Product Review (December 2007)
Audio-Technica - AT-LP2D-USB Turntable

By Kevin Nakano

Most of us old-timers still have a good collection of vinyl records that we find hard to part with. After all, I still have many albums that never made it into my CD collection. This is largely due to a change in my music taste over the years as well as the fact that I still like to listen to LPs on my old Thorens turntable. Therefore, there was no need to buy the same music again on a different format. Sure it is less convenient, but there is something about the old analog system that still sounds pleasing to my ears. As we all move into the era of portable media players and music servers there comes a time when converting the old vinyl music into a digital format makes a lot of sense. Several friends of mine have tried this with mixed results. Audio-Technica, a company well known for it's contribution to the audio industry has come up with an inexpensive and relatively easy way to convert those aging vinyl discs. The AT-LP2D-USB is a full blown turntable complete with a built-in USB interface that allows any computer with a USB port to accept digital audio. The turntable supports both 33-1/3 and 45 rpm vinyl and comes with an automatic (start and stop) tonearm with a simple push of a button.

Phono Cartridge
The AT-LP2D-USB includes an integral dual-magnet Audio-Technica phono cartridge for capturing the sound from that old vinyl. For those purist who want to use the turntable with an analog output, the AT-LP2D-USB offers both line level and phono level outputs. The latter will require RIAA equalization or a phono input on a receiver or preamplifier, something that is getting rather hard to find in mainstream audio equipment these days. We had an inexpensive outboard Parasound PPH-100 phono preamplifier on hand that we tried with the unit. Converting the analog audio to digital internally in the turntable does has its advantages and helps keep noise low on the low level signals. We used the USB interface for the majority of our review.

Cakewalk Pyro 5
The AT-LP2D-USB system includes a copy of Cakewalk Pyro 5, a powerful software package that makes it easy to copy CDs and DVDs (single and dual-layer), rip CDs, make MP3s, send music to your portable player, and create and upload ringtones to your phone. It is a great tool to help users get their recorded content to their favorite digital products. There are also powerful tools to clean, edit, and equalize your audio. Users can also adjust volumes, and add additional effects including the ability to drag one song over the other to create seamless DJ-style mixes. Pyro 5 includes Cakewalk-quality technology that can locate and organize all the music files on your PC, instantly download songs, albums, and artist names, burn and share mix CDs of your favorite music, and archive important data files to CD, DVD, or dual-layer DVD.

The real power of the AT-LP2D-USB is the direct digital connection to a computer through its USB interface. This greatly simplifies the earlier systems that required an A/D card in the PC to convert the analog audio signal to a digital file. Audio-Technica still leaves this option with the analog cables attached, but we think most users will prefer to use the USB interface for simplicity. The AT-LP2D-USB includes Cakewalk Pyro 5, a state-of-the-art recording software package that makes capturing and editing audio tracks simple. Several recording options and capabilities are included with the Pyro 5 software to make creating music files easier.

Here is an example of audio being captured from one of our LPs. In this case we recorded one side of Genesis Seconds Out. As you can see, five distinctive tracks have been recorded with small breaks in between each of the tracks. The software allows the user to manually tag each of the recorded tracks on the screen. Zooming in/out or scrolling forward/backwards is as simple as a button push. Users can rip to MP3, .WMA, or WAV files with user defined audio quality. To prevent the "thump" encountered in the audio when the needle drops into the track or when the needle lifts from the track, the user can simply edit out that portion of the audio using the tool. Pyro 5 also has a tool to clean up "noisy or crackly" audio best known as "pop and click" filtering. The speed can be adjusted to change the pitch of the recordings. Users can design full-color CD-Labels and jewel case inserts for their collection.

Our test album was in pretty good shape, so we did not have to apply any audio filtering to the recording. One feature we found to be great was the level control to prevent clipping of the audio while maximizing the dynamic range of the recording. The music we played on the AT-LP2D-USB turntable sounded great and had good frequency response with impressive bass.

Conclusion
Converting your old LP collection to the new era of digital music is no easy task even with this system. However, Audio-Technica has made the AT-LP2D-USB user friendly and probably provides the most economical way of getting your LP collection into a convenient format that you can enjoy everyday. The sound quality is surprisingly good for an inexpensive turntable, which evens comes with a full needle and cartridge. The integrated USB interface makes using the AT-LP2D-USB simple and without the hassle of connecting analog cables. Best of all, the street price is less than $150.

- Kevin Nakano






OPPO BDP-83SE Blu-ray Player

OneCall: Your Home Theater, Digital Camera, and HDTV Experts



Review System

Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review at a Glance

Audio-Technica - AT-LP2D-USB Turntable with USB

Features:

  • AT-LP2D-USB stereo turntable features
  • USB output—no special drivers required for direct connection to your computer
  • Built-in switchable stereo phono/line level pre-amplifier. Permits use of turntable with stereo systems having either magnetic-phono inputs or “AUX” (line-level) inputs; also allows convenient use of turntable with most powered speakers
  • PC & Mac compatible
  • Fully automatic operation keeps LPs scratch free
  • Two speeds: 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm
  • Professional aluminum platter stabilizes records for the best-sounding play back
  • Balanced tone arm with soft damping control prevents excess wear on your LP collection
  • Switchable built-in pre-amplifier with line-level RCA output cables
  • Integral Audio-Technica Dual Magnet™ phono cartridge with replaceable diamond stylus
  • Removable dust cover

Cakewalk PYRO Software:

  • Create MP3, WAV, and WMA files…and much more
  • Remove clicks, pops, and crackles from noisy LPs with DeClicker
  • Clean hiss, hum, and other annoyances from LPs with DeNoiser
  • Design full-color CD-Labels and jewel case inserts
  • Audacity recording software
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording…and more

Cables:

  • USB cable
  • Dual RCA (female) to 1/8” (3.5 mm) mini-plug (male) stereo adapter cable
  • Dual RCA (female) to 1/8” (3/5 mm) mini-plug (female) stereo adapter cable

Company Information
Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.
1221 Commerce Drive
Stow, Ohio 44224
Tel: 330-686-2600

MSRP: $229
Source: Manufacture supplied

Warranty:

URL: http://www.audio-technica.com


Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to webmaster@laaudiofile.com

Copyright © 1985-2007 L.A. Audio File.