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 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."