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.
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.