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Audio Technica USB turntable doesn't skimp

The Audio Technica AT-LP120 is a fully appointed turntable with USB output and a styling that looks a whole lot like a Technics SL-MK1200.

Photo of the Audio Technica AT-LP120.
Finally, a USB turntable you can be proud of. Donald Bell/CNET

LAS VEGAS--I know CNET pays me to cover MP3 players, but privately, I'm a sucker for my beat-up, old Technics SL-1200MK2. Compared with most of the flimsy, plastic, belt-driven, disposable toys that get passed off as turntables these days, my 1200 is a 20-pound metal beast that will probably outlive my grandchildren.

USB turntables are the worst offenders. Built on the cheap, to last just long enough to rip your old LPs into iTunes, most of the world's USB decks spend their lives stored in closets in garages once their owners see them for the bulky, eyesores they really are.

But for all you vinyl nerds out there looking for a USB turntable that holds up to the standards of the predigital era, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB ($429 list, $299 street) offers a shining ray of hope. Clearly built as an homage to the classic Technics SL-1200MK2, the AT-LP120-USB seemingly offers old-schoolers a way to straddle the analog and digital music realms in style.

The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is available now. For a hands-on look, hit up our photo gallery.