In case you laughed so hard that you experienced a case of temporary amnesia, Technics’ re-introduced their SL-1200 turntables at a price-point of $4,000. The new-ish CDJ-3000 will run you $2,500 (though part of that is a surcharge subsidizing all the journalists they’re paying to write about them).
It’s hard to remember that this field started with (or was at least kickstarted by) stolen gear snatched during the New York City brown-outs in 1977. I think everyone in the audio gear industry would prefer that you forgot about that too.
Nearly all of these manufacturers are owned by “private equity” now, which assign prices to their portfolio companies’ products with ruthless algorithms designed to suck the last penny out of you before you reach your breaking point — and not one penny less. With that in mind, you might as well say screw it and just buy a home turntable based on how fucking cool it looks, because even the ultimate turntable/paperweight/conversation piece is still cheaper than the top brands’ flagship products.
That’s what Audio-Technica’s AT-LP2022 is. You will never find a more stylish turntable than the one you can barely see. Designed as a special edition product for Audio-Technica’s 60th anniversary, the AT is a block of solid clear acrylic surrounding a belt-driven turntable. Audio-Technica is also retailing a “clear-body Shibata stylus” which they claim can pick up “ultra-high frequencies, allowing you to discover sound you’ve never heard before.”
They have a lot of copy about audio quality and to be honest I think most of that is bullshit. But there’s no doubt that this looks incredibly cool and that’s probably all that anyone really cares about anymore. A $1200 price makes this museum-looking piece pretty competitive if you want something that looks pro and sounds at least semi-pro.