About a year ago or so ago my old Sony turntable started to act a bit funny, when the records started to play a little slowly. To be honest at that point it was near fifteen years old and even though it hadn’t seen an excessive amount of use, it did get knocked around in various moves, so its development of problems seemed natural.

I don’t really know how it happened, but as a family we almost felt naked without a record player. It was a feeling I never thought we would experience. So my next logical step was to grab the Pyle record player, I had gotten for Christmas a few years back, from my basement rec room and drop it in the place of the old Sony. The Pyle is an OK record player, but I’ve found that the needle and arm are a bit too light and records can skip or sound a bit off, especially the 78’s even though this is my only record player that can play them. In addition to this the Pyle’s on-board speakers aren’t bypassed when you use its r/w RCA jacks, meaning the small speakers are still working while you have it connected to your receiver, which can produce a slight amount of unpleasant listening. But this whole challenge would be short lived.

With a new house purchased we had to begin moving in June of 2015, and be moved fully into the new house by July. But with a new house, also came new sound based challenges, one of which being that my old sound system didn’t really work with my new living room space. This meant it was time to really upgrade. I have to admit my old Panasonic-Technics receiver and self power sub-woofer have been with me forever and still can rock the house, and do now in my basement, but putting them out to the rec-room pasture was never something I thought I would have to do. With that said it was hard to put them into retirement, especially when I knew so little about their modern sound-bar replacements. Having come of age in the era of Dolby 5.1 surround sound, it was hard to put my faith in a single center speaker. So I had to work myself into the new world of sound wonders, and opted to go with a sound bar with blue tooth rear speakers and sub-woofer, and together they do the job, when I can turn it up that is.

Of course with a soundbar came a few other issues, for instance most modern soundbars aren’t equipped with the counter-polar phonograph RCA inputs. In looking at them this is something that amazed me since sound bars have more or less been ushered in along side the resurgence of vinyl of the past few years. This meant if we purchased a new soundbar the Pyle record player wouldn’t be able to be connected directly to it. So I set out to look for a newer soundbar friendly record player, well testing a new Blue-tooth adapter on the Pyle that could connect wirelessly to the sound bar. The good news on that was that the Blue-tooth connection worked, the bad news is that I was still dealing with the Pyle’s on-board speakers, and its tendency to skip. So it was definitely time for a new record player.

In my research one name in particular kept coming up, Audio-Technica and their LP-120 record player. The nice thing about the LP-120 was that not only was it well reviewed on multiple sites, but it had a USB version that could be connected directly to a computer (in case I ever decided to become a DJ on a whim) or more importantly, to the USB port on my soundbar. The only issue was that the LP-120 goes for anywhere between $250-$300. In the world of audiophiles a price like this is considered to be a bargain, but to me $250-$300 was a pretty hefty investment since our record player was more for just enjoying the music as a family, and not listening for the nuances in the music many audiophiles claim they can detect better with $2000+ record players. It’s at that point another Audio-Technica record player, in red, caught my eye. This was the LP-60, and although it didn’t have some of the LP-120’s bells and whistles, it like its big brother, came very highly reviewed as a best value, and for performing better than record players going for 5 times as much. Going back to the same sites I reviewed the LP-120 on, I found it was the same story for the LP-60. Of course let me tell you one more thing about the LP-60, it has its own built in pre-amp, and can also plug into any audio jack, no need for the reverse poles of its predecessors. So with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas, and some extra cash I bought the lovely LP-60 in red and received it a few days later.

Anxious to listen to records we got for Christmas, as well as revisit a few others, we went through the process of plugging the new system in. Of course we tried it wirelessly with the Blue-tooth adapter but had no luck, and then finally with some RCA cable extensions we got it hooked up to the soundbar. After a little frustration getting the pre-amp set, the first record, Adele’s 25 went on. It was at that point my wife, an avid Adele fan, heard that things sounded a bit off and it was playing a little fast. This began the frustrating process of flipping the record player over and adjusting the speed controls built inconspicuously in the bottom of the player. It took several attempts, and about a good half-hour, but finally we got Adele, Amy Winehouse, and everyone else to follow pitch perfect.

My Likes About This System:

-Choice of Color
-Built in Pre-Amp
-No Need for Special Phonograph Input
-Great Sound
-High Quality, Low Price

My Dislikes
-Speed Didn’t Come Calibrated
-Speed and Pre-Amp Controls a bit Hidden

Despite it’s price this is a very high quality unit, and shouldn’t be classified in the same ranks as other record players in the same price point. Many of which like Pyle, Crosley and others, are selling based on appearance and superficial retro looks, but not are not up to the task of being used for serious listening. I would suggest this record player for anyone looking to get into or back into vinyl record collecting, who wants a system that can connect with and existing stereo setup, but doesn’t want to break the bank doing so.

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