Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN Review

by Bruno Brozovic

This fully manual, belt-drive turntable pairs a carbon fiber tonearm with the new AT-VM95E cartridge, delivering a rich, natural sound and making it a fantastic choice for anyone looking for high-quality, budget-friendly audio. Additionally, I was immediately drawn to its elegant walnut veneer finish and solid build.

Intro

Audio-Technica specializes in turntables, cartridges, and headphones. While their turntables are mostly for beginners, they offer a variety of models including manual, automatic, direct drive, and belt drive options, all at affordable prices. The AT-LPW40WN is their top model, offering excellent value. If you’re looking for a quality, budget-friendly turntable, continue reading!

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN Review

Along with the AT-LPW40WN, a similar, slightly cheaper AT-LPW30TK is also available for sale. These are very “hi-fi” turntables, fully manual.

Their introduction coincided with the premiere of the new AT-VM95 cartridge. For the manufacturer, it is perhaps even more important than the new turntables, as it is to replace the legend of budget configurations – the fantastic AT95E. Some people, after learning about AT’s plans to withdraw the AT95E, have stocked up on that cartridge … But the AT-LPW40WN and AT-LPW30TK turntables are an opportunity to get to know the new AT-VM95.

Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN Fully Manual Belt-Drive Turntable, 2 Speeds, Dynamic Anti-Skate Control, Carbon-Fiber Tonearm Walnut
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Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN Fully Manual Belt-Drive Turntable, 2 Speeds, Dynamic Anti-Skate Control, Carbon-Fiber Tonearm Walnut
  • Fully manual, belt-drive operation with 2 speeds: 33-1/3 and 45 RPM
  • Motor features a speed-sensor system to maintain accurate platter rotation speed
  • Adjustable dynamic anti-skate control
  • Professional anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter with rubber mat
  • AT-HS4 universal ½ in. mount headshell and AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge with 0.3 mil x 0.7 mil...

Technical Description

The Design

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN has an elegant and unique design. It’s a great choice if you’re tired of the usual piano black or high gloss finishes. The turntable brings back classic aesthetics with its MDF plinth covered in satin lacquered walnut veneer. There are minimal plastic parts, with only small covers for the mechanisms and electronics under the plinth. The feet are directly screwed into the MDF board, giving it a solid and stylish look.

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN without a platter

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN without a platter

The Drive

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN has a single knob that serves as both the power switch and speed selector (33.3 rpm and 45 rpm). It features a belt drive, with the entire mechanism hidden under the platter. The motor transmits revolutions to a smaller sub-platter disc.

Audio Technica AT LPW40WN switch

Audio Technica AT LPW40WN switch

The engine is installed on the plinth with vibration-damping rubber brackets. A thick, rubber mat with effective cuts also plays a similar role. Sensors built into the motor ensure rotational accuracy, while the platter is a classic aluminum die-cast.

Tonearm

The 9-inch tonearm is noteworthy. At first glance, it looks similar to the Thorens TD201, featuring a simple tube with a socket and an angular head embedded in it. However, the tube itself, made of carbon fibers, sets it apart from other turntables. The tube suspension element also has an interesting, light C-profile form.

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN - tonearm closeup view

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN – tonearm closeup view

The tonearm base housing has an anti-skating system (spring mechanism) with a convenient knob, offering very good precision and resolution of adjustment, similar to the TD201. The tracking force is set using a typical, round counterweight, screwed on the rear part of the tube.

Connection Panel

There are no surprises in the connection panel. It features an RCA socket, a ground pin, and a connector for an external power supply. A small toggle switch allows you to turn on or bypass the built-in correction preamplifier circuit, designed for MM-type cartridges.

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN - connection panel

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN – connection panel

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN is one of the first turntables to feature a cartridge from the new AT-VM95E family. The cartridge stands out due to its characteristic green color, leading to the endearing nickname “frog.” The AT-VM95E is an MM (Moving Magnet) cartridge and features an advanced elliptical needle cut, which is quite sophisticated for such an affordable model. This design choice enhances the precision and quality of sound reproduction, making it a great option for both new and seasoned vinyl enthusiasts.

AT-VM95E mounted on Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN

AT-VM95E mounted on Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN has a relatively high output voltage level of 4 mV, which means the turntable will play loud, a feature many listeners appreciate. The cartridges from the AT-VM95 family share a common body but differ in needles, making them compatible and easy to upgrade. A platter and a mat are provided for self-assembly, and you need to gently put the belt on the motor roller and set the correct tracking force. This design allows for easy customization and improved sound quality as you upgrade the needle.

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN Sound Test

The sound from the Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN feels natural and pastel, just as you’d expect from a turntable. Instead of focusing on the midrange, it emphasizes a rich and expansive soundstage. This creates a more immersive listening experience, where the placement and depth of instruments come alive.

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN produces a complete sound that’s a bit less warm compared to the Thorens TD201. It may not initially give that classic analog feel, but it handles any music well, delivering a well-saturated, balanced, and energetic performance. The AT-LPW40WN provides powerful sound without flattening or exaggerating it, responding efficiently to what’s recorded. Records with dynamic range will sound clear, as this turntable maintains a natural balance without sacrificing important sound features.

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN does not soften the upper midrange, standing out among many turntables in this price range with its higher level of vividness and selectivity. It has a bouncy and even contour, avoiding the lowest frequencies and complicated formations. The midrange is expressive and not necessarily stereotypically analog. The treble is delicate, yet fresh and airy. The turntable carefully reads information from the record, showcasing the competence of the needle with an advanced elliptical cut. Travel noise is kept low. The sound is juicy and transparent, accurately reproducing sibilants, which is a challenge for many cartridges. While the built-in preamplifier is a good start, this turntable seems to deserve more.

I decided to test this turntable with Cambridge Audio Alva Solo.

Cambridge Audio Alva Solo | Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet Turntable
  • ✓ DESIGNED FOR VINYL – Cambridge Audio’s Alva Solo is a dedicated moving magnet phono preamp designed to give you...
  • ✓ ATTENTION TO DETAIL – The Alva Duo's switch mode power supply and surface mount technology delivers short signal...
  • ✓ SUBSONIC FILTER & BALANCE CONTROL – The Alva Solo will even work if your vinyls are a little worse for wear. The...
  • ✓ GREAT ADDITION TO ANY AMP – The Alva Solo is a perfect for your amp that doesn’t have a phono preamp built in or...
  • ✓ TECH SPECS - MAX POWER CONSUMPTION 10W, GAIN @ 1KHZ 39dB, NOMINAL OUTPUT 300mV, SENSITIVITY FOR NOMINAL OUTPUT...

I was eager to see how the LPW40WN would handle a phono-stage upgrade. It’s easily the best sub-$500 phono stage I’ve heard, and the AT and Alva Solo worked well together. I played records with this combination for several days and frequently forgot to think critically; I just listened to the music, which is the whole point.

How to setup Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN – Detailed video instructions

Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN Specifications

  • Type: Belt-drive manual turntable
  • Motor: DC servo with Active Speed Stabilization
  • Drive: Method Belt drive
  • Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
  • Turntable Platter: Die-cast aluminum
  • Wow and Flutter: < 0.15% WRMS (33 RPM) at 3 kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >60dB
  • Output Level: Pre-amp “PHONO”: 4.0 mV nominal at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec, Pre-amp “LINE”: 200 mV nominal at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec
  • Phono Pre-Amp Gain: 35 dB nominal, RIAA equalized
  • Power Supply Requirements: 100-240 V, 50/60 Hz, 0.5 A Max.
  • Dimensions: 420.0 mm (16.53″) W x 340.0 mm (13.38″) D x 116.9 mm (4.6″) H
  • Weight: 4.72 kg (10.40 lbs.) without dust cover
  • Accessories Included: Dust cover, Platter, Turntable mat, Drive belt, Counterweight, AT-HS4 headshell, AT-VM95E stereo cartridge, 45-RPM adapter, RCA audio cable (approx. 1.0 m (3.3′)), AC adapter (approx. 1.5 m (4.9′)) (AD-SA1205WE), Dust cover hinges
  • Tonearm type: Static balanced straight carbon tonearm
  • Effective arm length: 223.6 mm
  • Overhang: 18.6 mm
  • Tracking error angle: <2 degrees
  • Applicable cartridge weight: 12-17 g
  • Stylus pressure adjustment range: 0-3 g
  • AC Adapter: 12 V, 0.5 A
  • Replacement Stylus: AT-VMN95E

You can view & download the manual here->Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN Manual

Final Verdict

The Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN is a prime example of the progress in budget turntables over the past few years. Ubiquitous plastics have been replaced by classic solutions found in more expensive models, such as MDF plinths and carbon fiber tonearms. Despite these upgrades, it maintains simplicity and intuitiveness, enhancing the positive sound impressions. The AT-LPW40WN not only looks great but also sounds good, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to start their vinyl record journey.

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3.8/5 - (57 votes) - Click on stars to leave a review

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