Audio Solutions Question of the Week: Can I Play 78 RPM Records on the AT-LP120-USB Turntable?

Question: Can I play 78 RPM records on the AT-LP120-USB turntable?

Answer: Yes, Audio-Technica’s popular AT-LP120-USB and AT-LP1240-USB turntables will allow the platter to play at the 78 RPM speed. But the correct speed is only part of the solution – a proper 78 RPM stylus should also be used when playing 78 RPM records on your turntable. (Note: the 78 RPM styli discussed in this post are designed for vinyl 78 RPM records and not necessary for shellac 78 RPM records.)

AT-LP120-USB Turntable and AT95E Phono Cartridge As discussed in our previous posts on cartridges and styli, the stylus is chosen to match the cartridge. So when choosing a cartridge to use, you will want to determine if that cartridge has a compatible 78 RPM stylus. Some people use a different cartridge and headshell setup entirely when playing 78 RPM records. They select a preferred cartridge for their 33 and 45 RPM records and use a different cartridge with a 78 RPM stylus for their 78 RPM records. The AT95E cartridge that comes stock with the AT-LP120-USB turntable is a popular choice as there are a few third-party 78 RPM styli options available for it. (Note: Audio-Technica does not manufacture any 78 RPM styli.)

Feel free to contact the Audio Solutions Department for additional information on 78 RPM styli and assistance with finding one for the AT95E cartridge.

Audio-Technica

15 Comments

  1. Making it clear in the unit’s documentation that a customer needs to get a special stylus to play 78s might be helpful, instead of marketing the table in such a way that it appears that it can play them without any additional hardware.

    • Thank you for bringing this to our attention! We will forward your suggestions to our team so that it can be included in the next revamp of the documentation. – A-T USA

  2. Also note that 78 RPM records used different playback EQ curves than the normal RIAA EQ built in to most standard phono preamps.
    Actually there was no standard as to what the record EQ playback curve should be until the mid 1950’s.

    • You can use Audacity to record, and then in the “Effects” menu, choose “Equalization” – one of the preset curves is for RIAA (which you don’t need, as it’s already added by almost all phono preamps), BUT there’s an “Invert” button that will REMOVE RIAA equalization from these signals, at which point you can add whatever 78rpm EQ curves you think are appropriate to each record. The program has good click removal and levelling effects as well, and reasonable noise removal if used carefully. And it’s free, for Mac and Windows and Linux.

  3. I spent half an hour with the store owner discussing the 78 rpm issue. I refused to buy the unit until he could prove to me that it plays 78s. He couldn’t. Instead of clarifying it in the manual as Arthur suggests, why not include the 78 rpm stylus with the unit. Where the hell am I going to go to hunt for a 78 rpm stylus? And how would I know that it will work. Does a customer need to become a PhD in electronics before playing a friggin record?

  4. I recently purchase a stylus suitable for use with 78 rpm discs from http://www.needledoctor.com (phone: 612-378-0543). There was quite a delay between my placing the order and receipt of the device but I’m very satisfied with the needle’s performance.

  5. Audio Technica JAPAN makes a dedicated 78 cartridge, the AT MONO3/SP, a true mono cartridge with frequency response roll-off, the main issue with RIAA preamps. Check ebay or Amazon. Also a mono LP version for lps and 45s. They only are sensitive to lateral groove info, so much less groove noise. Read amazon reviews.

  6. What’s the best practice with regard to tracking force for 78s using the AT95E? 2 Grams as recommended for LPs?

  7. I completely agree with Joseph Hitti. I specifically chose the Audio Technica LP120 deck as it was advertised as a 78 rpm record player. This is not the case as it comes with a cartridge unsuitable for that purpose.

  8. You can use the AT95E cartridge for 78 playback on the Audio Technica LP 120. It sounds better than any other stylus or 78 cartridge I have tried. Sound is rich, full of body, and tracking is the best I’ve found, great harmonics (depending on the 78), weighty and detailed. Most of the above comments are crap – I’ve been into high end for over 50 years. Assoc. equipment Rotel RX 1050, Linn Kabers, transparent cabling – stunning sound on the AT 95E one of the best deals on the cart market does everything well EVEN 78’S!

  9. What about the VM670SP? Install this cartridge on another headshell. Problem solved.

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