Question: How do I set up the AT-LP3 turntable?
Answer: Audio-Technica’s new AT-LP3 Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable, is designed for high-fidelity performance as well as convenient automatic operation. Before using the AT-LP3 it is important to set it up properly in order to ensure optimal turntable performance and to prevent premature wear of the stylus and your records.
Belt and Tonearm Setup
- Carefully remove the turntable from the packaging and verify that all of the parts and accessories are present. You should have:
– Turntable chassis with attached dual RCA output cables
– Power cord
– Dust cover with attached hinges
– Die-cast aluminum platter with drive belt
– Heavy rubber platter mat
– Headshell with pre-installed AT91R Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge
– Counterweight assembly
– 45 RPM record adapter
- Carefully place the platter on the turntable’s center spindle, and make certain the platter is fully seated on the spindle.
- Rotate the platter by hand until the rectangular opening with the red ribbon exposes the brass motor pulley (at the 8:00 position). *Do not confuse the motor pulley with the white plastic post located near the tonearm.
- While holding the platter steady, carefully remove the tape securing the red ribbon to the platter. Then use the ribbon to guide the drive belt (attached to the flip side of the platter) over the brass motor pulley. Make certain the belt is properly seated on the motor pulley so it is riding in the pulley’s groove, and verify that the belt is not twisted.
- Once the belt is properly installed on the motor pulley, you may remove and discard the red ribbon.
- Place the rubber turntable mat on the platter. With the tonearm still fastened to its rest, press and release the stop button on the front of the turntable and rotate the platter 10 times clockwise by hand.
- With the tonearm locked into its resting position, attach the headshell into the socket at the end of the tonearm. Once in place, rotate the locking ring counterclockwise to lock the headshell into its seated position.
- Install the counterweight, making certain that the stylus force gauge dial is oriented towards the front. As you rotate the counterweight, it will thread onto the tonearm.
- Set the anti-skate adjustment knob (located at the base of the tonearm) to “0.” Carefully remove the stylus protective cover by sliding it straight forward off the front of the cartridge.
- While gently holding the headshell to stabilize the tonearm, carefully loosen the plastic tie securing the tonearm and discard the foam packing sheet. Be careful, as the tonearm is unbalanced and can move up or down, potentially damaging the stylus tip if it drags across the platter or other surface.
- Still holding the headshell to stabilize the tonearm, slowly rotate the counterweight until the tonearm is horizontally balanced. If the tonearm is lifting up into the air, the tonearm is too light and you will need to turn the weight counterclockwise. If the tonearm is going down, the tonearm is too heavy and you will need to turn the weight clockwise. This may take a few tries and patience, adjusting the weight in small increments. Once the tonearm is balanced, it should hover freely over the platter as if in zero gravity.
- Without touching the counterweight carefully place the tonearm in its rest and temporarily secure it with the plastic tie.
- Locate the stylus force gauge at the front of the counterweight, which is marked with numbers and lines indicating different tracking force values in grams. Please note that this plastic number dial can rotate independently of the metal weight. Turn the numbers so that the “0” lines up with the centerline on the top of the tonearm. Be careful not to move the counterweight during this step.
- Now, we can set the proper tracking force for your AT91R cartridge! Turn the entire counterweight counterclockwise until the “2” value lines up with the centerline mark on the tonearm, adding 2 grams of tracking force. If you are 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.
- You can now remove and discard the plastic tie securing the tonearm to its rest.
- Set the anti-skate adjustment, which is located at the base of the tonearm. It is common practice to match the anti-skate value to the cartridge tracking force value. If using the included AT91R cartridge, set the anti-skate knob to “2,” which is the same value as the tracking force.
- Install the clear plastic dust cover by placing the two hinges into the slots at the rear of the turntable. Note that the dust cover only opens up to a 45 degree angle, but you may also remove the dust cover if you prefer.
Connecting the Audio Cables
The AT-LP3 is designed with a traditional “Phono” output along with a built-in phono preamp that provides an RIAA equalized line-level output. This makes the turntable compatible with traditional “Phono” inputs on amplifiers and receivers, as well as Aux or line-level inputs on powered speakers, integrated amplifiers, and computer analog soundcards.
- Connect the turntable’s attached RCA cable to your desired powered speaker or stereo receiver/amplifier. For audio devices that have a separate ground terminal, connect the spade lug on the RCA cable to the ground lug on your audio component to help minimize hum.
- Set the preamp switch on the rear of the turntable to correspond with the device you are connecting to.
– If you are 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.
– If connecting to a LINE level input on a stereo (CD, AUX, TAPE, etc.) or powered speakers with an analog AUX input, then move the switch on the rear of the turntable to the LINE position, which engages the turntable’s internal RIAA preamp.
- This turntable can also be used with moving coil (MC) cartridges. If you decide to install a moving coil cartridge, set the “MM-MC” switch on the back of the turntable to the “MC” position. Again, please make certain the cartridge is properly aligned for optimal performance.
- Once you have completed the setup, connect the power cord to the receptacle on the rear of the turntable and connect the other end to a working AC outlet. Then, making certain the tonearm lift control level is in the “down” position, place a record on the turntable and press the start button!
This entire setup process may be viewed in the following video.
Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your records! If you have any further questions regarding the setup of your AT-LP3 turntable, feel free to contact our Audio Solutions Department for assistance.