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Digitise your vinyl with Pioneer’s PLX-500 turntable

  • Pioneer – the Japanese giant makes DJ gear that occasionally crosses over into the domestic market. Case in point: their direct-drive PLX-1000 DJ turntable, by any other name a Technics SL-1200 clone that ultimately proved to be a wallet-saver for those couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stump up the US$4K for Technics’ high-end audiophile SL-1200 reissue.

    The PLX-1000 is also one of the best ‘Super OEMs’ out there. I bought one from my local DJ store and lived with it for almost nine months with my experience aligning closely with that of Steve Guttenberg over at CNET. On build quality alone, the weighty Pioneer makes it extra-tough to return to entry-level offerings from Rega or Pro-Ject.

    One possible challenge for the PLX-1000 in selling REALLY big numbers is that at its price point – US$699 – it lacks the bells and whistles expected by your average mainstreamer or DJ: no cartridge, no phono pre-amplifier and no in-built ADC for digitising your vinyl records over USB.

    Enter the PLX-500. Pioneer’s all new US$350 direct-drive turntable that comes with factory installed cartridge (make/model unknown), defeatable phono pre-amplifier and USB-funnelling ADC for committing your vinyl collection to a hard-drive.

    Check out the promo video for the new model right here:

    What’s the catch from a strictly audiophile perspective? The PLX-500’s motor isn’t “Quartz locked” as per the PLX-1000, it’s servo-controlled, and its RCA cables aren’t detachable.

    At US$349, who’s complaining? (Maybe the sales managers over at Audio Technica and Stanton who offer similarly priced/spec-d units).

    Worth a side note is the sound quality of the PLX-500’s needle-drops; they will not only depend on the quality of the cartridge (which can be swapped out) but also the in-built phono-pre-amplifier and ADC. The irony is that many a modern vinyl release is pressed to wax from a hi-res digital file for which we’re not always guaranteed a master with lower dynamic range compression.

    No mind. Even if a large portion of records are pressed from a digital source, at least it’s lossless.

    The PLX-500’s finest feature is its colour optioning: black or white – a sound aesthetic match for the Devialet Phantom when Pioneer begin shipping the PLX-500 in September.

    Further information: Pioneer DJ



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    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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