I love hosting. I enjoy the simple ritual of entertaining guests with good food, conversation, and great music. I have the food department covered thanks to some pretty great deals at the local grocery stores here in Los Angeles (hit me up for tips on beautiful charcuterie boards). Facilitating conversation is a treat as I enjoy listening to people talk about the big and small things in life. But when it comes to music, I'm constantly experimenting with different sound systems. Through the years, I’ve tried to find affordably priced record players — Crosley and Sony options have both been in rotation — but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find them cumbersome and lacking in features. Then I found the perfect companion to my vinyl collection.
Editor's note: this was written before the world went into lockdown. At least we can look back and remember fond memories of hosting parties in real life, right?
It took some web sleuthing until I found people praising the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X turntable and decided to give it a shot. It's a relatively cheap buy at $99 and it doesn’t come with its own speakers, though it does have a preamp built-in that lets you set it to phono or line-level, depending on your situation. If you want to go minimal, you can pair it with a set of powered speakers like these.
When you're interested in records, you begin to understand what makes a durable player. At its core, it’s a matter of technical architecture. To that end, Audio-Technica AT-LP60X comes with some pretty sweet features. For starters, it’s made of aluminum, which means lower vibrations leading to silky, smooth sound. If you're careful about your record grooves like I am (and you should be), you'll appreciate the player's feather-light fully automatic tonearm. This means the tonearm will queue and play the record itself, keeping your cartridges safe. The setup is easy and manageable, its aesthetic is simple and sleek, and it doesn’t break the bank.
Last summer during a gathering at my apartment, I got definitive proof that I made the right purchase by getting this turntable. I’m not an expert DJ and I don’t host so many parties that I need an advanced and intimidating sound system. But for someone who occasionally hosts large gatherings and likes curating playlists for her friends and family — ranging from lo fi, down-tempo, blue grass to folk music from my parents’ villages, classical instrumentals, and more — the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X perfectly carries these melodies through the patio, into the apartment, around the rooms making sure everyone has a good ol’ time. If you’re an entry level record enthusiast and want to dip your toes in the world of vinyl without burning a hole in your wallet, this is your turntable.