A turntable that's impressive looking but doesn't hold up to its expectations.
Type of drive: Direct
Tonearm operation: Manual
Tonearm shape: S-shaped
In-built phono preamp: Yes
Reverse play support: Yes
USB interface: Yes
iPod dock: No
Recording types (33s, 45s, 78s): Yes, Yes, Yes
Dimensions in inches (length x height x width): 20.5″, 7.3″, 17.4″
Weight (pounds): 22.4 lbs
The Stanton T92USB is a fairly standard turntable with a direct drive that’s been made specifically for DJs. It’s not exactly cheap with a price of $250, and I had come to expect a certain level of quality that should come from any products (within the record player category of course) that are priced above $200. When you look at the original price tag that this device has (an astounding $450!), you’d immediately have very high expectations for it but sadly it just doesn’t fulfil mine at all.
What Makes It Sub-par?
This record player has most of the basic features such as a USB and PDIF output port for music transfer over to the PC, a steely tonearm that’s manually operated, a sturdy looking construction for both the platter and the base of the player and more. On the outset, it looks all good, right? Not really. It has a pre-mounted cartridge, something which Stanton is well known for (in a bad way). For us vinyl fanboys or at least those that know what they’re doing, we very much prefer our record players to come in the most fundamental form i.e without a cartridge already mounted on for us.
Don’t get me wrong now, it’s fine if the cartridge is decent or at least above average but the pre-mounted version of this particular T92USB model has a Stanton 500 v3 cartridge on it. On the company’s website, this cartridge is listed as being of “audiophile-quality” but it’s really just for the average Joe who doesn’t know any better. Audiophiles would do a lot better off with a Shure M97Xe for instance and even then, it doesn’t cost much at all (a mere $60 for this cartridge model). The improvement might not be that great but it was still an improvement regardless and this kept me thinking “Hmm.. if the fact that a cheap $60 cartridge performs better than the pre-mounted one that Stanton had installed on this product, how much exactly could the latter be worth?”. Come on Stanton, a $200 turntable shouldn’t be low-end at all. In fact, most reviews that you find on the Stanton T92USB will say the exact same thing i.e the first thing that the reviewer does is to scrap off the so called “DJ” cartridge that Stanton had included with the set and install a new one immediately because the quality of it is just that bad.
Besides that, there’s another lacking feature that the Stanton T92USB and for that matter, multiple other record players have omitted and that’s the dust cover. A simple plexiglass cover would do wonders in protecting your device and if the player you decide to purchase doesn’t include this, you should just spend an additional $15 or so to invest in one.
Appearances-wise though, Stanton does great. I like how most of their models, including the current one under review, looks a lot like a turntable that a professional DJ would have and use in popular clubs. The highly polished surface and steely looking components all make the Stanton T92USB look a lot more expensive that it actually is.
On the whole, I can’t help but feel that Stanton could’ve done a lot better if they had replaced the original cartridge with one that’s worth at least $50 or more. After some minor tweaking and adjustments including the replacement of both the needle and the cartridge, and of course after hooking it up to an external audio system, a few test records on the T92USB sounded surprisingly well and I’m actually impressed by the overall quality. So, if you’re looking to purchase this record player, make sure that you’re willing to spend some time to implement the necessary adjustments but you’ll likely need to spend an additional $100 or even $200 to truly make it shine.