Offering good sound quality and some nice, user-friendly touches at a relatively low price, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK is our top recommendation for those that have just inherited a stack of records, but have no way to play them. For just $100 this turntable offers decent sound and a foolproof interface, so you can get that vinyl creating dulcet tones at the simple push of a button. Sure its sound quality is noticeably thinner than that of the more expensive models, but in terms of sound per dollar it can't be beaten. If you want better sound quality the Audio Technica AT-LP120BK-USB is more melodious and similarly easy to use, but it costs three times as much. If you're on a budget or don't want to make a big investment into a turntable until you know if you like the vinyl experience, the AT-LP60BK is a perfect choice.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK Review
Pros: Inexpensive, good sound, fully automatic operation
Cons: Dynamic range is a bit stunted, little adjustability
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK was a fairly average performer in our testing, but its low price makes it a great value.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK performed at or above average in all of our testing metrics. In the sections below we detail its performance in all of the different tests we conducted.
The AT-LP60BK earned a respectable 6 out of 10 in our sound quality testing, putting it a bit above average.
During our side-by-side sound quality comparisons, the AT-LP60BK's clarity was quite impressive. It produced a clear and crisp sound that was only slightly inferior to that of high end models like the Audio-Technica AT-LP120BK-USB. It did struggle a bit in terms of dynamic range. There wasn't a huge volume difference between the softest and loudest notes it played, which made the music sound a bit thin and flat when compared to the more expensive models (namely the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon and the Audio Technica AT-LP120BK-USB, both of which have phenomenal dynamic range). This shortcoming is noticeable, but it doesn't rob you of a pleasurable listening experience. Bottom line, it sounds about as good as listening to a streaming service like Pandora played through a high quality Bluetooth speaker. In other words it sounds good, but not phenomenal.
The AT-LP60BK's sound quality is about even with the Sony PSLX300USB, which lists for just slightly more ($130). The AT-LP60BK is worlds ahead of low super cost options like the Jensen JTA-230 ($50 list price) and the Victrola Vintage 3-Speed ($60 list price), both of which both sound incredibly thin and shrill in comparison.
The AT-LP60BK earned an average score of 5 out of 10 in our component quality testing.
The AT-LP60BK has an aluminum platter that is much heftier than the plastic platters of low end models like the Jensen JTA-230, but noticeably thinner and lighter than the aluminum platters of top models like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. The felt mat feels of high quality, but likely doesn't make up for the additional vibrations that can make their way through the relatively light platter. The belt drive does serve to limit vibration moving from the motor to the platter.
The AT-LP60BK's metal tonearm is very light, which is good, but also feels a bit flimsy, which is bad. You want a tonearm that is as light and stiff as possible, so that flimsy feeling is somewhat concerning. Luckily this didn't seem to affect sound quality at all. Other models in the price range like the Sony PSLX300USB had similarly flimsy feeling tonearms. Unfortunately you need to spend a bit more to get a higher quality metal or even carbon fiber tonearm. The cartridge is an Audio-Technica Dual Magnet, which produced a fairly good signal in our testing.
The AT-LP60BK was again slightly above average in our user friendliness testing, picking up a score of 6 out of 10.
Actually getting the AT-LP60BK to play music couldn't be easier. Just put a record down on the platter, turn the turntable on, press the start button and you're good to go. The tonearm automatically lifts up, moves over to the record, and settles the needle down onto it. It also automatically senses whether the record is a 33 or 45, and adjusts the speed accordingly. This experience was very similar to other fully automatic models we tested like the Sony PSLX300USB. However, the Sony's tonearm looked rickety when it moved around and took a few more seconds to actual cue than the AT-LP60BK's smooth moving tonearm.
The AT-LP60BK lost points in this metric solely because of its lack of adjustability. It has no pitch control, and no way to adjust the tracking force. These are settings that don't require constant adjustment, and would likely only be adjusted by those that really want to tinker with their record player's sound, but they are nice to have in case something just isn't sounding right.
The AT-LP60BK again scored a 6 out of 10 in our vibration resistance testing. This put it just above average.
In general the AT-LP60BK did not skip at all in our testing unless we bumped the table it was sitting on. It was even able to handle soft bumps without any issue, but a solid, "Oh crap I just knocked my hip on that table and it hurt!" kind of bumping resulted in skipping. This was comparable with the performance of the high end Pro-Ject Debut Carbon and Audio-Technica AT-LP120BK-USB, with the Fluance RT81 being the only model that could handle a really solid table bump.
Listing for just $100, the AT-LP60BK provides the best value per dollar of any of the models we tested. The only comparable model is the Sony PSLX300USB, which sound similar but lists for $30 more. In fact, to get better sound quality you'll have to spend at least $150 more, with top notch sound costing at least $200 more.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK is a great choice for those that are on a budget or looking to dip their toe into the world of vinyl without making a big investment.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata