This past weekend, record stores throughout the country were packed with customers in numbers they rarely see, digging through dusty, old bins for aging classics and seeking out new releases. Thanks to Record Store Day, music lovers each year either rekindle their relationship with the vinyl record or begin a new infatuation with the format, and Audio-Technica wants to make it as easy as possible to keep that flame from blowing out.
Earlier this year at CES, we got our first glimpse of the company’s AT-LP60-BT turntable, which seems like a fairly standard unit except for one addition: Bluetooth. While old-school vinyl purists may balk at the introduction of digital conversion into their pure analog signal chain, those who are just looking to spin a record or two will likely find the wireless nature of the unit just plain convenient.
While vinyl is seeing a massive resurgence in popularity, not everyone has the time or even space to set up a proper Hi-Fi system in order to play their slabs of wax. With the AT-LP60-BT, Audio-Technica is making it easier for users to play directly to a Bluetooth speaker, and automatic playback means they don’t even have to worry about scratching the record when they drop the needle. For users who play to plug into a receiver, the AT-LP60-BT features a switchable preamp, allowing it to be used with receivers lacking a dedicated phono input.
For those who prefer the more minimalist side of life, external gear can be pulled almost entirely out of the equation. The AT-LP60-BT can be paired with any pair of Bluetooth headphones, with no DAC or headphone amp necessary. The quality of the sound depends on the quality of the converters in the turntable and headphones, of course, but this may be as close as we’ll ever see to a vinyl-based Walkman.
Audio-Technica was also showing two new pairs of on-ear headphones at CES this year, the ATH-SR5 and ATH-SR5BT. As the model numbers imply, this is essentially the same pair of headphones, with the latter model sporting Bluetooth. In our first impressions, we found the headphones to be comfortable, with fairly clear sound. Both models support Hi-Res audio, though with the ATH-SR5BT, this is only available when using the supplied cable — Hi-Res over Bluetooth isn’t supported.
The AT-LP60-BT turntable sells for $180, while the pricing on the headphones depends on whether you want Bluetooth or not. The wired ATH-SR5 will cost $150, while the ATH-SR5BT sells for $200.
Audio-Technica says all three products will be available this month both in stores and online, just in time for Mother’s Day. See the Audio-Technica website for more information on the AT-LP60-BT turntable or ATH-SR5 headphones.