The MT5 Precision turntable by McIntosh is a work of art. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with it at first sight. Even then, is there more to it than the nice aesthetics? I am sure you also want to find that out. Join me as I thoroughly review the unit to see what else it offers.

McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable Overview

The McIntosh MT5 precision turntable comes with high-quality features to match its hefty price tag. We have a dural-aluminum tonearm, a multi-layered dampened chassis, an eccentric counter, a moving magnet cartridge, and more. A clear, form-fitting dust cover is present, and it helps safeguard the turntable’s moving parts, plus your records. 

MT5 easily integrates with any McIntosh stereo amplifier, so it can be a good addition to complete your two-channel stereo setup. And when it comes to record formats, the deck accommodates all three speeds (33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpms). There are a number of customer reviews for MT5 on Reddit. While some praise it for its elegant design, ease of use, and great sound, a few others are dissatisfied with the cartridge and inconsistent platter speed.

Technical Specifications

Here are the technical specifications of the turntable:

  • Moving magnet cartridge
  • Dural-aluminum tonearm
  • 3-speed (33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpms)
  • Eccentric counterweight
  • Silicon acrylic platter
  • Magnetic air-dampened bearing
  • Multi-layered dampened chassis
  • Fiber optic solid-state illumination
  • Elliptical diamond stylus

At a glance, the turntable looks simple and nice. It is when you closely inspect the features you get to appreciate the meticulous engineering behind this piece. What I love most about the unit is the multi-layered, dampened chassis. It’s solidly crafted and does a good job of minimizing vibrations. 

The eccentric counterweight is another notable addition. It ensures you effectively balance the tonearm so it doesn’t fly around when it’s supposed to be tracking your record groove. There’s an elliptical diamond stylus, which means you have better sound quality. Changing speed is done electronically, which is convenient. Unfortunately, the turntable doesn’t offer Bluetooth connectivity or a USB port for recording vinyl on digital devices.

McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable Drive Mechanism

The MT5 precision turntable features a high-quality belt-drive mechanism that uses a motor-driven pulley system to rotate the record. In this design, the motor is ideally positioned off-center from the platter and is connected to the platter by a belt made of rubber or other elastic material. When the motor spins, it causes the belt to move, transferring the motion to the platter, which then spins the record. 

A turntable with an elastic belt is resistant to vibration thanks to the belt’s ability to absorb shock and minimize any harsh vibrations produced by the motor. Eventually, you are able to get a cleaner sound from your vinyl. However, the belt wears out over time, so be prepared to replace it whenever necessary.  

Is the McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable Automatic or Manual?

This unit is fully manual with no automatic features to help you start or stop playback. You handle everything yourself, which I find deeply fulfilling. I don’t know how to describe it, but I always feel thrilled whenever I have to lift the tonearm and place it on the record. 

And since MT5 lacks an auto-stop feature, you also have to return the tonearm to its resting position manually. I believe manual cueing is a vital part of the vinyl experience, and I commend McIntosh for embracing this in the turntable’s design.

Usability and Portability of McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable

It seems McIntosh had ease of use in mind when creating this turntable. It’s easy to set up and operate. Since the unit comes with the tonearm and the cartridge already installed, it’s just a matter of putting some oil onto the ceramic bearing shaft and setting up the 2-part platter assembly and drive belt. For experienced audiophiles, I don’t think balancing the tonearm and setting the tracking force is a big deal unless it’s their first time.

At 31.5 pounds (14.3kg), MT5 is considered relatively heavy to be moved around frequently. You are better off using it in your home, office, or other ideal stationary setup. Otherwise, you risk damaging some of its delicate components if you move it too much.

McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable Design & Build

I have to admit that the turntable has a chic and sophisticated overall look. The unit’s fiber optic solid-state illumination bathes the platter in a soft, light green glow, adding a visual drama that most competitors lack. 

Overall, MT5 is well-engineered with a rigid base made of stainless steel and alloy, enabling it to dampen vibrations effectively. The controls on the base’s front look like those of McIntosh’s amplifiers, but in this case, they control the power and speed functions.

The silicon acrylic platter is relatively heavy, giving it a flywheel effect that contributes to speed stability. You also have a nicely made dural-aluminum tonearm. The bearings are smooth and precise, and the arm feels it’s built to last. Around the back of the turntable, there are RCA outputs and grounding posts alongside a remote control socket, speed fine-tuners, a 12v DC power socket, and an adjustment dial for the platter light.

Connectivity & Sound Performance of McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable: Amazing, but…

With the MT5 turntable, you have several connectivity options. It features analog RCA outputs, meaning you can connect it to an amplifier or phono preamp for a better sound. Then, there’s a grounding terminal for connecting a ground wire. This decreases any potential hum or interference, so you have clean audio playback. Unfortunately, MT5 doesn’t support Bluetooth connectivity, which can disappoint those who prefer wireless music streaming.

This turntable produces great sound at best. It is firm, bold, and has a hefty bass response and plenty of energy. The tone is also spot-on, with top-end refinement to keep the music enjoyable, even with some less-than-perfect recordings. MT5 sounds surefooted and doesn’t disappoint in delivering dynamic intensity with confidence. Even with a complex rhythm, you can trust the turntable to come through with clarity. However, MT5 can fail to separate instrumental strands for some recordings, but you can solve this by investing in a good-quality cartridge.

Main Technology Perks of McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable

The MT5 Precision turntable boasts several technological perks that contribute to its performance and enable it to function exceptionally well. 

First on the list is the strobe light, which helps the platter move smoothly and at an accurate speed. Next is the pre-installed high-end cartridge. Not only does this feature ease setup, but it also enables the turntable to track grooves accurately and produce great audio quality. 

The integration of a high-quality tonearm is another advantage. Similarly, it ensures smooth tracking and minimizes distortion, which helps maintain the integrity of your records. I can’t forget to mention the belt-drive system. By isolating the platter from vibrations, this system allows quieter operation and enhances the listening experience.


This unit is relatively expensive at $7,500, making it inaccessible for audiophiles on a tight budget.

How to Setup & Use McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable?

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you install the turntable:

  1. Place the turntable on a mechanically stable surface.
  2. Remove the protective mash and put 2 small drops of oil on the top sides of the ceramic vertical bearing shaft.
  3. Place the bottom of the center spindle on the prepared flat surface and carefully lower the inner platter onto the center spindle.
  4. Turn the assembled spindle/inner platter upside down and remove the protective film from the bottom. Then, lower the spindle/inner platter onto the ceramic vertical bearing shaft.
  5. Wear the supplied cloth gloves and install the belt.
  6. Gently lower the outer platter onto the installed spindle/inner platter assembly.
  7. Place the record mat on the platter.
  8. Loosen the knurled knob to help set up the counterweight at the back of the tonearm. Place the counterweight on the arm so its front surface is in the center of the Blue Point No.2 cartridge position marking on the surface at the back of the tonearm. Tighten the knurled knob.
  9. Carefully remove the stylus guard, balance the tonearm, and set the tracking force pressure.
  10. Plug the turntable into a power source using the provided cable and turn it on.
  11. Place the record on the platter and position the tonearm on the surface of the record with the help of the lift lever.
  12. The record will start playing. That’s it!

If you want to get the best performance out of this turntable, first place it far from loudspeakers. This decreases the chance of acoustic feedback and prevents the stylus from skipping. 

Next, always use the lift lever to lower the tonearm onto the record to protect your vinyl from potential damage. For turntables like MT5, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” Its performance can be really affected by dust, so ensure you regularly clean the stylus with a soft brush to maintain sound quality.

Overall Impression About McIntosh MT5 Precision Turntable?

The McIntosh MT5 precision turntable provides premium features that enable it to function effectively and produce excellent sound. It also looks great and can improve the aesthetic appeal of your home or any other place you mount it.


Here is a list of the unit’s advantages:

  • It looks elegant
  • Made of durable materials
  • Produces great sound
  • Easy to set up for experienced audiophiles
  • Plays all 3 speeds


The drawbacks include:

  • No Bluetooth connectivity
  • Expensive

Who Is It For?

This deck is ideal for advanced audiophiles.

Final Verdict

In my opinion, MT5 is a great turntable to have. What’s not to love about its sound, premium features, and stylish look? However, it’s very expensive for the ordinary vinyl enthusiast. Eventually, it comes down to how much you are willing to spend just to have the ultimate vinyl experience. There are cheaper versions that work quite as well, but they may not be as durable and solidly constructed as MT5.