Setting Up the AT-LP120-USB Turntable – Part 1

The AT-LP120-USB Turntable is a professional direct-drive turntable with both analog and USB connection capability, so you can use it with all standard audio equipment or plug it directly into your computer. But make no mistake, this isn’t just a tool to transfer records to MP3s – it’s loaded with all the tools you’d expect from a professional turntable, including adjustable tone arm and pitch control, ½-inch Dual Magnet™ cartridge, three speeds (33/45/78), DJ functionality and more.

But, as with most professional gear, proper setup is critical to getting the most out of the AT-LP120-USB and ensuring long-lasting operation of the stylus and enjoyment of your records. In this post we’ll cover headshell and counterweight installation, and tone arm balance. In Part 2 we’ll tell you have how to set the tracking force and pre-amp selector switch, and make anti-skate and tone arm height adjustments.

The first order of business is to put all the pieces in place. So set the platter and slip mat onto the turntable spindle, making sure the platter is fully seated. Next, lock the tone arm in place in the tone arm rest and attach the headshell assembly by inserting it into the end of the tone arm. While continuing to hold the headshell, rotate the locking ring on the tone arm counterclockwise to pull the headshell securely into place.

AT-LP120_USB

Now install the counterweight. With the black stylus force gauge facing forward, screw the counterweight onto the back of the tone arm. Then, if you intend to use the dust cover, slip its hinges into the slots on the back of the turntable and slide the cover into place on the hinges.

Once you have all that taken care of, you can move on to the important matter of balancing the tone arm. This will help ensure that the cartridge tracks properly and that the stylus won’t wear prematurely or damage your records. To get started set the anti-skate dial to 0.

Remove the protective cover from the stylus by sliding it straight forward off the front of the cartridge. Take hold of the headshell and then release the tone arm’s locking clamp. The tone arm will be unbalanced at this point, so take care not to damage the stylus by letting it come into contact with the slip mat (or anything else). While continuing to gently hold the headshell, rotate the counterweight until the tone arm is horizontally balanced – it should hover just above the platter. Once this is done, lock the tone arm back in place on its rest.

AT-LP-120-USB

Check out Part 2 of these instructions, or watch the entire video setup instructions on our YouTube channel.

Audio-Technica

66 Comments

  1. The AT-LP120 is out of stock everywhere. When are they expected to be stocked in stores/online again? I really want to purchase one.

    • Hi Adrian! Thanks for reaching out. The AT-LP120 is a high-demand product, so dealers have it in and out of stock. Through a quick search, it looks like they are currently in stock through Amazon, Walmart.com and FullCompass.com. Thanks for your comment! A-T USA

    • Having terrible time getting good sound from AT-LP120 even after videos. Audio-technica told me to sell it to a friend. Perhaps I damaged stylus. But I am ready for a savior or a buyer.

  2. Is there a cartridge/stylus available for 78 rpm records?

  3. Hello, please have in mind that you should provide the market with parts too!
    It’s important in the case of any type of replacement.. (Eg. I need the tone-arm lock part)
    thanx

  4. bought ATLP 120USB red and white cables to short to hook to receiver, what cables should I use to extend 3 feet?

  5. I got this as a gift and I am way out of my league with it. I watched a few tutorials, but I can’t get the stylus setup properly. I’ve gotten it to play, but when I use the aux cord to plug it into my sound system, it plays extremely quietly and I can’t get it any louder. Is there a common mistake people make during these steps that is easy to fix?

  6. I have used my rca cable for my surround sound. My surround sound (Bose) does not have a port for 3.5mm headphones. I want to use the USB port for my battery powered noise canceling headphones. What is the best way to do this?

  7. i have a rotel ra-1570 pre amp with klipsch rf-7 II speakers and this turn turntable.. if i use the phono input on the rotel and have turntable on phono, when i crank it up i get a terrible noise (no music just noise) if i use input line from turntable to phono on the rotel no sound till volume gets to 50(out of 100) and won’t get really loud…. if i use a different input( like the cd) everything seems good….. am i missing something?

  8. Hi! My audio-technica lp120 is making hollow deep sound when I change reccords. It’s connected to a Cambridge cxa60 amplifier. When left alone the sound is good. What to do? 🙂

  9. Where can i buy a tone arm part. The one on my AT broke.

    Thanks

  10. I have the atlp120 and I have a question regarding how to adjust the tonearm height. I’ve heard that you should adjust it for every record you play due to each record being cut differently. Is this true? Also how do I adjust the height properly? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  11. I am looking at a Ortofon 2M Blue or Red cartridge.

    1. Will it fit this turntable
    2. Do you have recommended adjustments?

  12. Love the turntable, but somehow it came unplugged from power source and I cannot find where the plug goes! Both the booklet and website simply say “plug in the power”….WHERE?

  13. Just bought, instructions state Windows 7, does is work with Windows 10?

  14. I bought this turntable in 2012 and have done several mods to get it up to par. My first upgrade was buying the AT440MLa cartridge. Then I removed the built-in preamp as it was muffling my music. Soldered in a shielded gold tipped RCA cable and connected to a preamp. Had to add a RINGMAT cork pad and a Herbie foam pad to get the tone arm to level, since the adjustment wouldn’t go below 0. After getting everything leveled, balanced, and tuned with a mirrored protractor, digital stylus scale, Hi-Fi tuning album, and a record disc weight I finally got the music up to a great music quality that I was listening for. They really should make this TT without the built-in preamp and just put RCA input connectors in the back. Also need to fix the tone arm leveler as the tone arm has the cartridge nose down – too low. I have the above mentioned pads with the anti-static pad in the middle to get it level. I bought this TT cause the reviews and it being a direct drive. My next purchase mod will be the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 Upgrade Heavy counterweight AT-CW1. I can’t afford to go out and buy a high end TT so I’ve had to mod this one to better specs.

  15. Hi. I recently purchased this turntable. I am having problems with the USB recording in Audacity. I notice that my rips are not full quality. They all have a hard cutoff at 21khz instead of 22khz. Is this a limitation of the USB codec or am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

  16. My AT-LP120 is set up but I only recieve faint music sounds when played at max volume

  17. I hope someone on here could answer my question…i had to adjust the level of my turntable from the bottom legs, didn’t move the turntable, just turned the legs on the bottom, do i have to rebalance the tone arm again?

  18. Hi there. I’m getting a loud buzz when I touch the tone arm, even when I take the head/cartridge. Any suggestions?

  19. Is there any way to adjust the azimuth on this turntable?

  20. My units strob, when put on 45 speed, shows relevant dots moving back – is this indication of direc drive running too slow? Can I adjust that to stay still?

  21. Hey, why don’t you let the Audio Solutions team answer these questions!

    • Hey Steve, the Audio Solutions Team is ready and willing to answer all these questions! However, the best place to reach them for a timely response is via email (audio-solutions@atus.com). Thanks. – A-T USA

  22. I have a lot of old records, but I am very low tech. The posts and the set up videos suggest to me that I will not be able to get this turntable to function properly for me. I am also not happy with the fact that the player is supposed to support 78s, but doesn’t include the proper needle, which adds to the expense.

  23. Note: I accidentally posted this as a reply to another comment, that shouldn’t be there.

    Hi there Audio-Technica. I’m trying to balance the tone arm on the LP-120usb, and while trying to get it to float, the tone arm pulls off to the right until it lands in the tone arm rest. It’s not an issue of the table being level, as I even tilted it to exaggerated degrees from every angle and it still pulls back into the rest. Is this a normal thing? Would that pull not make much difference once the ~2.0g of tracking force is added?

  24. Quick question. The kids bought this turntable for me for Christmas and was wondering if I need an amplifier and speakers to use it. Or can this connect directly into an existing sound bar and sub woofer that we have for the TV.

  25. Hi I want to buy this player and read someting o a dutch website that this is as good record player.
    But you can make it even better If you isolate the turntable with foam. Because everything is made out of plastic if you use a rubber foam it sounds much better. Does anybody have experience with this. If yes then i would like to know what you did 😉 and when possible with pictures

  26. Can you tell me the dimensions of the foot print? Center to center if possible.

  27. Hi,

    When setting up the directions to balance state to “it should hover just above the platter.”, however, the video does not have it hovering just above the platter.

    Is it only necessary to have it hover horizontally as shown in the video?

    Thanks!

  28. Hi! I bought today an AT-LP120. But I think it has a problem, on 45rpm the strobe dots are moving very very slowly to the right… On 33rpm the strobe dots are not moving at all. What can i do? Do I have to return it to the shop? Can hou help me a little?

  29. I received an audio-technica lp-120 as a gift. After assembling it an turning it on, I hear a low rhythmic rumble. When I take the turntable off, the rumble is more prominent, and it seems to be coming from the spindle area .
    what do I do?

  30. Is a Ortofon Red cartridge compatible with Audio-Technica LP120 turntable?

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