Sound Advice Column Week 7, 2011 : Using an eReader to borrow books from your public library, Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Turntable update

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Sound Advice
By Don Lindich
Week 7, 2011

Q. I am looking for an eReader that will allow me to download eBooks from Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh or Ohio Public Library. With Kindle you must buy books through Amazon. With iPad you must buy books through iTunes. (At least that is my understanding. ) Is there an app or device that will let me “borrow” eBooks from the library? I am looking for current bestsellers.

-Donna Dado, Elizabeth, PA

A. Many library systems have electronic books available for borrowing, with a limited number of copies of each title available. For example, they may only have two electronic copies of a current bestseller in the system. This is done to avoid cannibalizing the book’s sales, which the publishers depend on to stay in business. If everyone could just log on to the library’s website and download the book whenever they want, who would ever buy them?

After you download the eBook from the library it stays on your eReader or computer for a limited amount of time (say, one or two weeks) then deletes itself. After it expires and deletes from your reader the eBook file is then available for the next person in the queue to download and read for the set timeframe.

You can learn more about Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s system at where you will find instructions and a list of compatible devices and software programs. Readers in other cities should check your local library system’s website to learn more about borrowing eBooks.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB turntable update: Last week I extolled the virtues of this excellent budget turntable. In the column I stated, “My only concern is the supplied cartridge tracks at 3 grams, which is more than the typical tracking force of 1.25-2.0 grams for most cartridges … this extra force will wear your records sooner.” I have done a bit of research and discovered the recommended tracking force is 3.0 grams to accommodate DJ scratching. Many audio fans are using a tracking force of 2.0 grams and reporting it works just fine. I tried it and it does work well, so if you do get an AT-LP120-USB follow the directions for setup but adjust the tracking force and anti-skate to 2.0 grams. Your records will last longer.

Second, I discussed upgrading the cartridge for better sound, mostly because of the relatively wide, bonded elliptical stylus found on the supplied ATP-2 cartridge. Audio-Technica has a better stylus available, the $65 ATP-N3, which is designed for hi-fi use. Mounting cartridges can be fussy and most readers would probably get better results by simply changing the stylus as no cartridge alignment is involved. Just pull off the old stylus and plug in the new one, and your upgrade is finished.

Finally, if you want your AT-LP120-USB delivered to you already improved then the vinyl lovers at LP Gear have a great deal for you. They take an AT-LP120-USB, upgrade the platter mat and install an Audio-Technica AT95SE hi-fi cartridge. The upgraded unit sells for $289.99. If you want the most from your AT-LP120-USB right out of the box and do not mind the extra $90 this is the way to go. The modifications are good ones and most importantly, experts will be installing them and adjusting it for you. See it at or

Questions? Email Don

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