Audio-Technica AT-LP7 review: A very nice turntable for under $1,000

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The Audio-Technica AT-LP7 turntable is a stealth work of art. From its modern, sleek design to its graceful and delicate operation, it's a complete package in a deceptively simple form factor. It's a perfect option for people looking to take their vinyl listening to the next level.

Audio-Technica AT-LP7
Audio-Technica AT-LP7


For those just getting into vinyl, it can be daunting to find a first turntable -- it can be challenging to figure out just how much you should be willing to spend.

Over the years, we've had several different turntables, but none as expensive as the AT-LP7. For people without any current vinyl setup, the AT-LP7 might be a stretch for a first turntable -- though not entirely out of the question.

The AT-LP7 retails for $849, so it's meant to be a finely crafted product that can meet people's needs now and grow with them in the future.

In our case, we liked the AT-LP7 as a second run at upgrading our system. After nearly a decade of lower-cost options, this one demonstrated the value of investing in a turntable that was incredible out of the box but allows for even better components in the future.

The features of the Audio-Techinca AT-LP7

The AT-LP7 turntable is fully manual, meaning it won't stop when it reaches the record's end or return the tonearm.

Adjusting speeds is done with a twist of a dial -- which was incredibly smooth and satisfying to turn.

Speed knob
Speed knob


In fact, that was a big takeaway for us -- just how delicate and finely tuned all the components on the AT-LP7 were. The metallic gimbal suspension system allowed for precise tracking.

Other features include a J-shaped tone arm with AT-HS10 headshell, a bypassable phono pre-amplifier with selectable modes for moving magnet or moving coil cartridges, and a 20 mm-thick, anti-resonance, polyoxymethylene platter.

The dust cover is detachable, which is not necessarily a positive if you don't have a place to set it. However, we didn't mind having to remove and replace it, and we liked the completely black look of the AT-LP7 when the cover was removed.

The sound of the Audio-Techinca LP7

We played a range of albums on the LP7 turntable, including Billy Joel's "The Stranger," The National's "Trouble Will Find Me," and Ben Webster Quintent's "Soulville" to get a mix of genres.

AT-LP7 playing a vinyl record
AT-LP7 playing a vinyl record


In each case, the songs were detailed and sounded full. We tried several different speaker configurations, including a stereo pair of the new Sonos Era 100, Edifier R1280DB, and the Marshall Stanmore III. The turntable worked great with each of these -- completely silent and issue-free.

We didn't have any concerns with the built-in phono preamp, coming from lower-end turntables, and we liked that it could be bypassed in the future.

We did have to fiddle with the weight on the tonearm a few times to get it just right, but that was more about us getting familiar with it rather than a fault or negative. We didn't need to use the anti-skiing dial, but it was available if we needed it.

The AT-LP7 and its VM520EB dual moving magnet stereo cartridge provided crisp and clear music reproduction, better than we had heard on sub-$600 turntables from U-Turn and Victrola.

While we're not quite ready to experiment with new cartridges yet, we liked the ability to do so across a range of different options when the time comes.

Is Audio-Technica LP7 worth upgrading to?

With an $850 retail price, the Audio-Technica AT-LP7 turntable is a significant investment. Beginners could jump straight to it, but we recommend building up to it first.

Gimbal suspension system
Gimbal suspension system


If you have speakers you like and an existing turntable you're looking to replace, we liked what the AT-LP7 offered. We think it could be the last one you need to buy with the ability to upgrade the cartridge or bypass its onboard phono preamp.

Rather than being automatic, the manual aspect of it could be a little disappointing, but beyond that and the dust cover that may need a storage spot, this turntable was primarily all upside for us.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality out of the box

  • MM/MC cartridge selector

  • Replacable stylus and upgradable cartridge

Cons

  • Fully manual turntable

  • Non-connected dust cover

Rating: 4 out of 5

The AT-LP7 is available for purchase at Audio-Techinca and Amazon for $849.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,119member
    Looks like a decent table.  Nice that the preamp can be bypassed.
    Good to see something a step up that isn't $3K or more.
    I've been using my trusty SL1200 Mk2, for years, and just set up my stored SP10 / SME rig.  Damn, that thing is heavy, and picky.
    Sounds really good though.
    edited March 2023
  • Reply 2 of 8
    I used something like https://savenewera.blogspot.com/2019/09/best-quality-tonearm-lifter-arm-lift-lp.html for years. I also built a little circuit that turned the turntable and amp power off after there was silent for 5 minutes. Old style snooze for real vinyl. 😁
  • Reply 3 of 8
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 251member
    Still have my Sanyo stereo with turntable and dual cassette player from the 80's. Works great, and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $1000!
    williamh
  • Reply 4 of 8
    longfanglongfang Posts: 483member
    zeus423 said:
    Still have my Sanyo stereo with turntable and dual cassette player from the 80's. Works great, and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $1000!
    Compound inflation perhaps?
    baconstang
  • Reply 5 of 8
    zeus423 said:
    Still have my Sanyo stereo with turntable and dual cassette player from the 80's. Works great, and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $1000!
    and how much was a home 'from the 80's'

    and how much was a car 'from the 80's'


    pretty sure 'iT wAsN't aNywHeRe nEaR'  today's prices.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    zeus423 said:
    Still have my Sanyo stereo with turntable and dual cassette player from the 80's. Works great, and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $1000!
    and how much was a home 'from the 80's'

    and how much was a car 'from the 80's'


    pretty sure 'iT wAsN't aNywHeRe nEaR'  today's prices.
    Checking some old documents, relatives bought:
    A two story house in the early 1960's for less than $15k (concrete basement, and third floor walkup stairway to full attic).  
    A nice (new) 1970 Oldsmobile with AC, automatic, V8 in the 1970's for around $2k or $3k.  
    A model T was $260 in 1924 (about $850 in 1909, before manufacturing ramp-ups cut costs).  
    Minimum wage in 1971 was under $2/hour at the start of the year.  
    Years ago, Mom told me she made 70 cents an hour (plus commission) in retail in the early 1950s.  
    Federal minimum wage by year late 1930s to pre-2010s:  
    https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/history/chart  


    I bought a nice German-made automatic turntable (non-connected dust cover) for around $250 in either 1971 or 1972.  
    I bought a 1984 Ford Escort (automatic, no radio) for about $3k or $4k (new), if my memory is correct.  
    Seems like cars and houses have climbed in price faster than turntables.  
    Believe you could buy a small starter house in the 1930s to 1940s for less than $5k (some prefab kits from Sears were less)...  
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/some-vintage-kit-homes-now-sell-for-over-1-million-1506001728

    edited March 2023 zeus423
  • Reply 7 of 8
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 1,036member
    zeus423 said:
    Still have my Sanyo stereo with turntable and dual cassette player from the 80's. Works great, and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $1000!
    and how much was a home 'from the 80's'

    and how much was a car 'from the 80's'


    pretty sure 'iT wAsN't aNywHeRe nEaR'  today's prices.
    The Sanyo came with the dual cassettes, a tuner, and speakers and in today's dollars it would probably be around $1000.  https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ ; But perhaps more to the point, you could buy that Sanyo stereo RIGHT NOW at a thrift shop for under $100.

    What's interesting is the "modern" design for what is essentially Edison's invention from 1877.
    zeus423
  • Reply 8 of 8
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 907member
    williamh said:
    zeus423 said:
    Still have my Sanyo stereo with turntable and dual cassette player from the 80's. Works great, and I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near $1000!
    and how much was a home 'from the 80's'

    and how much was a car 'from the 80's'


    pretty sure 'iT wAsN't aNywHeRe nEaR'  today's prices.
    The Sanyo came with the dual cassettes, a tuner, and speakers and in today's dollars it would probably be around $1000.  https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ ; But perhaps more to the point, you could buy that Sanyo stereo RIGHT NOW at a thrift shop for under $100.

    What's interesting is the "modern" design for what is essentially Edison's invention from 1877.
    I have no doubt the Sanyo was very cheap but the comparison is meaningless here. Sanyo was a mass market, high sales volume brand sold at department stores and big box "electronics" stores. High quality audio is not what Sanyo was about. This AT turntable, on the other hand, is entry level for true high end audio equipment and it shows, even in the photos. Sanyo didn't aspire to make anything like this. 
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