Audio Technica LP120 vs Rega Planar 3

Audio-Technica LP120 vs. Rega Planar 3: A Clash of Turntable Titans

When it comes to vinyl record players, the Audio-Technica LP120 and the Rega Planar 3 are two well-known names that have garnered a loyal following among audiophiles and vinyl enthusiasts alike. Both turntables offer excellent performance, but they have distinct features and characteristics that set them apart. In this article, we will dive into a detailed comparison between the Audio-Technica LP120 and the Rega Planar 3, exploring their design, sound quality, features, and overall performance to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Build Quality

The Audio-Technica LP120 boasts a sleek, professional design with a sturdy construction that incorporates a solid aluminum platter, a balanced tonearm, and a robust base. It has a classic turntable look, reminiscent of professional DJ equipment. On the other hand, the Rega Planar 3 takes a more minimalist and elegant approach, featuring a lightweight plinth made of high-quality materials, a precision-engineered tonearm, and a meticulously engineered motor assembly. The Rega Planar 3’s design is centered around reducing vibrations and resonances to deliver exceptional audio fidelity.

Sound Quality

Both the LP120 and the Planar 3 excel in delivering high-quality sound, but they have different characteristics. The LP120 offers a detailed and dynamic sound with excellent clarity across the frequency spectrum. Its built-in preamp allows for convenient connectivity to audio systems without requiring an external phono stage. The Rega Planar 3, known for its musicality and precision, delivers a more refined and natural sound with a focus on accuracy and timing. It provides a captivating listening experience that showcases the true essence of vinyl playback.

Features and Functionality

The Audio-Technica LP120 is a feature-packed turntable with several convenient options. It includes a built-in phono preamp, a USB output for digital recording, and a pitch control for DJ-style mixing. It also offers a selectable playback speed (33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM) to accommodate different vinyl formats. On the other hand, the Rega Planar 3 takes a purist approach and focuses on essential features. It offers manual speed selection (33 1/3 and 45 RPM) and does not include a built-in phono preamp or USB output. The Planar 3’s simplicity allows for a more straightforward signal path, which can positively impact the overall sound quality.


In terms of performance, both turntables shine in their respective ways. The LP120 delivers a robust and versatile performance suitable for various listening preferences. It offers reliable speed stability, thanks to its direct-drive motor, and the tonearm’s adjustable tracking force and anti-skate mechanism ensure accurate playback. On the other hand, the Planar 3’s performance is characterized by its attention to detail and precision. The belt-driven motor system, combined with the high-quality tonearm and cartridge, results in an immersive and engaging musical experience.

Price and Value

The Audio-Technica LP120 is generally considered a more budget-friendly option compared to the Rega Planar 3, making it an attractive choice for beginners or those looking for a more affordable turntable. It provides a solid performance and an array of features at a competitive price point. Conversely, the Rega Planar 3 offers a higher level of craftsmanship, build quality, and sonic refinement, which justifies its higher price tag. It appeals to discerning audiophiles who value precise sound reproduction and are willing to invest in a top-tier turntable.


Choosing between the Audio-Technica LP120 and the Rega Planar 3 can be a tough decision, as both turntables have their strengths and cater to different preferences. The LP120 is a versatile and feature-rich turntable that offers solid performance at an affordable price, making it an excellent choice for those starting their vinyl journey or seeking a reliable option for casual listening or DJing. Its built-in preamp and USB connectivity add convenience and flexibility.

On the other hand, the Rega Planar 3 represents a step-up in terms of build quality, precision, and sonic refinement. It is a turntable designed for true audiophiles who prioritize musicality and seek a more engaging and immersive listening experience. The Planar 3’s minimalist design, meticulous engineering, and focus on reducing vibrations contribute to its exceptional sound quality and accuracy.

Ultimately, the choice between the Audio-Technica LP120 and the Rega Planar 3 depends on your priorities, budget, and level of audio discernment. If you are on a tighter budget or looking for a turntable with additional features, the LP120 is a solid option that offers great value for the price. It provides a versatile and enjoyable listening experience suitable for a wide range of users.

However, if you are willing to invest in a higher-end turntable and prioritize sound quality and craftsmanship, the Rega Planar 3 will be a rewarding choice. Its meticulous engineering, refined components, and attention to detail create a listening experience that captures the essence and magic of vinyl playback.

Ultimately, it is advisable to listen to both turntables if possible and consider factors such as your personal taste, budget, and the overall system synergy with your audio setup. By doing so, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and allows you to enjoy the timeless pleasure of vinyl records to the fullest.

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