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Oh wow! Thank you everyone for all the thorough replies! This is the last place I thought I would get help in improving my setup! To specify more, the at-lp120 does in fact have a switch that allows me to bypass its internal preamp. When I do this, the sound is very clear and non fatiguing with very tight spunding bass. The only problem with this is that it does not go loud enough. The maximum volume while bypassing the pre amp is comparable to the volume level of elevator music. I believe that this is due to the audioengine a5+ internal amp not being able to power the turntable or something to that degree. When I put the switch back to using the turntables internal preamp, the music could go loud enough to break the speakers, but it sounds much more sluggish in quality with everything from a loose bass to not as clear sounding highs and mids. I do not use the USB portion of the turntable and do not plan on it anytime soon. It is connected straight to the speakers for now. I am looking for some sort of device that I can use to improve the sound but I am by no means a professional so I am not exactly sure what I need. Thank you again for all the responses! I just got off work and it blew my mind how helpful everyone is being!
You need a phono preamp. There are several good options around $100 but I wouldn't go too much below that for quality. Pro-ject phono box is a popular choice at this price point, but I have never heard it. Speaking of other things I have yet to hear... Anyone get a shipping notice today?