The vinyl resurgence continues, with records continuing to grow in popularity. It seems that if music lovers aren’t streaming music, they want to buy it on vinyl. The Audio Technica ATLP60BT gives you the best of both worlds, with the ability to play records on a trusted, brand name turntable that has the option of streaming that music wirelessly to your Bluetooth devices.
Setup That Takes Away the Intimidation
Setting up a turntable can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to it. Turntables aimed at serious vinyl collectors aren’t usually the kind of thing you simply unbox and plug in. Cartridges may have to be adjusted. A counterweight needs to be installed and the tonearm properly balanced. Then the anti-skating control needs to be fine-tuned. I’ve done it a dozen times in the past year, and this initial setup can still take an hour or more to get just right.
With the Audio Technica ATLP60BT, you don’t have to worry about any of this.
It comes out of the box almost fully assembled. The hinged dust cover is already installed (it slide right off if you want to remove it). The cartridge is an integrated version, with no adjustments. The only thing you have to do is install the belt and platter. Audio Technica makes the installation very easy, with the belt already mounted to the platter and a ribbon to pull to snap the belt over the motor pulley. You may finch at the prospect, but it really is straightforward (as you can see in the accompanying video).
The only remaining steps are to remove a twist tie that held the tone arm steady during shipping, set the mat on the platter and slide off the stylus cover.
Three Ways to Connect, Including Wireless
Traditionally, turntables connect to a receiver with a PHONO input, using stereo RCA jacks. The Audio Technica ATLP60BT has this option (the necessary cable is included). In addition, this turntable has its own built-in pre-amplifier. That means you have the option of connecting directly to a music system or speaker using a 3.5mm AUX input. This opens up a lot more possibilities, including connecting the turntable directly to a portable speaker.
The ‘BT’ in its name reflects the fact that the Audio Technica ATLP60BT also has Bluetooth connectivity. This is a great option that lets you wirelessly stream record playback to Bluetooth speakers, audio system or headphones. You can set up the turntable in a spot where it’s convenient, then stream the music to a destination device up to 30 feet away, without the clutter of additional cables.
Audio Technica ATLP60BT Turntable Key Specs
A Word About the Audio Technica ATH-AR3BT Sonic Fuel Headphones
Audio Technica is also well known for its headphones. What better way to test that turntable’s Bluetooth functionality than with a set of Audio Technica Bluetooth wireless headphones. The company included its ATH-AR3BT Sonic Fuel headphones—in matching white—to accompany the turntable.
These are on-ear headphones, with big, 40mm dynamic drivers. Audio quality was excellent, with bass that earbuds and their relatively tiny drivers simply can’t match.
They are Bluetooth wireless (BT 4.2 with aptX, AAC and SBC codec support), but also include a cable with a detachable inline remote if you want to go wired. Battery life is up to 30 hours. They’re well padded and comfortable, and fold up for easy storage when not in use.
In terms of connecting to the turntable, it was simple. I turned on the headphones in pairing mode, held the Bluetooth button on the turntable for a few seconds, set the headphones beside the turntable and after about 15 seconds they were paired. Volume control is via the headphones.
Automated Controls Reduce the Risk of Record Damage
Records are a relatively fragile media, and a diamond needle bouncing off the vinyl can cause damage that results in pops, hisses or skipping. Audio Technica made this turntable very user friendly by automating the controls, taking shaky hands out of the mix.
Pushbutton controls set the record size (7-inch or 12-inch), the speed, raise and lower the stylus, and start the record playing. Use the pushbutton controls and there’s no guesswork about where to drop the needle and no worry about accidentally scratching your record.
The Audio Technica ATLP60BT delivers an enjoyable vinyl listening experience. The integrated cartridge and AT3600L are not going to deliver audiophile-level audio performance, but it’s better than you’ll get from a ‘record-player-in-a-suitcase’ style option.
However, much of the sound quality is ultimately going to depend on the device used for playback. Connect it to headphones like the ATH-AR3BT Sonic Fuel headphones Audio Technica supplied, and you enjoy a high fidelity retro listening experience, in stereo.
Audio Technica ATLP60BT: Great for Casual Use, But Not Aimed at Serious Record Collectors
In my experience, people who are listening to records fall into two camps. One is the serious vinyl collectors, the music fans who prefer vinyl because of its distinct sound. The Audio Technica ATLP60BT isn’t really aimed at this crowd. They’re going to want a turntable with a higher quality, upgradable cartridge and the ability to adjust all the settings, with a heavier base to cut down on resonance. Something more along the lines of Audio Technica’s AT-LP3.
The second camp is those who pick up a few records and enjoy the retro listening experience. But they aren’t necessarily collectors, and they aren’t the type that would invest in a component stereo system. The Audio Technica ATLP60BT is a great choice for this group. It offers an affordable option from a trusted brand name, with easy setup, easy operation and every imaginable connectivity option—including wireless. It’s a beginner turntable, but a definite step up from the novelty record player options. And I have to say, the white review unit was pretty smart looking as well.
Shopping for a turntable? Whether you’re in the market for a beginner model, or something worthy of an audiophile, Best Buy has turntables for every level of record collector and from all the best names—including Audio Technica.