After stopping by their booth over at NAMM, we weren’t met with many new headphones or microphones as some may assume, but instead came across this bad boy, the Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB XP. For many of us in the DJ equipment world or really music gear in general, we’re all aware of that original AT-LP1240-USB turntable that has become extremely popular as the years have gone by. So what’s this “XP” lettering at the end of this particular model? We’re glad you asked. Aside from very few tweaks, they’ve included their AT-XP5 DJ phono cartridge as opposed to their previous model that was sold separately for a cheaper package. An all new DJ turntable by Audio-Technica, let’s get into some of the details.
Features of the AT-LP1240-USB XP
- Direct-drive DJ turntable
- High-torque, multi-pole motor
- Full manual operation
- Brake and start control adjustments
- Selectable speeds: 33/45/78 RPM
- Die-cast aluminium platter
- DJ-style slip mat
- AT-HS1 universal 1/2″-mount head-shell included
- S-shaped tone arm (balanced)
- Built-in switchable phono pre-amp
- Detachable RCA output cables
- Forward/reverse operation
- Variable pitch control with quartz speed lock
- AT-XP5 DJ phone cartridge included
- 6-pole, 3-phase, brushless DC motor
- Starting torque: > 4.5 kgf.cm
- Signal-to-noise Ratio: > 55 dB (DIN-B)
Build and quality of the AT-LP1240-USB-XP
The tone arm is of course balanced, however has an advanced hydruallicaly-damped lift control. This helps with your overall handling of the needle, especially when it comes to anti-skate, height adjustment and of course, it’s lockable rest. The platters themselves were great for scratching, as we had a chance to demonstrate the feel of the table without sound. They’re made of a nice high-quality 332 mm anti-resonance die-cast aluminum, combined with that slip mat and you’re good to go in terms of stability. The “stroboscopic” term implies the platter has a mechanism built-in to it to make it look “slow-moving” or stationary while it spins for visual appeal as well as ease of use. Like all other DJ turntables, at least manual and direct-drive models, we also have the start and brake control adjustments, with a reliable built-in electronic braking system.
Lastly, if you’re planning on spinning into your computer, or perhaps adding this the LP-1240-USB-XP into your existing setup with let’s say a mixer or DJ controller, you have that USB connection. The sound quality here is feasible and pretty standard at 16-bit/44.1 kHz/48 kHz selectable. We wish it went up to 32-bit but beggars can’t be choosers.
Using the AT-LP1240-USB-XP DJ turntable
As we’ve learned about the platters build, scratching will be beautiful with this thing. Combine the platter’s great build with the anti-skate adjustment, adjustable tracking force (counterweight) and the reliable S-shaped tome arm and we’ll be free of very interruptions, unless you’re an aggressive one like us. Grab two of these and a solid mixer and you’re set for a very rugged, reliable and of course, digital-friendly at the same time type of DJ equipment setup. The startup of the unit was also very quick, as their previous AT-LP1240-USB was, considering we have a three-phase motor that’s very high in quality as compared to a lot of other DJ turntables out there.
Of course, back-cueing, forward and reverse play are very easy with this turntable as well. Combine that with our standard 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM and we have the essentials for all speeds you may be in the mood for. The illuminated speed indicator will only help with our workflow, and of course the stylus target light adds in that extra protection in losing our place.
The switchable phono preamp also helps us with compatibility for a variety of receivers, speakers and other gear you may have in your rig. Not to mention that USB connection for a “just in case you’re hybrid” possibility when it comes hooking up all your gear (like us — we’ll never be strictly digital, however).
You can also use this turntable for simply connecting to your computer and converting your old vinyl into digital files if that’s what you fancy, although we wouldn’t just buy this for that use alone.
What’s in the box?
- One turntable
- Dual RCA output cable with ground wire
- Two output adapter cables (dual RCA female to mini-plug male & dual RCA female to mini-plug female)
- USB cable
- Power cord
- 45 RPM adapter
- AT-XP5 DJ phone cartridge
- Stylus target light
- DJ-style slip mat
- Removable dust cover
In conclusion of the AT-LP12420-USB-XP review
We’re talking manual DJ turntables here. At the NAMM show, we were surprised how little new manual and direct-drive turntables there were, although it’s a bit expected as technology continues to grow. Even though the times are changing and many DJ’s are switching to “digital setups”, there will be in our opinion always a use for direct-drive tables. You just can’t the feeling of scratching, mixing and controls over your sets without one of these. You DJ enthusiasts will back us up on that.
When talking comparisons, you can’t really get anything as solid as this turntable in this price-range. Considering we’ve seen some crazy releases from other brands this year such as the Rane Twelve (yes, no tonearm!), nothing really compares to the LP-1240-USB-XP unless you start go back a few years ago.
Our best DJ turntables guide has their previous model, the LP-1240-USB in there, which may be appealing to you since it’s similar and may be priced cheaper since it’s now consider “older”, so check that out if the prices reflect your budget more properly and if you already have a cartridge; however, with the very slight improvements and tweaks (dual start\stop buttons, and of course the inclusion of the AT-XP5 DJ phono cartridge), it may be better altogether since the AT-XP5 DJ phono cartridge retails at $80. You’ll have to do the math. Technically speaking without taking pricing fluctuations out of consideration (check a few websites before purchasing — you never know), this XP version saves you about $30. Why not?
If you’re just an audiophile wanting to listen to some records, there may be some cheaper models out there for you that can work just as fine. The reason we recommend this particular DJ turntable for actual DJ’s doing sets (manually, at least) is due to the advanced build of the motor, tone-arm and platters. If you do however just want a high-turntable for leisure listening, be our guest, of course.
We love the Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB-XP for many reasons, regardless of use. It’s just flat-out a well-made turntable.