AT-LP120XUSB

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Trekkie4, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. jrtrent

    jrtrent AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have not heard a comparison, but I've read enough stories online to convince me that jettisoning the onboard phono stage could be a really good idea. There are a lot of very interesting turntables in the $400 and under price range that might be more appealing to some buyers if they were available without a phono stage installed. I wouldn't even mind spending just as much for a non-phono version--at least it wouldn't require the extra work of removal and void the warranty.

    I would also like to see some of these budget turntables marketed without an included phono cartridge, though in this case with a slightly reduced price. I don't mind the AT3600 variants, but anything with an AT95, VM95, or Ortofon 2M just means there's going to be something I have to remove and toss. Stanton did this with the STR8-80 model; when I bought mine, I got the STR8-80X, which was the same 'table but without a cartridge.
     

     

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  2. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    I think a good analogy of how I see this turntable is that I'm like a Porsche Carrera owner who also has a souped up Honda and I want to put a vinyl wrap on it. :)

    I'm into bright colors. It's my inner two year old. :)
     
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  3. Frank Sol

    Frank Sol Addicted Member

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    As much as I dislike the built-in phono stage (I removed the one on my TT) I can completely understand why they do it - Most folks aint like us :beatnik:
     
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  4. olddude55

    olddude55 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Oh, yeah. I don't blame the manufacturers for including the phono stage.
    Or the cartridge though I'd also prefer no cart so I can use one of my own.
     
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  5. Arthur Smith

    Arthur Smith Well-Known Member

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    When I first saw the AT-LP120XUSB, it reminded me of one of the Stanton branded units. All of these Hanpin tables are starting to look alike.
     
  6. Trekkie4

    Trekkie4 Active Member

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    One thing I've noticed among LP120 owners is that (once they removed phono stage, of course) not everyone got what they wanted or expected. Some users reported having unbalanced sound, for example. Some of them found it to be too bright (brighter than expected, considering AT 95E). Some even experienced excessive rumble from the motor, which is why I decided to keep mine. I'm not using it however, it's set to "phono" & routed through Little Bear T8 instead.

    Indeed... I wish they kept ATP-3, or even included something entirely different.

    Or even better, if they offered a version without the cartridge entirely. The included AT 95E that came with mine ended up collecting dust inside spare headshell holder, behind the counterweight. Even the cheapest 3600L sounds much better than 95E, but what I ended up using on a regular basis is Shure M75 ED/T2. It's playing "Ruby Tuesday" as we speak :)

    @Arthur Smith I do see your point, but TBH they always resembled each other. Just look at now old LP120 & Pioneer PLX500. And don't even get me started on Reloop... But it keeps the cost production down, which is pretty much the only important thing to consider.
     

     

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  7. Arthur Smith

    Arthur Smith Well-Known Member

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    Most who have removed the phono preamp stage have just said "it sounds better', with no specifics. Leading me to believe it is a placebo effect. Mine sounds great, therefore, I have yet to find a compelling reason to go through the hassle of removal.
     
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  8. Trekkie4

    Trekkie4 Active Member

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    Don't think it's just a placebo effect... It most definitely sounds different, I can tell you that much. There's a video on YT of some guy who modded his LP120 & did "Before" vs "After" videos. And even through YT audio compression, you can hear something. Not sure I would call it better, or superior, just different.

    Edit
    Found it!
     
  9. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    When I was in Seattle someone gave me a Gemini XL500 DD because the platter wouldn't turn. I burned it in overnight (actually, it took a couple of days) and it worked fine. It's one of the ones I GAVE AWAY when I made my move to KY. But I missed it, which is why I picked up the 120.
     
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  10. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    I saw that a while back. It's why I didn't remove mine. ;)
     
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  11. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    Here's some hilarious hi-fi humor:

    So, a guy walks into a friends house and the friend has an AT LP 120 USB. His friend pours them each a shot of Glenlivet 12 year old and puts on a nice Jazz LP. As the music plays, the guy cocks his head and finally says, "Sounds like you haven't removed the internal pre-amp yet."

    HAHAHA! I'm here 'til wednesday. Don't forget to tip your waitress!
     
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  12. Trekkie4

    Trekkie4 Active Member

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    I'd like to believe they included those filter capacitors & coils for a reason. I mean, it might be a clone, sure - but there's still a lot of engineering involved in developing the final product. So, once you start removing the components, the final outcome will no longer be what it was supposed to be. Not to mention the unforseen problems & side effects. So I really don't care what people say about this, or even if removing preamp would indeed make the signal better ... I'm not removing mine. IMO, it would make more sense to buy 2nd table, something vintage (yet cheap) from the 70s or 80 & use it for comparison purposes. Or even regular usage & keep LP120 as is.
     
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  13. Arthur Smith

    Arthur Smith Well-Known Member

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    I have seen the video. I also have a Pioneer PL-516 with the same cart alongside my AT-120. I really do not notice a difference. And yes, YT brick walls the sound with compression- not a good demo, at all.
     
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  14. RobRoy

    RobRoy It's just stuff - but fun

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    The problem is that you are removing versatility. I sometimes connect the turntable to my computer or PA mixing board. I don't want to buy a separate pre to get that last drop of blood out of the sound quality. And, frankly, that analogy sums up what I think is being pursued by this surgery.
     
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  15. Arthur Smith

    Arthur Smith Well-Known Member

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    It's also a scheme to get social media hits, and spread pseudo science/voodoo in the audio community.
     
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  16. Trekkie4

    Trekkie4 Active Member

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    You can say that again!
     
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  17. Arthur Smith

    Arthur Smith Well-Known Member

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    Some people just think they have to be "in control" of a unit like this, and that has almost a psychological effect of comfort. You see this a lot in things such as tinkering with automobiles. Some things are better off just letting be.
     
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  18. olddude55

    olddude55 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'll admit I like to tinker. Guilty as charged.
    It's audiophilia nervousa. No matter how many times I experiment and it all comes to naught, it would nag at me and eventually I'd have to try bypassing the internal phono stage.
    It's like that episode of Ren & Stimpy with the history-erasing button. Stimpy has to guard it but never ever press the button. The shiny candy-like button...
     
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  19. vwestlife

    vwestlife Well-Known Member

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    My AT-LP120's motor makes an audible and somewhat annoying chugging sound when starting and stopping, so maybe they made it less torquey to reduce this noise. And since it's no longer aimed at DJs, it probably doesn't matter.
    The LP120 has a 6½ lb. metal ballast weight in it, so they probably just removed that. I took the ballast weight out of my LP120 years ago, and for non-DJ use it's still plenty sturdy and stable without it.
    The tonearm height adjustment on my LP120 has been useless for me anyway, because for short cartridges the tonearm is already too high even at its minimum setting.

    Some sources claim the LP120X has an improved internal pre-amp, but we won't know for sure until someone posts audio samples comparing it to the original LP120's pre-amp.
     
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  20. Arthur Smith

    Arthur Smith Well-Known Member

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    It can also lead to "paralysis through analysis". Sometimes, you just have to do it.
     

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