The Audio-Technica Direct-Drive AT-LP240-USB is a fastidiously crafted USB turntable with high-performance audio playback. It sounds rich and textured through my 7.1 surround setup, in the way only vinyl can sound. The turntable is super easy to operate and designed for any level of audio room or home theater. Selectable 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM and precise torque/control makes it suitable for DJs, too. It offers a direct USB that lets you connect the unit to your laptop instantly. No extra drivers needed.
Here is my 10-point review of the AT-LP240-USB.
1. Physical construction, cartridge, and design
Incredible industrial design here. Clean and contemporary look and feel yet it pays homage to the roots of turntables. Good construction plinth (weights were added internally to give it heft). It offers decent quality isolators with molded soft rubber that keep it in place on the rack. Unique blue light indicator gives you that DJ booth feeling without being ostentatious. It can strobe during play for the extra flair, though I keep it steady and don't personally use the strobe. The LED is subtle and cool at the same time. The unit also offers an external grounding stud to help eliminate hum which is a big improvement from the previous model, the ATLP-120. Kudos to Audio-Technica for adding this improvement. The LED stylus light adds to the Wow-Factor and track selection. The machined aluminum 45 adaptor is such a deluxe element. Again, great design on this product. There is not one hard edge on the turntable deck; it's retro yet millennial. It's something you want to display rather than hide away. The turntable does not come with a cartridge. I use the AT120E/T cartridge ($145.00 MSRP) with the turntable, and it works very well.
2. Dust cover
The dust lid is very good quality—tinted polycarbonate. It really works to keep the dust out. One con on this product, unfortunately, is that the dist lid isn't hinged and cannot be attached with post-sale hinges. You either take the lid off or you keep it on. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but the hinges would be a nice convenience.
3. RPM and Torque/Control
33/45/78 RPM spin for playing all sorts of records. It offers precise torque/control. The nanosecond you press "stop" it ceases spinning, immediately.
4. Technician-level user friendliness
Clear-cut. Easy to setup in minutes, wire, and configure. Setting up the AT-LP240-USB should take less than five minutes. The application software can also be used for setup but is not required to make the unit operate.
5. End-user/operator-level user friendliness
Operation is uncomplicated, intuitive, and fun. Anyone can set up this turntable and learn to operate it. It also has the functionality for a working DJ. It's got it all.
6. Software and drivers
No special drivers needed to connect USB from turntable to computer. The turntable includes PC- and Mac-compatible Audacity software that converts the audio on a record to MP3, WAV, or other format digital audio files.
7. Overall operation of the equipment
Operation was excellent. Audio quality was crisp and clear. The MP3s sound terrific with immediate import to my iTunes from my records.
8. Review of user manuals / operator instructions
Documentation in the box included an easy to understand manual, a CD containing the manual as a PDF, and the application software.
Audio-Technica's website product page is available in three languages. It's very easy to navigate and provides all the relevant information as well as links to YouTube tutorial-type videos on the product and Facebook sharing. Information for the product included:
Data Sheet: Excellent
Product Photo: Excellent
Technical Manuals: Excellent
10. Price Point: $499.95 MSRP (Variable reseller price)
This is a great price point for a powerful USB turntable which does exactly what it was designed to do in an incredible form-factor. It's a work of art.
While one might think of a turntable as a niche product, it adds a special level of wonder to any home theater.
Audio-Technica's AT-LP240-USB: Key Features
1. USB output to automatically transfer vinyl tracks into digital files
2. No special drivers required for connection to your computer
3. Direct drive high-torque multi-pole motor
4. 33/45/78 RPM selectable speeds, for playing and creating MP3s from all kinds of records
5. Selectable internal phono pre-amplifier
6. S-shaped tone arm
7. This turntable does not come with a cartridge. I use the AT120E/T cartridge ($145.00 MSRP) with the turntable, and it works very well. More info here: audio-technica.com
Evan Henson is the tech manager of a Chelsea, New York, studio that houses a large-scale digital art project incorporating photography, automation, sound, and user interface input.