Looking for a sub-budget turntable offering automatic play? Paul Rigby might have the very thing for you as you reviews the Audio-Technica AT-LP3
There is a steady stream of very (very) low cost turntables hitting the market. Many of them are sold via colour supplements and the window displays of High Street music shops such as (and God forgive them for their sins) HMV. They include a host of brand names such as Crosley, Ion, GPO plus other, equally dodgy, monickers that ‘do a Bose’. That is, they invest a far higher percentage of the product budget on marketing and aesthetics than actual sonic qualities of their products. All of these products threaten to damage your vinyl, principally because of poor build quality. Unlike many journalists out there, I’ve actually reviewed one or two of them, so I know the horror first hand.
There is another band of turntables out there that hold a higher asking price but that still retain a value for money position, pricing their decks at below the standard budget limit (and by that I would suggest that figure being below £200). These ‘sub-budget’ turntables are variable in quality. I’ve reviewed two of them so far: the Dual MTR-75, which was a bit of a mixed bag in terms of build and sonic qualities as well as the Lenco L-3808, which I found to be superb in terms of sound quality from its direct drive. All of these products are built in China, it’s currently the only way to keep costs down below the £200 mark.
This new turntable from Audio-Technica is of the same breed, also built in China and just qualifies for sub-budget status by a single pound.
The belt-driven, two-speed, LP3 is a full automatic turntable, meaning that you can operate the deck without having to touch the arm during play.
The turntable arrives with an AT91R cartridge (set at a 2g downforce) plus lightweight aluminium alloy tube cantilever (a replacement stylus will cost £18), within an attractively red, SME-type, AT-HS3 removable head shell featuring a built-in finger lift. The cartridge is fitted with a conical stylus which means that detail extraction will be compromised a touch from the off. Anyone buying this turntable will be recommended to buy a replacement with an elliptical stylus for an enhanced performance. The cartridge is fitted to a straight tonearm that features a rest for the tonearm but no safety catch in case of accidental knocks. A poor design decision because beginners can be a little clumsy.
The turntable features a built-in phono amplifier. Any phono amplifier is essential to amplify the tiny signals produced by the cartridge. A basic hi-fi amplifier can’t handle the job and so the specialist phono amplifier is asked to complete the task. Once the phono amplifier produces a louder signal, it then passes that to the main amplifier.
A built-in model can be useful for three reasons. Firstly, not all integrated amplifiers include a phono amplifier. In this scenario, you would have to buy one so Audio Technica save you the job in this case. Next, not everyone wants to use a standard hi-fi set-up. With this turntable, you can easily plug the turntable into powered speakers (that includes the amplifier actually within the speaker cabinets). This configuration is ideal for those lacking in space. Lastly, of course, the giveaway phono amplifier is great for those on a very tight budget.
Of course, the Audio Technica phono amplifier is part of the build budget for this turntable and, hence, will be limited in terms of sonic quality. As soon as you can buy yourself a separate, external unit, do so. Internally fitted phono amplifiers also produce electrical noise which hampers sound quality. External models don’t infect a turntable in the same way.
As well as a hinged lid, this turntable also includes a separate switch to allow the operation of a moving magnet cartridge or moving coil cartridge within the turntable. Moving Magnet cartridges are normally cheaper and (there are exceptions) simpler in terms of technology and build. The supplied AT91R is Moving Magnet, for example. Moving Coil cartridges are normally found in relatively high end turntables and are far more expensive to buy (you can buy low cost variants but models actually worth purchasing cost around £250 and upwards). These sensitive cartridges demand high tolerances from their host turntables to be able to perform at their designed level so why on earth this option has been provided within this particular sub-budget turntable is anyone’s guess and confuses the hell out of me. Any user of this turntable should only use a Moving Magnet. Avoid using any and all Moving Coils in the LP3. Such a cartridge will work, if you’re stubborn enough to want to try, but you will not hear the benefits and, even if you do hear some improvements, then the majority of those benefits will be lost to the LP3. Hence, purchasing an MC cartridge for the LP3 doesn’t make economic sense.
Other features include a damped arm lift, die cast aluminium platter, 4.5mm rubber platter mat and an all in weight of 5.2kg.
The front of the plinth provides the On and Off buttons plus Power button. On top of the plinth is the 7” and 12” disc selector for the automatic operation. Around the back is the MM/MC switch, phono or line switch plus RCA sockets and a figure of eight power chord plugging to the built-in power supply. The power block is fitted to the plinth underside. Not a great place, I have to admit, as vibrations from it will infect the delicate cartridge, hampering sound quality.
OK, ok, I’ve delayed the unmasking until now but those of you with eagle eyes will have formed a double take when looking at the LP3 because it is almost exactly like the Dual MTR-75. In fact, the only differences are the cartridge, restyled control buttons on the front, no USB port (as seen on the Dual) and the inclusion of that dreaded MC/MM switch instead along with a slightly different platter mat. The overall build quality feels similarly plastic-like but the Audio Technica has a rather more solid feel to it. It’s actually a lot heavier than the Dual by over 1kg. Audio Technica does report that its turntable features extra damping and so I assume that it is the reason for the extra weight.
I began by playing the Connie Francis original pressing Sings Bacharach and David (MGM) from 1968. The lady herself sings in front of a full orchestra.
I began the test with the LP3 pushing music through its internal phono amplifier. This configuration is ok and perfectly usable and, as such, will get any analogue fan underway in terms of playing vinyl. In critical terms, though, sound was a little indistinct and muffled at the bottom end with a rolled off suite of upper frequencies that hampered detail. As a money saving option, the built-in unit is acceptable and will produce an admirable sound for the price but an upgrade to an external unit is top priority.
Moving on in such a configuration, using an external phono amp and beginning with the lead vocal, despite a bright tone that hung around the various crescendos, Francis did provide lots of energy and vigour and a sense of passion in terms of her delivery. The treble-infused cymbal taps that sat right next to her in the centre of the stereo image were similar unfocused, providing smearing to the upper frequencies. That said, the cymbals were big and bold and were never masked by other frequencies, Audio Technica’s damping application may have helped here.
Although the brass section wasn’t the smoothest I’ve ever heard and strings never really flowed as they should, the orchestra did offer a grand and rather epic staging that provided Francis with a large canvas to paint her words.
The piano was similarly lacking in precision but did offer a sense of musicality. It was always interesting and leant an added atmosphere to the music.
Bass, meanwhile was rather blurry and boomy but it could have been a lot worse. The above-mentioned damping did help in terms of stability which provided a measure of lower frequency control, driving the song steadily along.
Next was a more contemporary pressing and the high energy sounds of Die Werkpiloten via Germany’s Vinyl on Demand label from 2012.
Via this high energy, drum-centric song, the blooming bass and smearing midrange held slightly less sway and importance. The evident musicality of the LP3 rose to a prominence here, allowing the ear to just enjoy the performance and the passion behind the presentation. Yes, the bass guitar was a little masked within the mix and some of the shy synth lines were not picked out particularly but the overall nature of the music was one of emotion and spirit. This was particularly noted from the lead vocal. OK, his voice lacked a sense of subtly and texture but he did throw himself into the song with a robust sense of vitality.
Although there are sonic issues, this low cost turntable provides a wealth of features and, in sub-budget terms, is put together fairly well. The Moving Coil option is a puzzle and there’s no USB option but the automatic play system works perfectly every time and the internal phono amplifier could be a life saver to those users on a budget. More importantly, it’s a valid and recommended choice when you compare it to the Crosleys and Ions of this world. For any beginner to the world of vinyl, the Audio Technica AT-LP3 is a steady front end for any sub-budget hi-fi system.
AUDIO-TECHNICA AT-LP3 TURNTABLE
TO BUY CLICK BELOW:
USA – https://amzn.to/3kLtU9o
EUROPE – https://amzn.to/324YaF2
GOOD: automatic play, easy to use, free phono amp, value for money, musicality
BAD: no tonearm safety latch, pointless moving coil option, bright upper mids, smeary treble. bass lacks detail
Lenco L-3808 turntable
Trichord Dino phono amplifier
Rega Brio-R amplifier
Spendor S3/5R speakers
Tellurium Q cabling
Harmonic Resolution Systems Noise Reduction Components
All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner
Dave hattey30th July 2017 at 3:59 pm
This will bring more young fans into the two channel vinyl love party,and more seasoned listeners back to a comfy dabble price.
Paul Rigby30th July 2017 at 4:02 pm
Gardy Perez30th July 2017 at 6:41 pm
You tried it with an external preamp?
Paul Rigby30th July 2017 at 6:48 pm
Sorry Gard if I didn’t make the text clear enough – my fault – in the Sound Quality action, after the second paragraph, that’s when I used the external amp. I’ll tweak that now.
Richard17th October 2017 at 4:27 pm
How is speed accuracy in this turntable? And I’d be using it primarily for spinning 45s.
Paul Rigby18th October 2017 at 11:14 am
Hi Richard – yep – it’s pretty good. I tested it with software I have here and, considering it’s a low cost unit, the speed is good.
Dan20th October 2017 at 6:10 pm
Thanks for the review!
Can you recommend a stylus upgrade that’s better than the one supplied with the LP3 but not too expensive, relative to the cost of the turntable?
Paul Rigby21st October 2017 at 10:18 am
Hi Dan – I’d recommend this one from Audio-Technica for around £30: https://www.audiotechnicashop.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=110&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI16r7-rCB1wIV7hDTCh1e9gN5EAQYAyABEgIeZvD_BwE
By all means shop around to see if you can find a lower price.
Peter27th October 2017 at 9:42 am
Good morning! Have you also tried this one with better (elliptical) styles (Like the proposed AT95E)?
Paul Rigby27th October 2017 at 11:18 am
Hi Peter – not on this turntable, no. I have tested the cart on other turntables though and it is recommended and will improve the performance over and above the spherical-tipped default cartridge supplied with the LP3.
James14th November 2017 at 11:47 pm
Can I make this clear to all expert and user reviewers of fully automatic turntables, the reason there is no latch on the tonearm is simply because one accidental press on the start button while the latch is in place will leave the owner of such turntables with a broken mechanism, come on guys think before posting this as a con.
Paul Rigby15th November 2017 at 9:54 am
Hi James – I would suppose that there’s a host of possible issues and potential problems whenever a user approaches a turntable…no matter what it’s flavour and drive mechanism. I do wonder at the robustness of any automatic mechanism, though, if it is doomed to fail because a tonearm latch is left on.
Timothy Towler II26th December 2017 at 6:36 am
I’d like to get an external phono amplifier, but am unsure of which product to buy. I wouldn’t want to spend excessively on a low budget turntable. I just cam justify spending more money on an amplifier than the price of the turntable itself.
Paul Rigby26th December 2017 at 1:32 pm
Hi Timothy – if you’re looking at a phono amp for the AT-LP3 then spend no more than £60 on a Pro-Ject Phono Box.
If you can, connect the two with a pair of QED interconnects at £19: https://www.amazon.co.uk/QED-Profile-Audio-Cable-1-m/dp/B004XKHGYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1514295020&sr=1-1&keywords=qed+cable
Nick19th March 2018 at 8:10 am
How would you compare the LP3 with the LP60? Does it justify the jump in the price in regards to sound quality? Am I going to hear a difference between the two? I can afford both but want to know if its worth it.
Paul Rigby19th March 2018 at 3:48 pm
Hi Nick – if sound quality is that important, I would go for a Rega Planar 1. If money is tight and you want a built in phono amp plus USB, I’d plump for the Lenco reviewed here: https://theaudiophileman.com/lenco/.
Josh2nd May 2018 at 4:01 pm
There are marking on the bottom of the unit, one for 45 and one for 33. Can I adjust the speed through those slots? Mine plays a little fast.
Paul Rigby2nd May 2018 at 4:11 pm
Yes you can, Josh – be careful though and only adjust by tiny amounts at a time – check after each tiny tweak.
Colin Bisson9th May 2018 at 10:21 pm
I have a Technics SL D2 with an AT-95e cartridge that is sporadically only playing through one channel and is extremely low. Through trouble shooting it seems it’s a faulty wire with the turntable itself. Instead of taking it apart or finding a repair shop I was going to replace it. Would you recommend the LP-3 as a suitable replacement (with my same cartridge) or will I likely be disappointed in the audio quality? A Rega is out of the budget. Thanks!
Paul Rigby10th May 2018 at 10:22 am
What’s your budget Colin?
Humberto Oliveira1st June 2018 at 3:23 pm
i´m a begginer user, and i just bought the LP3. i connected it to a denon receiver. since it has a built in amp, i connected it directly to the receiver, and its working ok. reading the comments, i dont know if i misunderstood, but you suggested to buy the pro ject phono amp, to upgrade the existing built in phono amp. i was wondering how would that work for me.
thank you very much
Paul Rigby1st June 2018 at 3:32 pm
Hi Humberto – thanks for the question. Your receiver includes a phono amp, built into the chassis. You will have connected to it via the Phono sockets. As you say, this works fine. If you use an external model, just the physical act of separating the phono amp’s electronics from your amp, decreased invasive and masking noise and increases sound quality. In use, you plug your turntable to the external phono amp and plug the external phono amp into the amplifier, as you might a CD player. Hope this helps.
Humberto Oliveira1st June 2018 at 3:57 pm
Hello again Paul,
thank you for your quick reply. it helped a lot. i´m going with the pro ject phono which you suggested previously.
Paul Rigby1st June 2018 at 5:34 pm
Not a problem, Humberto – glad I could be of help
Jason Davies16th June 2018 at 4:25 pm
I’ve got the remnants of an old home cinema system – a Sony strdg820 amp and a couple of Mission m73’s. I was bought one of those Akai £40 sets for crimbo which just doesn’t cut the mustard. Volume is poor so I bought an Edwards MM phono amp not realising it wouldn’t work so now I’m looking at the LP3, the LP120USB, the Roberts RT100 or the Sony PSHX500. Unfortunately this will be a catalogue purchase on interest free credit so although there are probably badly better options I’m restricted to these – any thoughts on which way to turn ?
Paul Rigby16th June 2018 at 4:48 pm
This Lenco sounds better, Jason, to be honest although I’m not immediately sure where you might find it on interest-free. Especially as a lot of outlets would want a higher price tag before credit is applied. : https://theaudiophileman.com/lenco/
If not the Lenco then the Sony and Audio-Technica decks would be next down. The Roberts would be at the bottom of your list.
Anshul10th August 2018 at 8:39 am
I just placed an order for the AT LP3. I have a Onkyo 575e AV receiver which has a phono built in. What would be your recommendation- 1) use phono of AT LP3 and plug it into an aux input of my AV receiver. 2) Use the phono of my AV receiver and bypass the AT LP3 phono.
Paul Rigby10th August 2018 at 9:35 am
Hi Anshul – ideally? Neither 🙂 That said, the best of the worst is the phono amp in the the AV. I would use that. The most sensitive product in your hifi chain is the turntable. Electronic noise from its inbuilt phono amp will create more sound veiling damage there. Next upgrade? An external phono amp. When you get to that point, give me a shout and I’ll help you then.
Anshul20th August 2018 at 8:49 am
Hey Thanks Paul. I went with your suggestion and used my AV phono. sound just about ok and i have to increase my volume quite a bit to hear the sound properly. Also i have issue the rca cable length is pretty small so i cant keep the turntable where i intend to. I was thinking of going for a external phono preamp to better the sound quality and loudness. Also it would help me keep the turntable at a distance of about 5 feet from my amp. would you recommend the -Pro-Ject Phono Box MM DC Phonograph Preamplifier,Black. I saw this in the amazon website and its quire reasonably priced with a good review. I am traveling to USA and can pick it from there. its just that i am not sure whether the power adaptor supplied with it will work in singapore. i have asked you quite a few questions. look forward to your reply
Paul Rigby20th August 2018 at 9:21 am
I would recommend the Pro-Ject, absolutely. An external phono amp is far better in sonic terms than any internal model. As for the power? Let me check with Pro-Ject for you. Be back ASAP.
Paul Rigby20th August 2018 at 10:23 am
Well, that was prompt, here’s Pro-Ject’s reply: “All the modern DC models in the Pro-Ject range run off switch-mode power supplies. So the device should be fine in any territory. Only issue he may find is that the one he buys in the US may only be supplied with a US plug-head. However, if he runs into that situation he will be able to buy a replacement PSU from his local distributor. Ultimately, for convenience, always buy locally. His local distributor can be found here: https://www.project-audio.com/en/find-a-dealer/“
Anshul20th August 2018 at 11:39 am
Ok got it. Thanks. And you think it will improve the sound significantly?
Paul Rigby20th August 2018 at 12:07 pm
Anshul10th October 2018 at 1:17 am
Hi Paul, I am unable to get the project phono box mm at Singapore. I can see an option of project phono box E. The specification look the same at phono box mm. Would you recommend that I buy that instead?
Paul Rigby10th October 2018 at 11:36 am
Hi Anshul – yes, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Anshul3rd November 2018 at 2:37 am
Hi Paul. I got the phono box mm from longdon, unfortunately it worked only for 30mins and then suddenly it stopped working. Not sure if it’s the adaptor or the phono itself. I would appreciate if you could connect me with the project support team for replacement as I wouldn’t be traveling to London anytime soon. Thanks
Paul Rigby3rd November 2018 at 1:30 pm
Hi Anshul – you need to talk to your retail supplier, the place from which your purchased the Phono Box. It could be a faulty unit. If there is a fault with the unit then I’m sure they will replace it if you email or call them. Try this route before looking to contact Pro-Ject, at this stage, because you have consumer rights. Also, please try the obvious checks before you call such as a loose connection/plug, fuse issue, etc. Plug the unit into a different wall socket or, if its currently plugged into a power block, an alternative block. Make sure the issue is with the phono unit and not something else, etc.
Jesse Stokman26th September 2018 at 7:55 pm
In your opinion do you think I should go with this at 429 Aud or a project essential 2 at 359 aud. Just a note that pricing for the lp3 is when not on sale usually when they put it on sale it is 329 aud.
Paul Rigby27th September 2018 at 11:11 am
Hi Jesse – if the extra Audio-Technica features are important (i.e. automatic play, built-in phono amp, etc) then go for that. If sound quality is the priority, then got the the Pro-Ject.
Krzysztof21st October 2018 at 10:28 pm
Hi Jesse. I think so, which one to choose: AT95E or AT95EX 🙂 Which will sound better?
Paul Rigby22nd October 2018 at 8:59 am
Hi Krzysztof – thanks for your note. I haven’t reviewed them together but, in theory, the EX because of its superior quoted frequency response.
Jacek22nd October 2018 at 12:19 am
Welcome. I wonder if the PHONO in Yamaha s501 will sound better than the built-in preamplifier in LP3
Paul Rigby22nd October 2018 at 8:55 am
Hi Jacek, thanks for the question – neither is the preferred option, if the choice is available. An external model is preferred. In terms of the ‘best of the worst’? Yep, I’d go for the Yamaha’s phono option because it puts distance between it and that stylus.
Anshul Tripathi26th November 2018 at 2:23 am
Hey Paul, A question not exactly focussed on your review. You know i had purchased the LP3 and i am ok with the overall sound. If i consider an upgrade anytime in the future if there is a good offer going on which of the following would you recommend as the best in terms of sound quality:
Project Debut Carbom
Rega Planner 1
Paul Rigby26th November 2018 at 10:51 am
Hi Anshul – the Rega.
Sal Putiri17th December 2018 at 3:52 pm
Thanks for your very helpful comments on the AT LP3. The one question i have is – I want to upgrade to the At95E over the stock cartridge/stylus that came with the unit, can i just replace the stylus or do i need to replace the cartridge as well? Thanks
Paul Rigby17th December 2018 at 3:58 pm
Many thanks for your question – you’ll need to change the entire cartridge, Sal.
Simon Nicholl11th January 2019 at 8:53 pm
Can I bother you with a beginner’s question, please?
I take delivery of an LP3 on Monday (I hope), and am I better using the inbuilt phono stage on my Arcam SA20, or should I use a spare NAD PP1 phono stage that I have?
Any advice is welcome!
Paul Rigby13th January 2019 at 2:17 pm
Hi Simon – separate is always better than bundled. That’s the mantra. So yes, please use the NAD. The built-in phono will infect the sound with a veiling electronic noise, otherwise.
Paul Haslam25th March 2019 at 9:44 am
I bought one of these in white. If you put a felt mat on top of the rubber mat it sounds a lot better. Also I moved the cartridge 2mm further back on the headshell. Sounds a lot better
Paul Rigby25th March 2019 at 10:38 am
Good advice Paul, many thanks for that. For anyone reading Paul’s words, don’t forget to use a cartridge alignment gauge to set your own cartridge position.If anyone needs help sourcing one, give me a shout.
Andrei Vasiliu11th August 2020 at 5:16 pm
I have bought a replacement for the stock cartridge, a VM 740 ML. I did not measure the distance from the stylus tip point to the Rubber washer, before I removed the old cartridge, so I do not know if I aligned the new one correctly.
Do you happen to know what is the recommended distance or from where I can find an alignment gauge for AT-LP3?
Thanks in advance!
Paul Rigby12th August 2020 at 10:48 am
Hi Andrei – if you need to set up your cartridge then there’s a host of alignment gauges out there at varying prices. You can download a free example here: https://audio-technica.com.au/latest-news/how-to/align-turntable-cartridge/
David Quaile2nd July 2019 at 2:27 pm
I intend to buy the LP3 turntable. Would the Onkyo Xs 375 receiver be compatible with this unit? I chose this because it is compact and comes complete with speakers. This receiver may need a pre amp. Is this built into the LP3?
Paul Rigby2nd July 2019 at 4:10 pm
Hi David – is that the CS-375? If so, that should be fine. The LP3 has a phono (i.e. pre) amp built into its own chassis so you only need to plug the turntable into the Onkyo and you’re off! 🙂 Read the installation instructions of the LP3 carefully first, though.
David Quaile2nd July 2019 at 7:17 pm
As you may have guessed I am a complete novice I this field. Your reply is much appreciated.
Paul Rigby3rd July 2019 at 10:55 am
Not a problem David and don’t be concerned about the novice thing. We all start somewhere 🙂
Jeff Williams10th July 2019 at 7:38 pm
I have been looking at different websites, article, personal viewpoints on turntables and I am frustrated with the one that say it good and another says it isn’t. I have a limited budget of $300. I have an Onkyo TR-NX809 receiver with phono connections built in. So, I thought I did not need to have a phono stage included with the turntable??? Also, I was looking for something semi-to fully automatic or at least stop when the record has ended playing. I have looked at the Fluance 81, Pro-ject Essential, Denon 300AT-LP3. Was leaning toward the AT-LP3 but now I am not so sure because of the Lenco 3808 you mentioned. Plus, I went to Audio Technica to look up the specs on the AT-LP3 and it has pre amp built in and the cartridge for the LP3 (AT91R) and the website says it has been discontinued?? I just wanted to play my records I haven’t played in over 20 years. I probably will never need Rega Planar 3 or a Fluance 85 turntable. So any suggestions for a guy just wanting to be able to occasionally listen to his old vinyl records?
Paul Rigby11th July 2019 at 10:35 am
Hi Jeff – many thanks for your question. OK, let’s address this phono malarky first. When you put a phono amplifier in a chassis, whether that chassis be a turntable or an amplifier, then you risk electronic contamination from adjacent gear. It’s a sort of high frequency noise which masks sound quality. I’m talking the delicate stuff here. But you’d rather hear that, right? So, if sound quality is paramount, the best option is to buy an external phono amplifier because you isolate that part from everything else and electronic contamination is now basically zero – in that area at least. Also, built-in phono amps are built to a price…a low price. So the quality is never as good as an external model.
Now, internally fitted phono amps are great if you want to save money, space, faffing with cables and all of that kinda stuff. So internal models have their place in the world. The worst place to put one is in a turntable because a turntable is a sensitive piece of engineering. This is where the delicate stylus is trying to grab your music, after all (although turntables with built in phono amps can often connect to external phono amps too – the Lenco is one example of that and that improves sound quality). A better place is that built-in model in your amplifier.
So that’s your choice – in terms of the phono amp. Give me a shout if you’re not clear on that point. Also, tell me – before we move on to turntable – what is your priority? Sound quality? Convenience? Space issues (i.e. you don’t have much footprint space for your hi-fi)? Money? Also, when looking at a turntable, what’s your budget?
Paul Trewick27th August 2019 at 2:25 pm
I have purchased an LP3 and connected to a Q acoustics m2.
However the sound is quiet, nowhere near the volume from the I pod connected through my Pure i20 to the rca jack at the rear of the Qm2.
Why are the volume levels so different and would a pre amp solve the problem?
Paul Rigby27th August 2019 at 3:19 pm
Hi Paul – can you take a couple of pictures of how everything is connected please inc. a close up on the rear of the turntable?
paul2nd September 2019 at 12:36 pm
Thanks for your reply.
I will forward the photos as requested.
Paul Rigby2nd September 2019 at 12:59 pm
Can you show me how everything is connected up ‘live’ at the rear of the Soundbar please? That is, what cables you’ve got in what sockets. While you’re doing that, a few questions. Have you/do you accidentally engage the Mute at any time? Please check. Do you select the correct Source via the remote? Please check that too. IF it’s the wring source, you may only be hearing your turntable leaking across the Source selector. Is the volume up on the Soundbar? It’s possible that other remotes are over-riding the volume, please check any satellite/cable remotes and tweak the volume on there too. Please confirm that cartridge type/mode/number used on your turntable.
paul3rd September 2019 at 3:54 pm
Thank you for your reply.
Since yesterday, I have telephoned Audio Technica who were very helpful and they feel that the turntable line input switch may be faulty.
They have arranged for Richer Sounds in Southampton to replace the LP3.
I will keep you updated.
In the meantime many thanks for all your kind help.
Paul Rigby3rd September 2019 at 3:57 pm
Aha! Glad you found a possible reason, Paul. I didn’t want to mention that until other avenues had been investigated first because a faulty anything is not what you want. I hope all ends well on this score. Please let me know how you get on and, if you still experience issues, I’m here to help 🙂
trewick30th September 2019 at 12:28 pm
Further to our correspondence regarding my LP3 and QM2.
Richer Sounds tested the unit and found no fault.
So, I purchased connectors to attach to an Audioquest Tower 3.5 to RCA copper cable and input to the jack input on the Q Acoustic M2… et voila – success.
The volume is now perfect on all the 4 options on the M2.
I have changed the stylus for an AT VM95E and added a Rega turntable mat and I am now a happy bunny.
Thank you for all your kind assistance.
Paul Rigby30th September 2019 at 1:17 pm
Hurrah! Glad it all worked out for you and thanks for the feedback. You never know, you might help someone else in the future. Thanks.
gerdez4th October 2019 at 5:02 pm
Hi Paul! Thanks for this review and the tips. I bought an LP3 a month ago and I upgraded the default cartridge to a humble elliptical AT-VM95E. I almost fell off my chair, the improvement is that big. I don’t understand why they ship this TT with the cartridge they do… okay, I understand but still 😀
Paul Rigby4th October 2019 at 5:21 pm
My pleasure, gerdez – I think it’s done because conical tips are cheaper so they can keep the price lower. You did the right thing by upgrading so thumbs up!
Jess10th May 2020 at 3:44 pm
What do you think is it worth getting LP-3 in 2020? Cause I want a fully automatic turntable or at least with auto stop option.
Now I have AT-LP60XBT, read lots of negative comments that it will damage the records, so now I am very frustrated and don’t even play my new records. What do you think about lp-60x? Will my records wear out fast fith it?
Paul Rigby10th May 2020 at 5:15 pm
H Jess – no, the turntable won’t destroy your vinyl. Let’s not forget that you have an Audio-Technica cartridge fitted to the 60. It’s a standard model with a spherical tip that might lack a touch of detail and insight but is generally kind to grooves and is very forgiving in terms of tracking (poor tracking can cause issues). The cart design is also pretty decent. Rega uses a variant of it on its Planar 1.
And sure, the build quality and inherent sound quality might not be amazing but it’s not devastating.
I haven’t actually used this deck in anger and it’s been a while since I examined one (the last time was at a hi-fi show) so tell me, can you change the tracking force? That is, is there a movable weight at the rear of the arm? Can something back there be moved or tweaked at all? Reducing that tracking force to around 2.5g would help the sound, opening up the midrange. I think it might be around 3.3-3.5g right now?
Of course, you can improve the sound, sure. And there’s semi-automatics on the market too, if you need them. I can recommend semi-automatics right up to £1,000 so, if you’re up for an upgrade, give me a shout and a budget figure. For now though, don’t worry about the damage thing.
Jess10th May 2020 at 5:55 pm
No you can’t change the tracking force on LP-60X. There is no movable weight just plastic, and yes it says that tracking force is 3.5g which is high as I understand, that’s why I have this fear of playing records on lp-60x. I read on forums people recommend not to play one record more than 1-2 a week.
So that’s why I’ve been trying to find smth with moving tonearm.
Unfortunatelly my budget is like up to £300. Maybe there is smth worth upgrading lol
I’ve been looking at this LP-3 but read that it has some problems with the speed.
Paul Rigby11th May 2020 at 11:15 am
Hi Jess – as I say, don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Don’t upgrade on the damage thing. Only consider an upgrade if you seek improved sonics. And I have had no experience with speed issues on the LP3. That said, rather than a LP3, though, I’d go for this better option. It is semi automatic: https://theaudiophileman.com/rt81-turntable-review-fluance/
Rick Dantini15th May 2020 at 9:40 pm
Appreciate your article. It’s what helped me pick this LP3 turntable as the first one I’ve ever had! I have some questions if you don’t mind.
1) I purchased two speakers from Jamo called the S-803. https://www.jamo.com/products/s-803. These aren’t wireless or bluetooth as you can probably tell. I won’t hear any sound unless I have an amplifier, right? I’m wondering what amplifier you’d recommend at this point? I realize spending a ton of money on an amp with an intro level turntable isn’t necessary, so, I’m good with anything around or under $100.00 I live in the United States if that makes a difference on what type of amps are available.
2) Maybe to avoid buying an amplifier, I am wondering if I can use a speaker/karaoke system that I already own called the LG XBOOM OK55. It’s currently serving as the speaker for the turntable.(https://www.lg.com/us/home-audio/lg-OK55-stereo-shelf-systems) . Do you know of any way that I could still use this along with those Jamo speakers?
Appreciate any help/advice you could give. Thank you!
Paul Rigby16th May 2020 at 11:22 am
Hi Rick, thanks for the question and, hmmm, tricky… Yes, you need an amplifier to get going but $100 is a bit on the low side for a decent amp. If you’re happy to do this, it might be an idea to scour eBay or a similar site to look for a cheap Cambridge Topaz amplifier. These have just been discontinued and so new/old stock might be flowing around at a good price. You might want to check local hifi stores for the same, you might be able to grab one at a good price. The Topaz is a no frills, basic amp but it has a decent spec, comes from a good name and works well.
Graham Taylor24th May 2020 at 11:29 am
Thank you for your review. I feel moved to comment though, because I think you’ve underestimated the significance of this turntable greatly and felt your readers might find my input useful.
I have 3 turntables – a Linn Sondek LP12 with Ittok and Adikt, a Rega Planar 2 (RB220), and a AT LP3. I bought the LP3 for the convenience of an automatic turntable and its ability to return the arm when a record has finished (in case I was working/on a call etc etc). With the Linn I use Naim amplifiers, a Schiit Mani phone stage and Focal Aria speakers. With the LP3 (and P2) I use a Denon M41 DAB mini system, a Project phono box E, and Cambridge Audio S30 sirocco speakers.
I didn’t buy the LP3 expecting anything like ‘audiophile excellence’.
HOW WRONG WAS I?
Of course I can hear a difference between LP12 and LP3. But it’s not huge. And as for the Rega Planar 2, I’d be happy to sell it frankly – a very limited deck with an arm that prohibits tinkering with anti-skate or makes cartridge replacement unnecessarily challenging. And Rega’s own cartridges are pretty ordinary at best, unless you fork out £265 for the Exact (which simply isn’t worth it with a turntable like the Planar 2 in my view). Records regularly skip DESPITE CORRECT SETTINGS (as far as one can set anything with this extremely limited TT).
Anyway, to give the LP3 a 6/10 rating is grossly underestimating its quality, usefulness, ease of use, ease of upgrading and, above all, sound quality which I find to be truly excellent, and surprisingly so. I love using it.
I have replaced the AT91R with an AT95EX (excellent) and most recently, to try it out, the AT VM95C, which is SUPERB (yes, the conical stylus). Tremendous musicality and subconscious toe-tapping aplenty.
PLEASE have another listen – this inexpensive turntable is absolutely FANTASTIC in so many ways.
Paul Rigby25th May 2020 at 9:29 am
I stand by my review and the thoughts within Graham but, nevertheless, we all have different ears and your views are just as valid, of course and I thank you for stating the LP3 case.
Graham Taylor11th June 2020 at 11:41 am
You are a gentleman, and I thoroughly enjoy reading (and watching) your reviews. Thank you.
Paul Rigby11th June 2020 at 11:42 am
That’s very nice of you, Graham. Thank you.
Allen27th November 2020 at 5:31 am
Thanks for the great review Paul! I have an lp3 with nad c320bee and AE301 speakers. I have upgraded my cartridge with AT vm95e. Lately i have started to notice there’s a distortion on 1 or 2 last track of majority of of the album (especially vocal). Is this whats called inner groove distortion? I have realign my cartridge and its sound better, but theres still distortion on the last track. If its true this is an inner groove distortion, how common are these inexpensive entry level turntable to have this problem? Would an external phono preamp help to fix inner groove distortion? I see you recommend project phono box preamp, but i really consider rega fono mini a2d, whats your thought on this?
Paul Rigby30th November 2020 at 3:04 pm
Hi Allen – well, the LP3 is not the best equipped design to handle distortion, to be honest. It is a basic build. I wouldnt throw sticking plasters at it, I’d live with the issue until you’re able to upgrade your turntable.
Megan Drury23rd February 2021 at 4:20 pm
Hello! I have recently purchased the lp3 as a total novice to the world of vinyl. I am replacing a Crosley suitcase player (yikes). I just wondered, if you had any recommendations for speakers for this turntable? as i am struggling to find suggestions. Also, do i have to buy an amp aswell? or will the built in one mean i will get sound from just the turntable and speakers? Thanks.
Paul Rigby24th February 2021 at 10:45 am
Hi Megan – yikes, indeed 🙂 You will need an amplifier of some sort, yes. This can either be a standalone separate box or there are powered speakers out there. These feature the amplifier stuffed inside the speaker. The separate amp offers the better sound but the powered speaker gives you a smaller footprint and convenience. So you’re looking at an amplifier and speakers plus cabling. Alternatively, you need a pair of powered speakers. Have a think about that and get back to me – I’ll need a budget figure from you too.
Megan Drury24th February 2021 at 11:50 am
Hello! thanks for your reply and for the information. I do have issues with space, as I live in a studio flat, so i’m probably looking at a small set up that could fit on a side board. I have quite a tight budget and wasn’t looking to spend more than £300 for now, but i am willing to upgrade to a better set up in the future.
Paul Rigby24th February 2021 at 1:04 pm
In that case, take a look at these powered speakers: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steljes-Subwoofer-Compatible-Bluetooth-wirelessly/dp/B077YLLHQH/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2W4RUMBPHAAD0&dchild=1&keywords=stejles+speakers&qid=1614171708&sprefix=stej%2Caps%2C196&sr=8-3
Or these: https://theaudiophileman.com/yu4-powered-speakers-review-kanto/
Dimitris21st March 2021 at 2:00 pm
Hello Paul. I was wondering whether you could provide any input on the Project Phono Box E. I saw that you suggested it to other users to pair with the LP3, but I can’t seem to find any definitive reviews on it. I understand that it is the budget option of phono pre amps but does it really improve sound quality over the internal preamp at that price range compared to higher end external pre amps that I assume you tested the LP3 with?
For reference, I am using the LP3 with a pair of powered speakers, Edifier 1280T. I am quite pleased overall but I can hear some distortion at times. Not sure if it’s from the internal preamp or the record itself though. Do you think that the Project Phono Box E would improve the sound quality here?
Paul Rigby21st March 2021 at 4:56 pm
Hi Dimitris – it offers good performance for the price. The fact that it’s external, on its own, helps too. Lowering high-frequency noise and micro vibrations. It also balances well with the LP3. I could suggest bigger and better phono amps but the turntable would become the bottleneck in performance terms.
Further sonic improvements can be had from superior powered speakers or – if you have the space and better still – a separate amp and passive speakers.
Dimitrios21st March 2021 at 6:02 pm
Thank you for the reply Paul! I think I will go with the budget budget external option then! Cheers!
Chris14th April 2022 at 9:49 am
I love this site and your reviews – it’s invaluable to me as someone new to hifi. I’ve found an LP3 second hand for £65 which I think is a great deal. However I’m also really tempted by the rega planar 1, which second hand is probably more like £150-200. I have an overall budget of around £400 (possibly stretching to £500) and need everything – turntable, phono, amp, speakers, cables. I’m happy to get everything second hand on eBay etc. What would you recommend for each component that (a) is the best I can get and (b) will allow me to sequentially upgrade as an when I’m in funds?
Thanks so much!!
Paul Rigby14th April 2022 at 4:58 pm
Hi Chris – thanks for your kind words. Because you’re looking at second hand, that’s a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. Prices will vary wildly with age and condition and the seller and how desperate they are to get rid. The source is the most important so sure, the Rega is a good start. I would normally go for a separate phono amp but, because of the budget, I’d look for an amp with a built-in phono amp. Which amp? Cambridge as a brand might be a good point of search. Maybe Q Acoustic 3020 speakers (not 3020i, they are more expensive, the original 3020 model). Let me know how you get on. QED cables are recommended to hook everything up.
Chris15th April 2022 at 8:23 am
Thanks for your quick and helpful reply! Agreed – it’s a a how long is a piece of string question. I think patience is the key (something I’m not good at) as I wait for the right price. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Roberto26th August 2022 at 3:31 pm
Hi Paul, great job.
I have this turntable with an AT-VM95ML, a Klipsch R-28F-II speakers, a IFI Audio ZEN Phono and a yamaha HTR-5230RDS amp.
Sounds good enough for me, but sometimes the right channel doesn’t sound.
Do you know what could happen?
Paul Rigby28th August 2022 at 11:07 am
There could be a host of reasons for that Robert. It’s tough to diagnose the issue at this distance but I would try to isolate the problem. The obvious target is loose connection, dry joint, broken wiring, that kind of thing. Swop the speakers over to see if the issue moves with the speakers, plug the components into different amp inputs, swop the black and red channels on the cabling, check out the connections from the rear of the cart to the arm, if you have another turntable, phono amp, speakers, etc, swop those into the HiFi chain to see if that solves the problem. And so on. Until you suddenly find that you can isolate the issue. Once found then you will know if the issue can be solved by buying new cables, say. Or a repair might be in order of a component.
Roberto23rd September 2022 at 1:25 pm
The problem was in the cartridge. I change the whole cartridge and now sounds great