We're aware that there's been a hipster element to the vinyl revival. And we know that some manufacturers have cashed in on the craze by producing some of the best budget turntables with retro stylings that might look fine in a east London coffee parlour but don't cut the mustard when allied with an amp and speaker set-up that expose any possible shortcomings.
One real exception? The AT-LP3. "Audio Technica has fashioned a turntable with all the ease of use and affordability of such suitcase record players, but one that also follows the rules of hi-fi," say What Hi-Fi, and those folk know what they're on about.
So much so, that we're going to stop our own wittering and see what they have to say.
What Hi-Fi are really impressed with the AT-LP3, quick to single out for the turntable's expressive and musical sound – especially at this price – plus the built-in phono stage (so you don't need to buy one, should your amp not include such a thing) and the fully automatic tonearm (so you get back to the sofa before the needle drops).
And they really like the fact that the AT-LP3 is like a starter pack: good enough to not have any real concerns, and upgradeable enough to turn it into a serious bit of kit.
"In terms of facilitating the entry-level listener, there’s little else we could imagine being asked of the AT-LP3," say What Hi-Fi.
"As well as being fully automatic, meaning you need only jab a few buttons for your record to play and the needle lift itself at the end, it has a built-in phono stage, use of which is optional, a fool-proof set-up and an easily-removable cartridge that can be swapped out for another moving-magnet or moving-coil alternative.
"The inclusion of those add-ons means you’re really getting around £100 worth of turntable, but nothing about its build or general feel suggests it’s a budget deck."