Audio Solutions Question of the Week: The AT-LP140XP, AT-LP120XUSB and AT-LP120-USB Turntables Look Very Similar. What are the Differences Between These Models?

Question: The AT-LP140XP, AT-LP120XUSB and AT-LP120-USB turntables look very similar. What are the differences between these models?

Answer: Good question! The AT-LP140XP, AT-LP120XUSB and AT-LP120-USB turntables do look very similar.  And while all models have a few basic features that are identical, other features differ.


Operation Type

All models are fully manual in operation. There are NO automatic functions. To start and stop the rotation of the record platter, press the Start/Stop button at any time. To place the stylus (needle) on the record, raise the tonearm from the tonearm rest by raising the cueing lever. Use your hand to move the tonearm over to the desired location on the record then lower the arm to the record by lowering the lever. At the end of play, raise the arm by raising the cueing lever, use your hand to return the tonearm to the tonearm rest and lower the arm to the rest by lowering the lever.

Drive method

All three models use direct drive as the drive method. The center spindle that the record platter is attached to is a part of the motor itself. Since the spindle is turning the platter – no additional parts, such as a belt or idler wheel, are required – the platter is said to be directly driven. The direct-drive design provides excellent record speed stability, enables quick speed changes and startup times, and is very durable. We use a different direct-drive motor in each of these turntables for various reasons.

The original AT-LP120-USB model uses a high-torque (1.6 motor with a reverse direction and two pitch adjustment ranges, +/-10% and +/- 20%. This motor provides quick starts and stops and is suitable for light commercial use in addition to casual use at home. The motor offers a good compromise between features, performance and fidelity.

The latest generation of the turntable, the AT-LP120XUSB, uses a slightly lower torque motor (1.0 that does not have a reversible direction, but, in part, this motor enables the turntable to have higher overall fidelity due to its lower-noise design. In fact, the noise floor of the LP120XUSB turntable is so low even low-output Moving Coil (MC) type phono cartridges requiring additional amplification may be used with it. Two pitch adjustment ranges, +/-8% and +/-16%, are provided. Offering a higher fidelity listening experience, the AT-LP120XUSB is suitable for casual or critical listening at home. Its motor is a good compromise between cost, performance and fidelity.

With a starting torque of 2.2, the AT-LP140XP turntable has the highest torque motor of the three. It is a professional-quality turntable designed for commercial use, but the well-damped chassis and platter make it suitable for home use as well. This motor features a reversible direction and offers three pitch adjustment ranges, +/-8%, +/-16% and +/- 24%.


All models feature three electronically selectable speeds, 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM, and a high-accuracy variable pitch control with quartz speed lock. A stroboscopic platter with speed indicator permits a visual confirmation of speed/pitch selection.


All models include an Audio-Technica phono cartridge pre-mounted to a standard half-inch mount headshell. The AT-LP120-USB turntable uses our AT-HS1 headshell. Both the AT-LP120XUSB and AT-LP140XP turntables use our new AT-HS6 headshell. All styli are user replaceable. The AT-LP120-USB turntable comes fitted with the AT95E cartridge, the AT-LP120XUSB comes fitted with an updated version of the AT95E, the AT-VM95E, and the AT-LP140XP comes with the AT-XP3, which is our entry-level DJ cartridge. The replacement stylus for the AT95E cartridge is the ATN95E; there are no other stylus options available from Audio-Technica for this cartridge. But there are a number of replacement styli available for the AT-VM95E cartridge, including a 78 RPM stylus. All styli in the AT-VM95 Series are interchangeable: It is not necessary to replace the entire cartridge should you want to upgrade the sound of the turntable, simply replace the stylus with a higher-quality model. Same goes for the XP Series – all styli are interchangeable in this series as well. Styli are also interchangeable between the AT-VM95 Series and the XP Series of DJ cartridges. Note that the output level of the cartridges in the XP Series is higher than that of the cartridges in the AT-VM95 Series. When an AT-VMN95 Series replacement stylus is fitted to an XP Series cartridge body, the higher output level of the XP series cartridge will be realized.


All models feature a static balanced S-shaped tonearm with a detachable headshell, hydraulically damped lift control (cueing lever), adjustable tracking force (counterweight) and adjustable dynamic anti-skate control. Additionally, the AT-LP120-USB and AT-LP140XP models feature adjustable tonearm height to accommodate cartridges of varying heights. The AT-LP120XUSB turntable does not have a tonearm height adjustment feature.


The AT-LP120-USB uses a permanently attached analog audio cable terminated with male Left and Right RCA-type plugs. Thanks to a built-in switchable RIAA phono preamplifier, these plugs can be connected to either RCA-style PHONO input jacks or to line level input jacks (such as AUX, LINE or CD) on a device. Via a provided USB cable, a USB port on the rear panel allows the turntable to be connected to a computer for digitizing records using the audio recording and editing program that was provided. On the AT-LP120XUSB turntable, the RCA cable is no longer permanently attached; it plugs into RCA jacks on the rear panel instead. Additionally, a dedicated ground wire is integrated into the cable to help minimize any hum. A USB cable is also provided. Installing the recording software of your choice enables conversion of your records to digital audio files. The built-in phono preamplifier is an improved design providing extended high-frequency response. The AT-LP140XP turntable also has RCA jacks on the rear panel and includes an RCA cable with integrated ground wire. The AT-LP140XP does not have a built-in phono preamplifier or a USB port, however.

Power Supply

Both the AT-LP120-USB and AT-LP140XP turntables use a detachable AC power cord. AC to DC conversion is done inside the turntable. The AT-LP120XUSB turntable uses an AC adapter that handles AC/DC conversion outside the turntable, reducing noise in the signal chain.

If you have further questions regarding turntables, please feel free to contact the Audio Solutions Department for assistance.