The Audio-Technica LP60BT was the best performer in our conversion tests. The tone arm is fully automatic and has a great-sounding Audio-Technica cartridge attached to the fixed headshell. The high number of plastic parts may be a turnoff for serious vinyl enthusiasts, but this is a great turntable to get someone interested in collecting and listening to records.
One of the most important components of quality playback and conversion is the cartridge. Audio-Technica produces its own cartridges, which sounded superb in our playback and conversion tests. The stylus is replaceable and readily available at popular online retailers and on Audio-Technica’s site. The cartridge is attached to a fixed headshell, however, which makes it hard to upgrade to another brand’s cartridge or headshell.
To test conversion quality, we converted entire sides of three records in various states of disrepair using the software that comes in the retail packaging. Once the files were converted, we used the editing and repair tools to remove clicks and pops associated with old or damaged vinyl. The LP60BT was the best performer in this test because of its quality cartridge and the bundled Audacity software’s comprehensive repair and editing tools.
Audacity is a free, open-source recording program that is a good compromise between ease of use and powerful features. If you’re a first-time user, it may take you a few tries to perfect the process, but once you do, you’ll find that converting vinyl is a straightforward affair that only requires a few steps.
The latest update to Audio-Technica’s popular USB turntable added Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you wirelessly transmit its accurate playback sound to Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones. We had no problem pairing the LP60BT to a couple of different Bluetooth speakers and a pair of Bluetooth headphones we keep in our testing lab. Wirelessly transmitted audio doesn’t sound as good as playback through a wired connection, but the convenience of being able to listen to a record in a room adjacent to the record player can be worth the slight loss in fidelity.
Fully automatic operation works well with wireless transmission. With the LP60BT, you can start a record in your living room and listen while you prepare a meal in the kitchen, and when the tone arm reaches the end of the side, the arm automatically lifts the needle, returns the tone arm to its resting place and stops the platter from rotating. The turntable will stay paired with the Bluetooth listening device, so you can go flip the record over and continue listening without needing to pair the devices again.
The LP60BT is missing a few of the design and playback features found in the best turntables we tested. The most glaring issue is all the plastic parts. A high plastics content poses a durability concern and was a consistent issue among the products we reviewed that cost less than $200. The Audio-Technica LP120 has comparable conversion qualities, but the cabinet design is much sturdier, and the aluminum buttons feel like they’ll stand up to abuse for many years. The LP60BT is also missing a counterweight and anti-skating controls that help keep older or damaged records from skipping.
This is a great turntable for casual enthusiasts. The tested conversion and playback quality rivaled that of turntables costing $100 more, and the addition of Bluetooth connectivity is fun and convenient. It’s not the most durable turntable we tested, and it’s missing some important playback features for serious enthusiasts, but that is to be expected from a turntable that costs less than $200.