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When Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto turned “The Girl from Ipanema” into a classic LP, they probably never realized that the work they were doing would be the standard by which many turntables would later be judged and that’s why a turntable such as the Audio Technica AT-PL60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable is still a hit after all these years.

It is true the digital audio crowd has proclaimed the end of the LP and pressed recordings many times over, yet, if you are a real audiophile, the only way — only way — one can listen to good music is with a standard turntable. Fortunately, the audio industry does know that it takes all kinds of source material to keep audiophiles happy, so they provide as many ways as possible to get source material to the speaker cones. They may use simple binding posts or screw-on binding posts or the clip-style (push the button and insert the wire into a set of teeth). Even the good, old-fashioned RCA-style plug has its place in an audiophile’s speaker domain, which is why true purists can get the richness that LPs and 45s still bring to music.

It is true that digital audio is great and when you jam those iPod earbuds down tightly into your earlobes you hear many bright highs and lows, but there is still a lot to be said for putting on a classic pressing of an LP — Chicago’s “White Album” comes to mind — and listening through a good set of speakers (that’s one good thing about speakers, as long as the input source material can go from digital to analog or analog to digital, the speaker cones don’t care what is driving them, they just reproduce the sound).

There’s a certain richness that you only get from a good pressing of an LP that digital audio, for all of its ability to repeat sound exactly, just can’t match. We’ve tried listening both ways and still do prefer the output from a turntable like the Audio Technica because of the richness we’ve talked about.

Yet, even Audio Technica, which still uses belt drive, has been overtaken by the digital audio world in that it the AT-PL60 includes a switchable phone preamp and inputs so that you can hook your turntable directly to your home PC.

One of the features we like about the turntable is its dual magnet phone cartridge which not only helps audio input but, since it is a cartridge, is replaceable when the stylus wears out (digital audiophiles will point out that one doesn’t have to replace a CD or DVD unit after a given number of plays and that the digital units will deliver clean precise audio until they fail, but remember when they fail, you do have to replace the whole CD or DVD and not just the stylus).

The Audio Technica is a two-speed turntable 33 1/3 and 45 and the platter itself is aluminum-based so it will remain straight and balanced. It also has some fine Wow and Flutter specs. Wow and Flutter is less than 0.25 percent (WTD) at 3 kHz. The S/N ratio (signal-to-noise) is better than 50 dB (DIN-B).

On the output side, the phono preamp has is 2.5 mV at 1 kHz, at 50 cm per second. The line-in preamp has great specs of 150 mV at 1kHz, at 5 cm per second. Phono pre-amp gain is a nominal 36 dB.

A compact turntable, the Audio Technica weighs only 6.6 pounds and is 14 by 4 by 14 so it won’t take up much space in any home entertainment center. Accessories included with it include dual RCA-style female to standard 3.5 mm stereo male adapter; and a RCA-style female to female adapter cable, as well as the 45 mm center spindle for 45 rpm pressings.

As many Audiophiles know, there are a wide variety of factors effecting great sound quality. Choice of medium, such as EP or LP and choice of stereo speakers all come to mind.

However, of the myriad questions that cause a stir within the audio/visual community, few are as heated as that of audio cables. Audiophiles and even the casual layman still wonder which audio cables are capable of providing the best sound for their buck. Is it better to go with a super expensive set of cables or will a cheap pair bought off Craigslist suffice?

While there seems to be no concrete answer as to whether high-end or inexpensive cables are better, there are a few things to consider when purchasing cable for your new or old hi-fidelity sound system. The first key to becoming a savvy audio consumer is knowing the difference between high-end and low-end cables in order to make your own informed purchasing decision.

High-end cables are expensive because of the materials used to craft them. A high-end cable is usually made of high purity copper, gold or silver. They can also be oxygen-free and also use high-end connectors. Also, the gauge, or thickness of the wire can contribute to the price as well, as thicker wire cables tend to last longer.

Keep in mind though that even in a double-blind test many audiophiles found it difficult to distinguish between high-end and low-end cable. This does not necessarily mean that there are no differences, only that even to a highly trained ear it may be difficult to detect which cable is able to provide the best sound quality.

So no matter what type of audio interconnect cables you decide to use for your next sound system, make sure that you are informed about your choices for your particular audio needs.