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Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 11 Jan 2017 18:10
by REW
My study deck is a Dual CS626 which is a wonderful automatic direct drive device that I like very much but - it has died :(

I may be able to fix it in time thanks to help from the Dual aficionados on here. However I have had no luck with old replacements I have auditioned recently and all my other golden oldies are with various sons across the UK, so I decided to buy a brand new one! From the title you can see what I have ended up with and here is the full SP...

The AT-LP5 is a Chinese built direct drive manual deck with inbuilt phono amp (can be switched out), DAC and a special edition Audio Technica AT95E called variously AT95X or 95EX. It has a red stylus block and the bonded diamond is .3 by .7 rather than .4 by .7 of the standard 95E and other changes are rumours as far as I currently know. The arm is a gimbal device with very accurate tracking force adjustment by rotating the counterweight (checked with digital scales), magnetic anti skate that works proportionately though at the zero setting still acts slightly - easy to compensate for if required. The dust cover stays up if required, the platter spins flat, the feet are rubberised and the whole thing is very nicely made and comes perfectly packed.

I unpacked and set up as per any such deck plus the instructions re balance and alignment which was spot on as supplied. I set to 2 gm antiskate, plugged in to my amp (Nait 5i) and used the supplied leads and phono amp to listen to some Hendrix (Band of Gypsies) and Springsteen (Born in the USA).

Well, well, what a surprise. I quickly settled back to do as above - "listen to some..." and quickly forgot to play the auidiophool game and listen to the gear. The key impression if I am to analyse the sound is pacey with an excellent rhythmic sense that gets you tapping your foot or rocking your head or whatever you do at such times. The speed is rock solid and despite a lid/base construction that is certainly microphonic if tapped, free from resonance in my small study room with wall mounted Usher 520s at any volume I can stand these days.

Perhaps the real revelation is the AT95X cartridge. It is a lively little beast that tracks well and after a little initial brightness has settled down to sound very involving and far livelier than the Shure M97eX I had used previously. It is also kinder to surface noise paradoxically. Mid range has fleshed out a little and the whole sound now reminds me of a Linn Axis and K9 I once had playing through a Nait 1 and Linn Kans in the same room - only less skeletal but just as revealed.

Upgrades? Plenty possible but the only one I have felt like trying has been my Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 SE simply because it sits handily by. It adds some more depth, tonal colour and flesh to the bones which makes it easier to hear rasping strings or kick drum decay but is by no means night and day - I could easily live with the inbuilt phono. I will not bother with an Ortofon or other cartridge for quite a while.

I have read disparaging remarks from other forum members about this deck. Don't bother if you haven't got an AT-LP5, your opinion is baseless. I tried several other price comparable decks including a new Rega P2 with Carbon cartridge (an AT 91 derivative) and Rega P3 with Rega Elise 2. These were my preferred choices until I auditioned them (with my system) but the P2 didn't involve me and sounded small scale while the P3 sounded excellent - very much like the AT LP5 in fact. BUT the Rega cartridge picked up motor induced hum which is unacceptable in a new design at £625. Unacceptable at any price actually. So, save a few quid and try the LP5 I thought and am pleased I did.

For those forum members who want to try a basic deck ready to go out of the box or move on from a Crosley disk plough look no further. One year's warranty or 6 if you pay a bit more. Enjoy the music.

37128

37130

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 11 Jan 2017 19:32
by Poinzy
I see the powers that be finally decided an integrated strobe didn't serve any purpose. Good. The simpler the turntable is, the better. The AT deck's also $250 less than the Pioneer PLX-1000. Audio Technica don't overcharge for their stuff.

Too bad about the USB capability, though. USB can cause ground loops, under the right circumstances. Still, if one of my archiving decks craps out on me, I'll definitely keep the AT-LP5 in mind. Thanks.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 11 Jan 2017 19:44
by rich12
Nice review. Haven't heard the AT-LP5 but it's likely similar to the AT-LP1240, which I've used and am a fan of. People really shouldn't put down these Hanpin based turntables. The AT-LP1240 is an excellent bargain. I made many high resolution recordings with it, and when I listen to them, I don't feel much is missing even when compared to recordings made with much more expensive equipment.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 11 Jan 2017 20:18
by Vinylfreak86
Great looking turntable. J-tonearm reminds on the begining of the 70`s, but I would rather like to see it in silver than in black. Turntable is based on one of the Hanpin`s DJ models, but thoroughly rebuilt.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 10:41
by Hofnar
It´s a good record player. The kind that you stop thinking about once the music starts playing. Those are the best.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 12:19
by Gaslight
Poinzy wrote:I see the powers that be finally decided an integrated strobe didn't serve any purpose. Good. The simpler the turntable is, the better. The AT deck's also $250 less than the Pioneer PLX-1000. Audio Technica don't overcharge for their stuff.


Sorry, I disagree. In fact, I think the LP5 is overcharged, here in Europe it's around 450,- euros and the LP120 is 270-280 euros.

But, they took out some features, it apparently has no quartzlock. So, specificationwise it's a lesser turntable for 60% more money. Now, I know that there are several people that claim that the LP5 sounds better. Which is probable due to the tonearm and the EX-cartridge.

So, of course, sound is the most important thing, but knowing that they can sell the LP120 for so much less, I cannot help but think that the LP5 is overpriced.

Btw, the PLX-1000 is in another league...

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 12:28
by Vinylfreak86
Gaslight wrote:Sorry, I disagree. In fact, I think the LP5 is overcharged, here in Europe it's around 450,- euros and the LP120 is 270-280 euros.



That is real, price is a little too high. But people are preparing to pay for it, so it will stay like it is. Pioneer PLX-1000 is my dream, but not affordable at this moment. When I was buying a new turntable, PLX-500 was released, but couldn`t buy it by websellers at that moment. So I picked up Reloop quartz-locked direct-drive DJ table and I am very satisfied with it. Cannot find any flaws.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 13:14
by Gaslight
Depending which reloop you got, it's probably better than the PLX500 which seems mediocre. The PLX1000 may be pricey, but IMO it's the nicest hanpin-TT available. The PLX500 seems somewhat lacking in it's specs. I'd rather get a reloop 7000 or a used 6000.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 16:40
by Poinzy
Gaslight wrote:
Poinzy wrote:I see the powers that be finally decided an integrated strobe didn't serve any purpose. Good. The simpler the turntable is, the better. The AT deck's also $250 less than the Pioneer PLX-1000. Audio Technica don't overcharge for their stuff.


Sorry, I disagree. In fact, I think the LP5 is overcharged, here in Europe it's around 450,- euros and the LP120 is 270-280 euros.

But, they took out some features, it apparently has no quartzlock. So, specificationwise it's a lesser turntable for 60% more money. Now, I know that there are several people that claim that the LP5 sounds better. Which is probable due to the tonearm and the EX-cartridge.

So, of course, sound is the most important thing, but knowing that they can sell the LP120 for so much less, I cannot help but think that the LP5 is overpriced.

Btw, the PLX-1000 is in another league...


I've used the LP120. It's a piece of junk. I bought and returned 2 examples and swore off the turntable forever. Compared to, say, the laughably overrated Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, which is in the LP5's price bracket, the AT-LP5 is a very reasonably priced offering. It looks like a variation of the deck I own, the AT-LP1240-USB, which is world's away in quality from the LP120 *and* the Debut Carbon.

The PLX-1000 is just another Hanpin turntable, but with a rubber-lined tonearm. It even has a drifting strobe like other Hanpin turntables, including the one I own. Some examples even have platter wobble. Another league, my foot. It's a typical example of Hanpin craftmanship. The PLX-1000 is overpriced by $300.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 19:47
by Gaslight
First: sorry for no caps, I'm on my ipad...

Ok, this seems pointless, our views are very different. To me the Lp120 and the lp5 are quite similiar, given that they are essentially the same hanpin design. Then you say the 1240 is a world away from the lp120, but the plx (which is based on the super oem design like the 1240) is just another hanpin table.

I think Stereophiles statement that the plx1000 is the best audiophile sub 2000 dollar deck is a bit too far, but there are several users in the bigger tt-forums which prefer the plx1000 to the 1240 and the one I own is pretty nice so far.

Ultimately everyone will have their own opinion, just wanted to post my point of view :-)

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 20:07
by Vinylfreak86
The PLX-1000 is a little overpriced, maybe for around 100 eur, because it is Pioneer. Also new Technics turntables are overpriced because of the brand. But in that case for some 100 eur. Difference is also that Technics is not super OEM, but is made at home, which costs much more. Pioneer is more DJ oriented and cannot afford to go into audiophile rank. So they get super OEM model and modified it much near to the specs of the old 1200. I think that they did a great job. Turntable is much cheaper than MK5/MK6 versions of 1200 were.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 20:11
by raphaelmabo
The LP5 is not the same as the LP120 or the 1240, the LP5 is the better one. It has an upgraded tonearm and a more stable platform that is better damped and with lower vibrations (the removal of all the DJ-features is a great help here, leading to a simpler and more efficient lower resonance design) plus a better damped and less resonances motor drive. Plus a better built-in RIAA-stage. So it is a worthwile upgrade, both the 1240 and 120 is a bit grey sounding in direct comparision with a thinner 3D soundstage.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 20:14
by raphaelmabo
The new 1200 by Technics is not the same as the older design. It may have similar looks, but the quality and materials in use are different, also there's changes to the plinth "under the lid" and it has a new motor construction. Plus that Technics needed to make new production machines since they ditched the old ones believing they would never make a new 1200 again. This of course means they have put a large investment in this that they want back, that's the reason for the high production cost of the 1200. It's not a chinese Hanpin copy of the old 1200, it's a new 1200 - a re-visited and upgraded design.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 20:24
by rich12
raphaelmabo wrote:The LP5 is not the same as the LP120 or the 1240, the LP5 is the better one. It has an upgraded tonearm and a more stable platform that is better damped and with lower vibrations (the removal of all the DJ-features is a great help here, leading to a simpler and more efficient lower resonance design) plus a better damped and less resonances motor drive. Plus a better built-in RIAA-stage. So it is a worthwile upgrade, both the 1240 and 120 is a bit grey sounding in direct comparision with a thinner 3D soundstage.


Sounds like marketing copy to me. IMO, the 1240 isn't grey sounding in the least, and resonance isn't a problem.

Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

PostPosted: 12 Jan 2017 22:55
by FileFixer
AT-LP5 and AT-LP120 have same preamplifier. Only different is design in circuit board. It use same components.
Motor drive is same as LP-120 and underframe encosure is made from same thin plastic. It have same specifications.
Only difference is in tonearm and phono cartridge and LP5 does not have additional electronics for speed control.