Today, we are going to take the Mixars LTA turntable for a spin. Mixars had an impressive lineup at NAMM 2016 and the LTA as well as the DUO mixer have been welcomed with a lot of interest.
Nothing beats that feel of a real piece of vinyl spinning on a turntable when your DJing. The actual physical contact with vinyl makes people get all warm and fuzzy not to mention very protective of a culture that spans decades while using the same turntable – Technics SL 1200. Ten years or so ago manufacturers started to introduced a so called SUPER – OEM turntable aka “The 1200 KIller” featuring higher motor torque and selectable pitch ranges. In 2010 Technics left the DJ Turntable business and left the DJ community in a void with a choice of purchasing a new Super-Oem or a used Technics SL 1200. The LTA from Mixars is one of those Super-OEM options on the market for you to choose from.
The word OEM “OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company’s product under their own name and branding”
Turntable designs haven’t changed since their inception to say it looks like a Technics SL 1200 is to say the SL 1200 looks like a turntable. The only thing that changes are the features such as Pitch control, Start/Stop, etc..
The main internal components of the Mixars LTA turntable come from the Hatpin DJ-5500 with Mixars designing the aesthetics and feature set. It is a great looking turntable with a black matte rubber top deck featuring a dampened Start/Stop button, Reverse switch, Quartz lock and the option to choose a pitch range ( 8%, 16%, 50% ). Although the Top Deck has an awesome feel to it, it does attract dust as seen in my photos and does not come with a dust cover.
The LTA also sports a straight tone arm similar to the Stanton STR-150, However Mixars does have a model call the STA which has the standard curved designed arm available as well. My personal taste leans towards the curved arm as my DJing style doesn’t warrant me to be a Turntablist. Too each his/her own! The gimbal for the tone arm is very solid with the ability to adjust the height up to 6mm. There is also the anti-skate adjustment and tone arm lever as standard.
I was highly impressed with the incredibly smooth pitch fader (it is dented for 0) and the fact that you can control the start up and slow down time using small knobs that are easily accessible on the top deck is a plus. I clocked both the start up and slow times. Times taken Quartz locked at 16%
Start up = 0 – 6 sec. until full speed
Slow down = 0 – 6 sec. until stop
Powering Off = 12 sec until stop
Some people have said that they have powered down and no sound was being output? During my review I did not find this to be the case, During my testing I was using vinyl from Serato and Serato 1.9.3 and found the sound carried through the Power Off process. My explanation would be that using the PHONO (Not Line) on both Turntable and Mixer enables the magnetic cartridge to push the sound through without power, and in my case it was simply a DVS frequency.
Which leads us to one of the most unique features found on a turntable today. The LTA has 2 sets of RCA hookups on the rear of the turntable – One is a PH/Line output and the other is just a Line output. They output the same source from the stylus but allow more than one mixer to be hooked up to it. Thus enabling a B2B set to easily share a turntable in their setup.
The one thing DJ’s seem to be most concerned about is the startup torque. The Super-OEM turntables have been synonymous with high torque. The LTA comes with 4.5kg of torque supplied by the OEM Hanpin 16 pole, 3 phase brushless motor. The OEM motor has been around for nearly a decade with a good track record of reliability, but that also comes with a decade of criticism from Technics purists. Technics have always had 1.6kg of torque making the OEM’s seem like overkill. I found the LTA to be great on Startup Torque and remained locked-on at whatever pitch I needed without any pitch drifting.
I did find the usual pitch fluctuations in Serato +-.2 BPM but visually rock solid on the Led Strobe? Tested on a Technics 1200 and had the same effect – Wow and Flutter? The platter is insulated with rubber and has decent weight to it, it is and OEM turntable so things like this are expected. Overall it is a great turntable, for either purpose of turntablism or just listening to some tunes.
The biggest gripe I have with these Super-OEM turntables is that they are all re-branded and very similar in features with prices ranging from $299 for the Epsilon DJT-1300 to the $699 Pioneer PLX-1000 and everything in between ( ST-150, AT-LP1240, RP-7000). These turntables should be in the $400 range, not the $600-$700 range, a quick search on Ebay,Craigslist or Kijiji for a pair of used Technics SL 1200Mk2’s can easily be found for $800-$1000 in great condition. With Mixars being new to the DJ game I hope they see the opportunity to build a fan base by offering this kind of quality at an aggressive price point, and make a statement that Mixars has arrived. Time will tell. Stay tuned for a review of the Mixars Duo Mixer.