The Audio-Technica AT-LP5 isn’t one of the most popular turntables on the market (yet), but it’s more of a hidden gem. Why? Because it’s very new and not everyone has caught on yet.
Unless you’re looking for something very specific, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be consider this amazing piece of musical instrument that offers so much for its price.
So let’s cut right to the chase and find out what makes the AT-LP5 such a tempting option, and our choice for the best turntable under $500.
Technical Details And Specifications
- Comes with a one of a kind AT95Ex stereo cartridge.
- There are two speeds available for the manual operation: 33-1/3 and 45 RPM.
- The cartridge allows replacement of the stylus.
- You get to decide what it puts out in terms of music, thanks to the fully manual operation.
- The J-curved tonearm is inspired from the Audio-Technica designs from the 1960s and ‘70s, which makes it great at preventing tracking errors.
- Includes a lot of useful accessories, such as a 45 RPM adapter, stereo cable, USB cable, dust cover and more.
- Want to record the music to your PC or MAC? No problem, the AT-LP5 also comes with an Audacity recording software.
- Direct Drive Method.
What Does it Bring to the Table?
Well, the AT-LP5 actually has a lot to offer, especially for its price. Perhaps the first thing you will notice as soon as you unpack it is its impressive build quality. Although it’s not very heavy, it’s very well-built and has a premium look and feel to it.
The ease of use is something that will leave you amazed as well, especially for a turntable that has so much advanced stuff to offer. It’s as easy to set up as to simply plug into the amp and play. The user-friendliness is further enhanced by the availability of a USB output.
The rotation speed is another factor that wouldn’t fail to please you. It’s surprisingly consistent, especially for a turntable that’s priced well under $500. It also achieves its full speed almost immediately after starting to spin, which is pretty much how it works in high-end, professional turntables.
Simply said, it is a very nice improvement to the AT-LP1240.
Audio-Technica boasting of the uniqueness of the AT-LP5’s tonearm is no marketing talk, either. The classic A-T models of the 1960s and 70s were known for their precision, and that’s exactly what the popular turntable manufacturer has done with the AT-LP5.
It’s uniquely designed tonearm indeed manages to keep tracking errors at bay, and is very fluid and precise. This is probably something that almost puts it in the same league as some of the professional products out there that are priced well over $1,000.
For an affordably priced turntable that leaves nothing to be desired on any front, the sound quality certainly cannot be disappointing as well. However, the AT-LP5 actually offers a better sound quality than what you would expect at this price point.
The tone can be a bit bright at times, but apart from that, the overall sound is very accurate and the clarity is excellent. While stock needles and cartridges work very well with the pre-amp that comes in-built with the product, you would experience an amazing difference by just upgrading the cartridge to something like an Ortofon blue.
It will help reduce the brightness to almost nothing, while improving the bass considerably and the overall sound would feel much wider and full. You would actually be able to feel the sound filling the room.
Of course, getting an external pre-amp may enhance the overall sound quality even further, but most users certainly won’t feel the need to do so, as it would sound great even with the internal amp. Also, as a matter of fact, the sound quality of the AT-LP5 compares very well to the much more expensive turntables like the Rega or Project ones.
However, something that’s worth mentioning about the AT-LP5’s sound quality is that unlike some other turntables on the market, it doesn’t focus a lot on being bass heavy. The bass is certainly there and pretty noticeable, but an overall well-balanced sound is what you should precisely expect with the AT-LP5.
The sound is also very detailed, and even the rumbling lows are taken good care of, which can be a bit of concern in this price range. But if you want to dig deeper into what exactly the AT-LP5 offers in terms of sound quality, you will have to play a few tracks that are very different from one another.
You will likely be pleased with the dynamic versatility of the sound, which helps it does justice to the intensity of each note. You would also be able to feel the simplest of pattern movements, instead of getting a kind of relentlessness that doesn’t please your ear.
Setup Guide: What You Need To Play This Turntable
You will need a decent phono preamp, power amp, and speakers. It already comes with solid RCA output cables so you don’t have to worry about that part.
Wrapping It Up
Well, what’s not to love about the Audio-Technica AT-LP5? It’s incredibly easy to use and set up, but the sound dynamics and details are something that give even some of the more expensive turntables a run for their money.
Perhaps the only way to get something better than the AT-LP5 is to have a significantly higher budget.