Today I have a new turntable on my desk in my Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review.
- 1 Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Intro
- 2 Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Specifications
- 3 Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – The Design
- 4 Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Phono Preamp and Tonearm
- 5 Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Sound Test
- 6 Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Video Review
- 7 Final Verdict
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Intro
The traditional manufacturer Audio Technica from Japan specializes in inexpensive turntables like no other manufacturer with a long tradition. You have to be able to do that because anyone can cook with the best ingredients. The brand-new AT-LPW50PB tops off the Audio-Technica range at $449. Hard to believe because everything is included, even the built-in phono preamp.
Where other brands are just starting out in terms of price, Audio-Technica is already at the top end of its own flagpole with the LPW50PB. Nevertheless, a price of around $500 is already a nice chunk of money for many interested parties – and according to reports, turntables up to $500 are by far the best sellers worldwide.
The first impression when unpacking – or “unboxing” was promising. The frame or base of the Audio-Technica LPW50PB is a 30mm thick MDF wood panel with a perfect black gloss finish. The tonearm is pre-assembled and the missing components are quickly ready. The record player stands on four shapely and adjustable rubber feet. They promise to dampen vibrations effectively and you can use them to balance the level.
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB 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
- 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
- Replacement Stylus: AT-VMN95E BK
- Power Supply Requirements: 100-240 V, 50/60 Hz, 0.5 A Max.
- Dimensions With dustcover: 420.0 mm (16.54″) W x 356.0 mm (14.02″) D x 126.0 mm (4.96″) H
- Without dustcover and hinges: 420.0 mm (16.54″) W x 356.0 mm (14.02″) D x 114.0 mm (4.49″) H
- Weight: 5.56 kg (12.26 lbs.) without dust cover
- Accessories Included: Dust cover, Platter, Turntable mat, Drive belt, Counterweight, AT-HS4 headshell, AT-VM95E stereo cartridge (black), 45-RPM adapter, RCA audio cable (approx. 1.0 m (3.3′)), AC adapter (approx. 1.5 m (4.9′)), Dust cover hinges
You can download the manual here->Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Manual
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – The Design
The engine hangs under a round metal mounting plate. The pulley operates in the center, a precisely turned brass part and not plastic. The platter bearing is standard with a conical coupling to the platter, but brass is also used here.
The platter is a lightweight cast aluminum construction with a fixed radius for the flat belt and rib-like bracing towards the center to prevent platter resonance. The flat belt is already stretched and can be grabbed with a red ribbon from the top through the side hole. You put the platter on the platter bearing and pull the belt carefully over the pulley – done.
The thick and precisely manufactured rubber mat is an important part of the turntable. Not just in terms of cushioning, but also as a weight supplement. It’s hardly worth using any other turntable mat, especially if it’s lighter and/or thinner.
The turntable is activated with a simple and elegant rotary switch. The stop position is in the middle of the two relevant speeds 33 1/3 and 45. The platter spins up quickly at both speeds and takes about half a turn. That’s really fast for a belt drive, but that’s due to the rather small plate mass.
At first, I heard a faint noise between the belt and the pulley or between the belt and the plate. After an hour of running in, nothing could be heard, not even after longer stopping times. The drive system simply requires a short break-in period, which is not unusual.
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Phono Preamp and Tonearm
The connections on the back of the Audio-Technica LPW50PB are self-explanatory. The RCA outputs (cinch) can be connected directly to the line input of an amplifier by setting the slide switch to the “Line” position. The phono preamplifier integrated into the record player is then in operation and amplifies the audio signal from the cartridge to a nominal voltage of 200 mV.
If the switch is left in the “Phono” position, the output voltage is 4.0 mV. This allows a separate MM phono preamplifier or a hi-fi amplifier with a phono input to be connected. The Audio-Technica LPW50PB is, to a certain extent, suitable both for “plug-and-play” and for the higher discipline of “phono operation”.
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Tonearm
The most striking thing about the three-point bearing tonearm is the carbon composite tonearm tube. The material is light, and low-resonance, and… it looks good. The anti-skating device and tone arm lift are conventional and work well. The headshell with SME connector is cranked, i.e. angled.
Back to anti-skating: according to the manufacturer, it should have a dynamic effect. I doubt it. The dynamic component of skating power depends on the amount of modulation of the groove. The louder and more dynamic the music, the greater the skating power. A dynamic anti-skating would therefore have to oppose a dynamically changing force and therefore have a sensor. Appropriate solutions once existed, but they were complicated, time-consuming, and expensive.
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Review – Sound Test
In the listening room, the Audio-Technica ATLPW50PB record player shows a lot of bright sides and also a few downsides. But that’s not unusual in its price range. The player owes his strengths above all to the good standard pickup and the carbon arm tube. The latter has the task of creating working conditions for the system that is as quiet as possible and free from resonance. And he’s obviously very good at it.
We put on the current Woodkid album S16: The Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PB presents the lush string arrangements in a wide and powerful way in an impressively large space. That should correspond to the intention of the producer, who not without reason put the orchestra in London’s Abbey Road Studios recorded. Their huge Studio 1 is famous for its rich, wide sound. And Audio-Technica reproduces this very well.
The high dynamics of the album, which, in addition to acoustic orchestra and vocals typical of Woodkids, also offer a wealth of electronic sounds, do not cause any stress for the inexpensive player. This confident impression is repeated in other records from current and ancient production. With the LPW50PB you can also venture into “difficult” material and don’t have to be afraid of dynamically mixed vinyl discs.
With the built-in phono preamp, it’s more of a plug-and-play affair. You can do that if it doesn’t really matter – and that’s the case in this price range. It’s always a good idea.
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Video Review
The Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB is quite an amazing device. Impeccably finished, very beautiful to look at, and with a music reproduction that amazes me. Price-performance? No discussion, the relationship is sensational! At Audio-Technica, everything comes from one stable and is then cast from the same mold. I wondered what the company would be able to do once they started making really expensive turntables.
Audio Technica AT-LPW50PB Pro & Cons
- Speed sensor system to ensure correct playback speed and pitch at all times
- The ultimate Audio-Technica turntable for vinyl fanatics and discerning listeners
- A quality turntable that has had every element of its design carefully considered
- Big competition from the likes of Rega and Pro-Ject
- Only available in a black finish
- Mainly suitable for experienced vinyl enthusiasts