Audio Technica release pro DJ turntable in vinyl-not-quite-dead-yet scandal

Audio Technica AT-LP240 USB Turntable

It’s not every day, or for that matter year that we get to post anything about turntables anymore, so imagine my glee when some PR about one such thing arrived in my inbox. Audio Technica announced their snappily named AT-LP1240USB turntable earlier this year, but now it’s available all over the world.

Firstly, the official PR followed by some knowledge:

Audio-Technica’s New Flagship Turntable Delivers For 

Ardent Audio Fans And Discerning DJs Alike

Leeds, UK, 01/08/2012: Audio-Technica has unveiled its new flagship turntable, the AT-LP1240USB, which offers a host of features that cater to the demands of both hi-fi connoisseurs and mobile and club DJs.

A direct-drive 16-pole, three phase motor ensures speed stability with easy back-cueing, forward and reverse play and quiet operation at 33-1/3, 45 or 78 RPM. The turntable features an S-shaped tone arm with adjustable tracking force and anti-skate adjustment and a removable universal cartridge mount. The tone arm has locking height adjustment to dial in the vertical tracking angle, crucial for achieving the most accurate record playback.

With a sleek gloss black and silver design, the AT-LP1240USB is ideal for any music or home entertainment system. A built-in switchable phono preamp allows use with a wide variety of receivers, powered speakers and other A/V components, while its USB output makes for easy connection to a computer without the need for any special drivers. The turntable is therefore perfect for transferring records to digital music files that can be played back on portable MP3 players including Apple’s iPod, iPhone, iPad, in the car or at home.

In addition, the AT-LP1240USB boasts myriad DJ-friendly features including a damped cast aluminium platter with stroboscopic markings and slip mat, illuminated speed indicator and adjustable pitch control, start/stop button, a removable stylus target light, dedicated tone arm grounding lug, a hydraulically damped lift lever and locking tone arm rest.

The AT-LP1240USB comes bundled with PC and Mac compatible software, a USB cable, audio adaptor cables, removable dust cover, 45RPM adaptor, adjustable levelling feet and accessories. The supplied Audacity software offers simple digitisation of vinyl records and audio editing features including equalisation and click/noise removal.

The AT-LP1240USB carries a recommended retail price of £500 (inc VAT)/€500 (ex VAT) and will be available from hi-fi retailers and from September 2012.

Let me take this opportunity to drop a little industry knowledge. While the behemoth-like Behringer has their own manufacturing city, there are but a small number of factories that make DJ gear for most manufacturers. It’s normal to see competitive names dropping off the conveyor belts into different boxes. Hanpin is one such factory, but they also take it a step further and make their own units that are simply rebadged for manufacturers to sell on with their own logos on them. Hanpin’s DJ-5500 turntable is the basis for many others out there and is known as a super OEM turntable. Reloop’s RP-6000 is one such model, and Stanton‘s STR8-150 is another. SYNC, Omnitronic, Citronic and American Audio have also put out the same deck, just with different names.

Some companies simply add their logo, or in the case of Stanton quite heavily modify the base unit to differentiate theirs from the rest of the market. But they are more or less the same turntable, and a very good one too. It’s probably heresy for some to hear, but I’d take a super OEM over a Technics, simply because they offer me more features with a performance and quality that makes me very happy indeed.

I think however that this particular unit has something that the others don’t have, and that USB output. Numark‘s TTX USB has USB too, but this is the only super OEM deck that does. So if you want to listen to your vinyl on a high quality deck using quality carts, and then rip it directly to digital, there’s now more than one option open to you.

It’s a sad thing to say, but this may very well be the last new turntable post that appears on DJWORX. I hope it isn’t of course, but the sales numbers simply aren’t there for anyone to do anything more than put out a super OEM with a different logo on it. I’m sure we’d all love to see a new deck with built in dicers, or some sort of direct USB compatibility, but I just don’t see it happening. I would love to be proved wrong.

  • sinjintek

    during my recent trip to New York City i stopped by several places and saw these new AT decks on display.. the guys at Turntable Lab say it’s moving fairly well, i watched a couple pairs get loaded to go out to customers from Proaudiostar in brooklyn, and Scratch Academy even had a pair out at the US DMC Final. …unfortunately this doesn’t really prove that turntables are flying off the shelves, but it was very nice to see that turntables are still alive and kicking.

    p.s. +1 on a new deck with dicer-like pads! just take my money!

    • richard vreede

      I have compared the internal components and they are NOT the same on every superoem… The standard transformer in a stanton st.150 is a cheap one ,also the pre-amp to linelevel is cheap, but the build from the units is that easy that there’s much soundquality to win ,replacing some important components. And 90% of all computer powersupplies units are also oems:)
      Only 3 manufactuters make their own from the ground up…seasonic is the best and he makes psu’s for a couple of brands. But what’s new??
      I mean laptopscreens are mostly from lg/philips… But lately i see here in the netherlands an uprising from ecler en vestax in stores and they do that if they ain’t selling it.Personally i’d rather see a superoem without the ‘extra’s’,,
      What’s the use of the digital output on the stantons…cheap converters(upgradable) who needs such a high start torque and such a heavy deck(still stantons). It’s no use and the rubberized feet are to unstable
      for the deckweight, especially if all the weight is in the upperdeck.
      And all the oems have loose tonearms ,which you have to remove yourself,
      But when all is done right,they are nice scratchtables and very skip resistance. I also had synq’s, which have more plastic and the stabilizer frm the engine is from less quality, but when it comes to scratching ,they ain’t less compared to the stanton’s and weight 8kg less….same torque btw. But i think a lot of people buy a denon sc-3900, i have 2 of them and
      theyre really nice for scratcing with a max torque of 3.0 kg/cm, which is a lot on a smaller platter i can tell you, it has all the functions of a normal turntable and more. You can use it as cdj,midi-player, in a network with 3 other units and they sell for 900euro, while the stonton st.150 mostly goes around 600euro, though i bought mine 380 a piece.
      So why buy a turntable when a sc3900 can allmost do the same…
      That’s the only reason how i can explain the upraising from battlemixer…+
      the absurd high prices for a second hand technics1200 1210mk2….I have two lying lying at my parents.. bought early nighties, but i agree….goo d tone-arm, better feet…. absurdly high prices for spareparts….and i think the gray ones are just ugly….

  • beuis

    Turntables will live for as long as people want to see a DJ with skills……They will live forever!
    I hope!

  • Turntables??? Here??? somebody’s getting fired…

    • I see what you did there. But we can’t report what doesn’t get made anymore. Hell I invented a Technics with a CDJ built in and caused hell. 🙂

  • Ive had my eye on the cheaper model, the LP120 going for $219 at b&h. Seems like it would do the trick for timecode house


    SO, if I understand correctly the article, the American Audio HTD 4.5 is a Super OEM too? But, it is a quality turntable like the others that share components like the Reloop or the Stanton? Because I just spend more than enough bucks in getting my pair of HTD TT’s just to know I’m not getting quality equipment to learn proper scratching…….

    • The HDT decks are older, but are indeed super OEMs and of the same quality.

      • The other thing to consider is post-sales/warranty support. Even though the turntables may be the from the same OEM, the local distributor may or may not have the best local support when it comes to spare parts, service, etc.
        It pays to find out who the local distributor is and in my experience, if it’s with a major distributor you should be fine. For example, in Australia Stanton is distributed by Jands who also import JBL, Shure, Soundcraft and they’ve been around for years. As for Reloop, American Audio and Citronic, I cannot comment.

  • laz219

    They definitely didn’t change much from the American Audio version.

    I’ve used plenty of them, citronic, stanton, american audio and reloops version of them. Always really liked them.

  • apart from the (compared to 1210s) slightly mor shaky/flimsy/plastic-y feeling tonearm i really like the super oems. i own a pair of reloop 6000s and would pretty much recommend them to anyone. when outfitting a club i’d still take a pair of refurbished 1210s, just to avoid discussions…

  • gizmo what about doing review on the audio technica AT-LP120 turntables? we see a lot of these around even here in Singapore, they are labelled as the “technics clone” and claims to have the same torque, but would really love t see the skratchworx style review on it coz you guys do the best reviews!
    That particular model (AT-LP120) im not sure if it belongs to the super oem coz the torque is a lot lower than the 4.7kgcf super oems

    • Audio Technica are about 30 minutes from the worxlab, so getting units to review shouldn’t be an issue.

      • MouseAT

        That’s fantastic. I’m also very interested in how the Audio Technica USB units perform.

        I’m interested in them not just as a DJ turntable but also as a unit for converting vinyl to digital. I’d therefore be interested in how good the quality of the built in USB audio conversion is – I’d probably use a dedicated stylus (such as the Ortofon Arkiv) for conversion, but I’d be interested in whether the built in pre-amps etc are any good or whether I’d be better off with a separate pre-amp and sound card for thus stuff.

  • BelgianJungleSound

    I console myself with the fact that the image of a DJ using turntables will remain long after turntables and/or vinyl becomes extinct.

  • Why not TECHNICS do a pay per order on there turntable?

    • If Technics, as the market leader with an iconic brand can’t make money at it then nobody can. They don’t make them out of love, they make them to make money, and there is none to make anymore.

  • IMFirth

    If Reloop’s 6000s and the Audio Technica’s new turntable are made from the same base model, what explains the £200 price difference between the two?

  • percoide

    Please note that the Denon&Marantz audiophiles turntables DP-500M, DP-1300MKII, DP-A100 (the 100th anniversary special edition with a massive black lacquered wood chassis) and Marantz TT-8001 are also technically based on this Hanpin DJ-5500 model despite being priced three to four times as expensive as the Audio-Technica model…

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  • ReIntegration

    Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB’s are mass produced Chinese turntables. These
    particular models are re-badged under a number of brands. As follows:

    Stanton (ST-150 & StR8-150)

    American Audio (HTD 4.5)

    KAM (DDX5000)

    Synq (Xtrm 1)

    Reloop (Rp6000 Mk6b)

    ..etc I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more. (SEARCH ALL THE ONES I
    MENTIONED & SEE FOR YOURSELF). Look for identical SL-1200 MK2’s,
    M3d’s, MK4..etc under a different brand name. I highly doubt you will find one. “Tech Killers”? Yeah don’t think so. Also I’ve seen other decks that have the same identical tone-arm & rear base as well. Not to mention these decks are much cheaper in China & for what ever reason people outside China sell these things for $500+ new!

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  • Rich

    Hello, Im not going to get into any arguments about super oem and technics. I have both decks and use them at home in a hi fi set up. I will say that my super oem IS a SUPERB hi fi turntable for its price in every respect. End of, full stop and ruled off.

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