Modern DJ turntables often have many features: extra powerful motors, USB interfaces, internal phono preamplifiers (for the test marathon), double start buttons, control surfaces for DJ software and so on continue.
With the AT-LP140XP, Audio-Technica has a turntable in its portfolio that appears almost as puristic as a good old Technics.
In fact, the AT-LP140XP is also the first Audio-Technica turntable officially aimed at DJs. Right, the inexpensive Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB SV (to test) from the same company is very popular with young DJs, but it was originally built and marketed as a pure hi-fi turntable.
The LP140XP lacks a USB interface, it relies on puristic DJ action, is more expensive than the 120 and similar consumer models, but significantly cheaper than the professional top models from Pioneer & Co. We are curious to see whether Audio-Technica will get the gold here Has hit the middle.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP is a DJ turntable with direct drive in the upper mid-price range. It is available in a black or silver finish. The silver-colored model was available to us for testing.
The turntable makes no secret of the fact that it unconditionally recognizes the role model function of the Technics 1210s, all control elements on the surface are positioned exactly where the DJ expects them. At 45 x 35 cm, the width and depth are also the same as with the Technics, but the upper edge is 9 cm higher by comparison.
The AT has the complete arsenal of the necessary basics and adds something extra here and there: There are three speeds (33, 45, 78 rpm) and three pitch ranges (+/- 8, +/- 16, + / -24%) and a quartz-controlled pitch lock.
The backlit button for the reverse mode is placed above the center pitch fader in the extreme minus area. This is a good choice, experience has shown that reverse gear is rarely engaged and the position means that there is no risk of incorrect operation during hectic routines.
The classic S-shaped tonearm with adjustable height, tracking strength and anti-skate control looks solid and can be adjusted smoothly. The power switch is also housed in a Technics-like cog in the stroboscope tower, but encased in a metal sleeve to prevent inadvertent operating errors. That’s the way it has to be!
Tower: the height of the arm and the anti-skating can be easily adjusted
The combined cinch and grounding cable and the power cable are removable and are connected to the gold-plated cinch sockets and the IEC power supply on the back.
The foldable and removable dust hood, the branded slipmat and even the pickup, an Audio-Technica AT-XP3 and headshell are included. Thus the AT-LP140XP actually offers plug-and-play right out of the box.
A rubber mat is not included and neither is a USB connection (as with the AT-LX120-USBHC ), internal phono preamplification or a digital output: Audio-Technica concentrates on pure turntable virtues with the LP140XP.
A special feature is the recess for an additional pickup on the rear part of the surface between the tonearm and turntable: Here, the DJ can quickly store the Audio-Technica system, for example, if you prefer to screw your own system onto the tonearm. Well!
Also puristic at the back: two cinch sockets, ground screws and power connection
Of course, the player is delivered “disassembled” in its simple brown cardboard box: The low-resonance, vibration-damped turntable made of cast aluminum, the tonearm weight and the AT-XP3 pickup already mounted on an Audio-Technica headshell are all individually packaged and easily assembled.
There is a switch under the plate to change the voltage from 230 to 115 volts if necessary. The hinges of the dust hood are also only plugged in and not screwed.
The hood is flat at the top, without the typical “Technics bump” above the tonearm tower, which looks stylish but has probably annoyed every DJ who at some point wanted to put a laptop/controller on it. (Vinyl fans who point out in the comments that something like this is below the dignity of a 1210 anyway receive a “thumbs-up” from me)
The platter itself is cushioned from below with a thick rubber layer
Behind and below
The rear of the AT-LP140XP has two gold-plated cinch sockets and a ground screw to which the supplied cinch cable with integrated ground cable is connected. Of course, longer and higher quality cables can also be used.
There are no USB or digital connections, the Audio-Technica is very old-school. The three-pole power cable can also be removed. This makes some installation structures easier than if the cables are permanently connected to the device.
The bottom feels soberingly plastic, the four adjustable plastic feet are also well cushioned and completely okay for the price range, but not nearly as solid as Technics. On the left and right outside there are practically grooved recessed grips, thanks to which the turntable is easy to lift and carry. After a short adjustment, the piece is ready to play.
The circular start/stop button clicks smoothly and with a slight stroke
The first haptic impression is really good. The Audio-Technica has a solid total weight of 10 kg and the individual components look high-quality. The height of the tonearm tower can be smoothly adjusted and the adjustment of the tonearm weight and anti-skating is quick and precise.
The plastic surface is slightly rounded on the sides, which is very pleasant to the touch when mixing. The central spindle is 1.8 cm higher than the Technics SL-120 MK2 (1.4 cm) and tapers to a point. DJs who like to put their hands on the spindle when breaking the record will be happy.
Tour part 3: the Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP from behind
The pitch fader
The centered pitch fader feels supple and can be guided precisely. The zero position engages gently and illuminates the blue zero position LED. Even more important: when pitching around the zero point, the center grid is hardly annoying.
The switches for speed and pitch range click reliably. If both switches are pressed at the same time, a third area can be selected and that’s a good thing: The design of the player remains clear and the functions that are frequently used can be selected directly and without confusion because the DJ needs 78 rpm or 24% pitch only in exceptional cases.
Get into the groove: the lowered fader of the Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP pitches well
Audio-Technica doesn’t really care about this. The official data indicate a starting torque of 2.2 kgf-cm and wow and flutter of less than 0.2% WRMS at 33 RPM. I find the torque of the AT-LP140XP to be very pleasant and organic. Start and stop are a bit more moderate than with a Technics, but I really like the slightly longer stopping behavior as an effect.
Here, too, we are probably dealing with a Hanpin Super OEM drive and therefore with a solid 1200 copy, which is also used without complaint in many other turntables from well-known manufacturers. The audio examples below show how quickly the Audio-Technica starts up and slows down compared to the Technics.
The turntable made of die-cast aluminum has a thick rubber coating on the underside in order to avoid vibrations and thus feedback and is slightly lowered “like the original” in the turntable. At approx. 1250 g it is only slightly lighter than my 1210’s (approx. 1500 g) and the powerful motor has easy play with the turntable.
The four strobe rings for determining the speed feel comfortable and level. Well suited for DJs who like to break on the edge of the turntable.
The edge of the platter of the Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP feels smooth and level
In general, the AT-LP140XP is a true esthete: The silver-colored finish looks classy and unobtrusive and goes well with the black elements of the turntable, the circular start/stop button corresponds comfortably with the circular puck shelf, both are framed with a black ring, the whole design is coherent and beautiful.
The black version comes with a black chassis and black buttons, which also looks very cool.
You just have to like the blue LEDs. The power light in the stroboscope turret, the LEDs in the switches, at the zero position of the pitch fader and the needle lighting: Everything shines in a cool, cold blue, similar to the new Technics SL-1210GR.
What I like very much is the light effect that is shown on the needle of the AT-XP3 pickup included. Thanks to the shape of the cartridge, the blue light of the needle illumination is reflected onto the needle tip, so that it almost acts like an additional LED, and the DJ can really recognize the position of the needle on the record. Super practical and also a real eye-catcher at home.
The needle tip of the included XP3 pickup lights up blue like an LED when in use
The new AT-XP3 pickup sounds good, but it’s not nearly as fat on the vinyl as my reference pickups Ortofon Mk2 Club and Taruya 01-M, which stick stoically in the groove even with more agile scratches. Completely okay for mix DJs, not suitable for scratch DJs.
With a dedicated scratch pickup, the LP140XP works quite differently. On the other hand, DJ gets a good hi-fi pickup including a headshell included. So my tip: use the included XP3 pickup to listen to music, which thanks to its conical cut sounds nicely balanced and less stresses the record grooves.
Then screw on a proper scratch pickup for DJ mixes and tough scratch routines.
The included Audio-Technica AT-XP3 pickup is more suitable for listening to music than for scratching
Thanks to the puristic design, which does not require a phono preamp or USB card to change the sound, the sound of the AT-LP140XP flows directly from the cartridge to the cinch outputs.
The properly dampened turntable and the high synchronization of the turntable are further good prerequisites for optimal transmission between the pickup and the phono preamplifier in the mixer or the power amplifier.
Push me: The start/stop button arches slightly towards the DJ
The small submarine periscope for illuminating the needle can be lowered into the turntable chassis and, as with the Technics classic, raised again at the push of a hydraulic button.
This is less flexible than the “original” and did not always work without problems with the test device: I sometimes had to pull out the needle light with both fingertips.
In contrast to my veteran Technics SL-1210 Mk2, the plate arm also looks lighter when placed and therefore less vibration.
Finally, a critical word about the non-hydraulic record lift: If the needle is lowered onto the record using the lift lever, care must be taken, otherwise the stylus will hit the vinyl unchecked. But I don’t want to hang these points of criticism too high either: Audio-Technica cut corners here that do not significantly impair the turntable’s performance.
Most DJs leave the needle lighting in one position or the other and in fact, in 27 years of club activity, I’ve only met one DJ who carefully lowers the needle onto the record using a hydraulic lever. I do not need that.
It doesn’t flow out of the pit as smoothly as it does at Technics, but who doesn’t want to keep such a beautiful blue stroboscope extended anyway?
The new Audio-Technica is a rock-solid and pretty puristic DJ turntable, which is damn close to the Technics 1210 in terms of feel. The turntable feels good and valuable and also performs that way.
Everything you need in high quality is in the right place here, little things were saved, but when testing in my own four walls I couldn’t find any no-gos. Also not unimportant for the living room at home: in silver, the AT-LP140XP looks distinguished, noble and unobtrusive, in black it resembles a Batman device thanks to its all-black color scheme.
It’s just a shame that the needle light, tonearm lever and feet are not on the same high level as the other components. Then the Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP – as it stands here in front of me – would be a real Technics alternative (not only) for discerning bedroom DJs. However, whether it still runs as smoothly as my 1210 MK2 after 27 years of operation, time should actually tell.