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Audio Solutions Question of the Week: How Do I Set Up the AT-LP5 Turntable?

Question: How do I set up the AT-LP5 turntable?

Answer: Setting up the AT-LP5 Direct-Drive Turntable properly will ensure that this high-performance machine works to its full potential. Improper setup may degrade the performance of the turntable and has the potential of causing premature wear to the stylus or to your records.

AT-LP5 Setup Instructions:

  1. Carefully remove the turntable from the packaging and verify that all of the parts and accessories are present. You should have:

    • Turntable chassis
    • Dust cover with two hinges
    • Die-cast aluminum platter
    • Heavy-duty rubber platter mat
    • Counterweight assembly
    • AT-HS10 headshell with pre-installed AT95EX cartridge
    • 45 RPM adapter
    • Audio output cable with dual RCA connections
    • USB cable
    • Power cable
    • Audacity software CD
    • Quick Start & Overhang Adjustment Guide
    • User manual

  2. Place the platter on the turntable’s center spindle along with the rubber mat, making sure both are fully seated.
  3. With the tone arm locked into the resting position, attach the headshell into the socket at the end of the tone arm. Once in place, rotate the locking ring counterclockwise to lock the headshell into position.
  4. Install the counterweight on the rear of the tone arm, making certain the numbered stylus force gauge dial is facing the front of the turntable. As you rotate the counterweight clockwise (as seen from the rear of the turntable), the threads will engage and move forward onto the tone arm.
  5. Set the anti-skate adjustment knob (located at the base of the tone arm) to “0.” Then remove the stylus protective cover by sliding it straight forward, making certain to not dislodge the stylus from the cartridge. You may keep this protective cover for extra protection whenever you transport the turntable.
  6. While gently holding the headshell to stabilize the tone arm, unlock the tone arm clamp. Be careful, as the tonearm is unbalanced at this point and may move up or down, potentially damaging the stylus tip if it drops onto or drags across the platter or other surface.
  7. While continuing to hold the headshell, slowly rotate the counterweight until the tone arm is horizontally balanced. If the cartridge end of the tone arm is lifting up into the air, the tone arm is too light, and you will need to turn the counterweight clockwise (as seen from the rear of the turntable) to move the counterweight in towards the turntable. Likewise, if the cartridge end is going down towards the platter, the tone arm is too heavy, and you will need to turn the counterweight counterclockwise to move the counterweight out away from the turntable. Once balanced, the tone arm will float above the platter as if in zero gravity.
  8. Without further adjusting the counterweight, lock the tone arm back into the resting position.
  9. Turn the numbered stylus force gauge so that the “0” lines up with the centerline on the top of the tone arm. Be careful not to move the counterweight while doing this step; just turn the numbered stylus force gauge.
  10. Turn the entire counterweight (the numbered stylus force gauge will move along with it) to set the proper tracking force for the cartridge you are using.

    • If using the included AT95EX cartridge, turn the entire counterweight counterclockwise so that the “2” lines up with the centerline on the tone arm. This indicates that the tracking force is now set to 2 grams of downward force for proper cartridge tracking.
    • If using a different cartridge, make certain the proper tracking force is set according to the cartridge manufacturer’s specifications and that the cartridge is properly aligned. Use the included Overhang Adjustment Guide to properly align cartridges within the headshell.

  11. Set the anti-skate adjustment. It is common practice to match the anti-skate value to the cartridge tracking force value. If using the included AT95EX cartridge, then set the anti-skate knob to “2,” which is the same value as the tracking force.
  12. Install the clear plastic dust cover by placing the two hinges into the receptacles on the rear of the turntable. Then carefully guide the slots in the dust cover onto the hinges. Note that the cover only opens up to a 45 degree angle. You may remove the cover, if desired, instead of trying to force it open further, which may damage the product.
  13. Connect the power cord to the receptacle on the rear of the turntable and connect the other end to a working AC outlet.
  14. Connect the audio cables.

    • If using the analog RCA output to a stereo or powered speakers, connect one end of the included RCA cable to the matching RCA colored-coded terminals on the rear of the turntable.

      1. If connecting to an external RIAA preamp that requires a separate ground terminal, connect the spade lug on the included RCA cable to the grounding post located next to the RCA terminals on the turntable.

    • If using the digital USB connection to transfer your records to a Mac or PC, use the included USB cable to connect the USB output (Type B) on the rear of the turntable to the USB port (Type A) on the computer.
    • Set the preamp switch on the rear of the turntable to correspond with the device you are connecting to.

      1. If connecting to a specified PHONO input on a stereo receiver or an external RIAA preamp, then move the switch on the rear of the turntable to the PHONO position, which disengages the turntable’s internal preamp.
      2. If connecting to a LINE level input on a stereo (i.e., CD, Tape, Aux, etc.) or using the USB digital output, then move the switch on the rear of the turntable to the LINE position, which engages the turntable’s internal RIAA preamp.

  15. Once setup is complete, press the POWER button located on the rear of the turntable to begin playing your records.

This entire setup process may be viewed in the following video.

You are now ready to begin using your turntable to listen to your vinyl records. If you have further questions on setting up or operating your AT-LP5 turntable, feel free to contact the Audio Solutions Department for assistance.