average listening. AT LEAST. In the 1980s they built tts with 0.035% wow+flutter and SNR -75DB. These go for around 150$ usually.
So no need to talk about "details and musicality" here, there are numbers which tell that these tts are way off the beaten track. They might be better than Crosleys but they still sXXk. A lot.
Sorry, again.

I don`t think that AT-LP1240 will sound anything better


It will. A bit at least, as it has wow+flutter 0.1%. It´s just within HiFi. And SNR is at -55DB, which at least is better than -50DB. But its still inferior. Its juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust 1960s quality.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby antennaguru » 23 Oct 2016 05:42

H. callahan wrote:
Can I ask what new tt you would suggest?


I´m sorry, i´m not into new tts. I just sometimes browse the net and i see the same problem everywhere: Either the tts are on quality level of the 1950s or 1960s, or they do around 2000$ and are as good as a tt from the 1980s (you get on ebay for about 150$).

The AT-LP5 is a good turntable, here we can talk about a quality entry level sound with details and musicality


Sorry, but the AT-LP5 has exactly the same specs as the AT-LP120 - which is 0.2% wow+flutter and SNR -50DB. -50DB is very bad and 0.2% wow+flutter isn´t within the HiFi-norm from the 1950s. Its the same crappy motor, just in another tt-housing.
You need -60DB SNr and wow+flutter <0.1% at least, for average listening. AT LEAST. In the 1980s they built tts with 0.035% wow+flutter and SNR -75DB. These go for around 150$ usually.
So no need to talk about "details and musicality" here, there are numbers which tell that these tts are way off the beaten track. They might be better than Crosleys but they still sXXk. A lot.
Sorry, again.

I don`t think that AT-LP1240 will sound anything better


It will. A bit at least, as it has wow+flutter 0.1%. It´s just within HiFi. And SNR is at -55DB, which at least is better than -50DB. But its still inferior. Its juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust 1960s quality.


Sorry,
but the wow/flutter spec means as little today as it meant decades ago. A speed stability spec such as wow/flutter depends on the time interval between the individual speed measurements. Maybe you recall the history of how great sounding AC synchronous motor belt/idler drive systems spinning heavy expensive machined platters were all but abandoned by the major manufacturers in favor of servo controlled direct drive systems spinning lightweight stamped steel platters? Well, the way they started measuring wow/flutter (speed stability) was over a longer time interval and while the servo direct drive system was inherently terrible at short time interval speed stability since it made continual short term herky-jerky speed adjustments that were very audible and annoying, but it spec'd better than predecessor AC synchronous motors spinning heavy platters with high inertia over longer time intervals because AC line frequency does indeed change slowly and over a greater range over longer inaudible time intervals. However, the major manufacturers duped customers by telling them the new servo direct drive system was better because it had better specs, even though history has shown that these actually didn't sound as good as their predecessors. The real reason the servo direct drive was "better" was that it was cheaper to produce for the manufacturer - and the smoke and mirrors of specs could be used to their advantage to reduce manufacturing cost and increase their profits.
I have enjoyed playing a large collection of vinyl records for several decades.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby raphaelmabo » 23 Oct 2016 14:53

Mr H. callahan, regarding the AT-LP5 - I commented with my personal listening experience. The AT-LP5 really sounds better than the AT-LP1240 and the AT-LP120. Even with the same AT-95 mounted the AT-LP5 shows up a more musical, well balanced and detailed presentation. The AT-LP5 differs from the 1240 and 120 in many ways, perhaps the most significant difference is the use of a higher quality tonearm, and that the DJ features, sliders and knobs are removed so less things that can resonance and vibrate and have a negative impact of the sound. Reading professional hifi-reviews of the AT-LP5, 1240 and 120 (for example What Hifi, and the swedish Ljud & Bild) confirms my personal, if brief, listening experience that the AT-LP5 is the better sounding 'table.

I'm not into numbers, I will never select a product from the technical specifications. My interest is listening with my ears. I don't listen with my eyes reading a technical data spec. :)
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby antennaguru » 23 Oct 2016 16:04

raphaelmabo wrote:Mr H. callahan, regarding the AT-LP5 - I commented with my personal listening experience. The AT-LP5 really sounds better than the AT-LP1240 and the AT-LP120. Even with the same AT-95 mounted the AT-LP5 shows up a more musical, well balanced and detailed presentation. The AT-LP5 differs from the 1240 and 120 in many ways, perhaps the most significant difference is the use of a higher quality tonearm, and that the DJ features, sliders and knobs are removed so less things that can resonance and vibrate and have a negative impact of the sound. Reading professional hifi-reviews of the AT-LP5, 1240 and 120 (for example What Hifi, and the swedish Ljud & Bild) confirms my personal, if brief, listening experience that the AT-LP5 is the better sounding 'table.

I'm not into numbers, I will never select a product from the technical specifications. My interest is listening with my ears. I don't listen with my eyes reading a technical data spec. :)


^^^ This! =D>
I have enjoyed playing a large collection of vinyl records for several decades.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Vanni » 23 Oct 2016 17:02

Spot on Raphael. I let my ears decide what's good or not, although I'll be honest and admit that I do look up the specs when I hear a not-so-good tt. You're right about the AT-LP5 being better than the others too, that seems to be the general consensus with all those who have experience with all three AT decks. Btw, don't know if I'm mistaken, but I believe it's also costlier than the other two, and this usually means a better product overall.

To the OP I will only say this - I fully believe that any US citizen looking to get into this hobby need only to look at the U-Turn. For starters, it's a US made product which means it is a quality product*, and secondly, I don't think I've ever come across anyone saying he made a mistake when he choose a U-Turn. I've only come across some minor things which were swiftly dealt by their customer service, and that gets a big thumbs up =D>

ps - *or the chances of getting a defective product are definitely lower than if it was made elsewhere.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Vinylfreak86 » 23 Oct 2016 19:07

I cannot say anything about U-Turn, because it is not available in my country. But noone will say to me, that today you can make "US-made" product without chinese parts. Modern economy does not allow this, It would be way too expensive. Also american cars have many chinese and mexican parts.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby Japi Roelofs » 23 Oct 2016 19:33

raphaelmabo wrote:The AT-LP5 differs from the 1240 and 120 in many ways, perhaps the most significant difference is the use of a higher quality tonearm



The tonearms on the AT-LP1240 and the AT-LP5 look pretty much the same to me. The difference being the LP1240 has adjustable height, and the LP5 doesn't. And the arm tube on the LP1240 is S-shaped, and the one on the LP5 is J-shaped.
Then there's the colour of course.

LP1240:
Image




LP5:
Image
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP1240 or AT-LP120

Postby raphaelmabo » 23 Oct 2016 20:05

Yes Yanni, the AT-LP5 cost more than the 1240 and 120. Again this shows that more expensive turntables are usually better than the less expensive ones.

Japi Roelofs: The J-shaped tonearm on the AT-LP5 is based upon original AT tonearms from the 60's and 70's, also other makers made J-shape tonearms - such as the SME M2 - 12R. The main reason for going S or J-shape is the removable headshell, also to make medium mass (straight arms went popular when higher compliance cartridges came that required lower mass tonearms, today new materials has made it possible to make S or J-shape with lower mass like Pro-Ject carbon tonearms). J-shape is said to give less traction error than S-shape, which may be the reason for AT changing to J on the AT-LP5. In the 70s', most japanese turntables had S-shape - today it's much less common on hifi-turntables, they're standard feature on DJ-turntables.
Last edited by raphaelmabo on 23 Oct 2016 20:25, edited 1 time in total.
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