When Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto turned “The Girl from Ipanema” into a classic LP, they probably never realized that the work they were doing would be the standard by which many turntables would later be judged and that’s why a turntable such as the Audio Technica AT-PL60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable is still a hit after all these years.
It is true the digital audio crowd has proclaimed the end of the LP and pressed recordings many times over, yet, if you are a real audiophile, the only way — only way — one can listen to good music is with a standard turntable. Fortunately, the audio industry does know that it takes all kinds of source material to keep audiophiles happy, so they provide as many ways as possible to get source material to the speaker cones. They may use simple binding posts or screw-on binding posts or the clip-style (push the button and insert the wire into a set of teeth). Even the good, old-fashioned RCA-style plug has its place in an audiophile’s speaker domain, which is why true purists can get the richness that LPs and 45s still bring to music.
It is true that digital audio is great and when you jam those iPod earbuds down tightly into your earlobes you hear many bright highs and lows, but there is still a lot to be said for putting on a classic pressing of an LP — Chicago’s “White Album” comes to mind — and listening through a good set of speakers (that’s one good thing about speakers, as long as the input source material can go from digital to analog or analog to digital, the speaker cones don’t care what is driving them, they just reproduce the sound).
There’s a certain richness that you only get from a good pressing of an LP that digital audio, for all of its ability to repeat sound exactly, just can’t match. We’ve tried listening both ways and still do prefer the output from a turntable like the Audio Technica because of the richness we’ve talked about.
Yet, even Audio Technica, which still uses belt drive, has been overtaken by the digital audio world in that it the AT-PL60 includes a switchable phone preamp and inputs so that you can hook your turntable directly to your home PC.
One of the features we like about the turntable is its dual magnet phone cartridge which not only helps audio input but, since it is a cartridge, is replaceable when the stylus wears out (digital audiophiles will point out that one doesn’t have to replace a CD or DVD unit after a given number of plays and that the digital units will deliver clean precise audio until they fail, but remember when they fail, you do have to replace the whole CD or DVD and not just the stylus).
The Audio Technica is a two-speed turntable 33 1/3 and 45 and the platter itself is aluminum-based so it will remain straight and balanced. It also has some fine Wow and Flutter specs. Wow and Flutter is less than 0.25 percent (WTD) at 3 kHz. The S/N ratio (signal-to-noise) is better than 50 dB (DIN-B).
On the output side, the phono preamp has is 2.5 mV at 1 kHz, at 50 cm per second. The line-in preamp has great specs of 150 mV at 1kHz, at 5 cm per second. Phono pre-amp gain is a nominal 36 dB.
A compact turntable, the Audio Technica weighs only 6.6 pounds and is 14 by 4 by 14 so it won’t take up much space in any home entertainment center. Accessories included with it include dual RCA-style female to standard 3.5 mm stereo male adapter; and a RCA-style female to female adapter cable, as well as the 45 mm center spindle for 45 rpm pressings.