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596 of 615 people found the following review helpful
This has recently gone up in price, even apart from the Gold Box Special that greeted me. In a way, I wish I'd seen the higher price, which would have discouraged me from ordering so quickly. I remember when, in the '70s, it cost more to replace a Shure V-15 Type II cartridge than to purchase this turntable, which comes complete with cartridge, stylus, and 4 different connecting cables to cover just about all situations, even those for customers without a receiver/amplifier. It wasn't long before, in the '80s, the elliptical stylus itself went for over a hundred, eventually taken off the market by Shure due to the scarcity of its rare and costly constituent.

The point: for 60 to 90 bucks, you should not expect anything close to a genuine audiophile turntable--even though the machine includes auto tone arm lift, two instruction manuals, four well-made cables, cartridge and stylus. But the feature missing with this turntable, the one reason I wish I hadn't ordered it and had waited to purchase the next model up, is a counterweight for achieving precise tone arm balance as well as an anti-skating control for reducing pressure (and distortion) on the inside grooves of the vinyl LP, especially the tracks closest to the middle hole.

Nevertheless, given the absence of a counter-weighted tone arm and anti-skating control, this turntable does a highly competent job of tracking most recordings. In fact, it performs better than both of the ailing industry-standard, professional Stanton turntables that were proving increasingly problematic at the station. Also, the tracking pressure that I measured is less than 2 and a half grams, light enough to prevent the stylus from eating up your vinyl (at least not until after 2-3 playings).

The unit comes with built-in preamp, so not only does it not require an amp with a phono jack, but it doesn't require any amp beyond the one in your computer if your primary consideration is converting vinyl to digital. A couple of things to be aware of: the lift on the tone arm is too small to be of use for manual placement. You'll need to be comfortable with the automatic lift mechanism or forget about picking up and dropping down the tone arm with any semblance of accuracy. Also, in back is an all-important lever that switches the unit from "phono" to "line" connection. If you're using the unit without an amp with phono jack (beginning in the '90s, cost-conscious manufacturers began leaving them off of receivers and amps, though with the comeback of vinyl we've seen the reappearance of phono jacks), be sure to set the switch to "line." The same holds true if your connection involves use of any of the optional cables and connectors that are included with the turntable.

The turntable tracks quite nicely from what I've seen, and is worth the low cost. Still, before investing in a USB unit--without or without phono connectors--you may simply wish to save up for the best "conventional" turntable along with an amplifier or receiver that has a phono jack. That way you'll have a better chance of scoring some of the audiophile niceties mentioned above, and connection to your computer will be no problem--whether you have an 1/8" familiar audio jack or an adapter that will transform RCA into USB cables.

The software included with the turntable is Audacity--a respected freeware program that's capable of doing an excellent job but is not known for being the most user-friendly program. Other possibilities are Cool Edit (for PC users); Spin Doctor or Sound Studio (Mac users). Once you've converted a couple of LPs, it's a piece of cake--except for the potential of allowing the process to consume all of your time and life. (Try to resist the temptation to make up your own CDs, complete with jewel cases, printed front and back covers and spines, disc centers, booklets, photos, inserts, etc. Another not inconsiderable expense--in time as well as money.)
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169 of 171 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2014
This really is a nice table. I have listened to dozens of records on it since I bought it. However, there are two things you NEED to be aware of.

1) The RCA plugs (red and white audio cables) that come out of the turn able are attached. There aren't ports on the turn table, so you have to use the wires that are there already. Those wires are incredibly short. Like short short. Like MAYBE 3 feet short. So, if your turn table isn't setup to be next to/on top of your receiver, it isn't going to reach. You can go out and buy an adapter so you can add another set of RCA cables to lengthen the reach, but you'll need to have the extra cables and the adapter. They're not expensive or anything, but it is (I think) very poor design to need to do that.

2) In my experience, the "stop" button regularly stops working. I contacted customer service (and Audio Technica customer service is AWESOME by the way) and was giving the directions on how to fix it. The issue is: When you push any of the buttons, it essentially pushes a rod that pushes a lever, that actually inputs the command. The problem is, the "rod" is the width of dental floss and gets easily pushed off of the lever. To fix this, you have to unhook the player, flip it over, take the bottom off and realign the rods. It's easy to do, but having to pull the thing apart each time you want all of the buttons to work is pretty obnoxious.

I'll see if I can upload the photo tutorial "how to" that the customer service sent me so that everyone can have the directions to solve the problem.

It plays nicely, and sounds good, and is a good price - but those two annoyances really get in the way for me. If not for those two things (or even just if not for the buttons getting disconnected) I'd call it 5 stars.
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205 of 221 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2010
Have been waiting and watching and after my first use, download to the computer, and mp3 file creation, I'm happy enough to recommend this product.

For under a hundred bucks the quality seems great. The manual for setup of the system and software is well done with step by step pictures.

I have mine connected to both the computer and external speakers. I'm able to listen to the music while recording thru the external speakers and listen to playback of the downloaded music thru head phones on the computer.

the software has lots of options to play with. but the basic " push the red button to record " and file save as and file export, get the job done to make your albums digital.
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102 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2010
Starting with assembly, I must say it was very simple! The included instructions are clear and concise (including the connect-to-computer instructions).

Now onto the player itself.

The player's output to stereo (and phono) are wonderful! The quality is amazing! My only issue is that the length of the stereo cord is irritatingly short--about one foot long!

Ripping record to your PC or Mac is simple! Just install the software, press 'record', and start playing your record! The rips are wonderful quality, too (IF you convert to a lossless format. MP3 is obviously going to be of a lesser quality)!

Overall, I must say that I love this. Besides the short stereo cord, this is a great, easy to use, and compact record player.

Also included with the record player:
* A USB cable
* A stereo (female) to headphone-jack (female)
* A stereo (female) to headphone-jack (male)
* Installation disc for Audacity (the recording software)
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221 of 255 people found the following review helpful
Purely as a turntable, this is a satisfactory unit comparable to any other at the $50 to $80 range. The features that should have set it apart (and for which I purchased the item) are all woefully disappointing.

1) USB-Direct Recording: The true purpose of my purchase was to update my current phonograph configuration to a more convenient way to convert my LPs to MP3. When using the USB connection, there is a dull but constant power-cycle hum from the moment USB Codec is selected as the Recording Device. After attempting to avail myself of this feature with multiple computers in my home I have concluded that the USB connection should be considered unusable by even the least discriminating among music lovers (Perhaps power filters could be used to isolate potential ground-loops but even then, you would still have to contend with issue number 3 below).

[Updated: 03/28/2013]
Although I can't begin to account for what may have possessed me to try this, I've given the USB recording another attempt after upgrading my Notebook Computer to Windows 8. While several other hardware systems on my Notebook (bluetooth, fingerprint reader, blu-ray) have ceased to function due to a lack of driver support, the USB feature on this turntable now functions perfectly. No hum, just right.

I still can't give the turntable 5-stars because of items 2 and 3 below, but at least I can now take full advantage of primary reason I made the purchase.

2) The software: Always in search of audio recording software that would work well on a PC, I was eager to test the claims of Audacity as proclaimed in the included accessory description for this turntable. As it turns out, Audacity is open source freeware. Anyone can get a more recent version of the software for free online.

3) Pre-amp: The ability to play this unit directly through a sound system with the boosted "Phono" inputs of older receivers was a major draw. Having held on to an older receiver for the single purpose of bridging between my turntable and my newer AV receiver, I was looking forward to eliminating one large and superfluous component in my rack. Given the tragic failure of the USB connection, I had also expected this to be the viable alternative to converting to MP3 on my laptop. Sadly, this too was a failure. The pre-amp in this unit is unable to cope with the low input at the end of any track that fades out. The result is a very abrupt cut-off followed by a series of unpleasant audio events as the pre-amp cuts in and out. These events seem to indicate that the db level at the end of the song combined with the surface noise usually experienced between tracks rests squarely at the bottom of the volume range necessary for the pre-amp to engage. As it turns out, this is also the case with USB recording but one might not notice as the aggravating hum covers most of the audio at this volume level.

At this point, my only remaining choice is to use the non-amplified output and run it through the mic input of my Creative Labs SB1090 USB Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Audio System external sound card (a delightful purchase from Amazon which will be reviewed separately). Of course, I could have done this with my existing turntable as could anyone else who purchased a comparable unit at a comparable price.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2010
I was a little concerned about buying it because one user complained of a humming noise from not being grounded properly, but it worked great. I've recorded a dozen albums and am very happy with the purchase. Lots of options on the software that I am still figuring out, but overall, I am very happy with this.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2011
I purchased this product after seeing the reviews on it. All 3 stars or above. The one I received would not play past about 3/4 of the way through any album. It would start skipping at that point and the stop button did not work. The tech support advice did not help. I returned it with no problem.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2012
I bought this mainly to listen to old vinyl thorough a decent but not super Nakamichi amp and Klipsch bookshelf speakers. Nothing audiophile, and I have yet to bother with USB computer set up to make MP3s, if I ever do, but the bottom line is that the turntable works beautifully, and the simplicity of its automatic function is a boon. Lack of anti-skate and tone arm counterweighting seem irrelevant to the fact that it outputs a warm, full analog sound, the pre-amped line output delivers full-throttle for the newer, non-phono-input Nakamichi, and the cartridge seems very well-weighted. I have old albums that have been through the equivalent of the Hundred Years War, in storage, out of storage, warped, unwarped, mishandled, dusty, and so on, and this needle sails through them, not prone to skips, tracking quite well. For example, the ORIGINAL pressing of "Crosby, Stills & Nash," on Atlantic, purchased the DAY it hit the stores in 1969 (sigh), and played to absolute death for a decade or more, not babied, believe me, sounds like a dream, warmer and richer than on Spotify or mp3. This is simply a good product, well-designed with the features anyone would want for casual listening to vinyl in 2012, emphasis on automatic no-brainer usage. I can't imagine a $1200 Technics turntable would make these albums sounds hugely better on my system, and I further note that back in the 70s, Technics was far from an audiophile turntable brand, it was just a nice mainstream piece of equipment everybody had. At $80, the A-T is a very good choice. Customer satisfied!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2013
We are using this product with our Macs. The hardware is great. The software is a little clunky but usable. Files generated, though large, are of excellent quality. Size of files are easily reduced to a manageable size using iTunes without any noticeable reduction in quality. Would cheerfully recommend.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2011
I was very pleased with the purchase. The turntable is sturdy, performs well and I love the automatic mechanism. There are few things that I absolutely love however.

1) It works with Linux flawlessly - Tested on Ubuntu 11.04 64 bit machine. It was recognized automatically without any issue. To me this is very important as I was looking "specifically" for Audio-Technica turntable that would work with Linux and never managed to find articles. So I took it a bit on a risk based that the software is Audacity.

2) Exclusively Audacity software - this is a very good software that does not discriminate users. I am very pleased with it. For the price of free - as in freedom it offers incredible functionality. The forums are well maintained and many answers you can find even without posting - just by searching. The wiki is very extensive and has good tips on converting vinyl to digital.

You may want to google for click repair - another good software. Depending on the amount of records you are converting it may be worth it the investment. For me it was not because I had about 20-30 records but if you have massive collection you may want to consider it.

Click repairing is also possible in Audacity it is just not that automatic.

One small issue - the mat under the vinyl was slightly wrinkled. This is easily fixable however by ironing it (you will want to put some cloth between it and the iron!)

One recommendation to Audio-Technica - don't be shy to claim that you support Linux or that the product is known to work on Linux - people are looking for this and just wouldn't buy the product unless it does. I could have bought Sony or another brand but they do not include Audacity - they do not offer Linux as a platform and that is why I instantly discarded them - did not consider them at all. But you guys - you make good product - show it and sell it so consumers will buy it.

Last but not least - the price was right! 80+ US for the product is reasonable price. It was worth it. I'd rather spend it on this product than some of the other that look like toys (will not quote names here).
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