HouseTechGuys Turntables Reviews Pioneer PLX-500 Review

Suppose you are interested in DJing but are still in the beginning stages of learning. If your budget is limited to buying a popular mid-segment Audio-Technica or Technics, this Pioneer PLX-500 review has a worthy alternative. Let me say right away that the manufacturer is Hanpin but under the supervision of Pioneer. So, the quality is not at the highest level, but it is good for a budget segment turntable. In addition, you can modernize the vinyl turntable over time by investing in it. In general, if you choose the PLX-500 as your first mixing device, as a gift for your child interested in DJing, or even take the turntable for home use, it will be well worth the money spent.


Pioneer PLX-500 features

As for an inexpensive record player, the construction is pretty decent. It weighs 27.9 pounds, which means it will be vibration-resistant. This is important in a club environment, where both the speakers and the dance floor create external conditions that are not favorable to the stability of the setup. Weight (and stability) is added by the cast aluminum platter.

The design speaks of belonging to the DJ category. The styling is very reminiscent of the Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP and Technics SL-1200MK7. Light chrome details, including the S-shaped tonearm and buttons, finished with light platter dots, and the presence of features for DJing and backlighting of some elements (red color) – make it easy to operate the turntable in conditions of limited light. The dust cover is completely removable, and it is very convenient when you are scratching or other manipulations.

Of the unpleasant but expected for a budget unit, I don’t like the tonearm bearings. They are unreliable and come apart quite quickly. But this is quite solvable. VTA adjustment was also a bit of a hassle. Most likely, you’ll just have to replace the mat (take a thicker one) because the factory one doesn’t correspond to the parallel placement of the cartridge over the record; the position is too high.


The PLX-500 turntable is the owner of a 3-phase brushless DC motor with direct drive. This is well suited to the needs of DJing. But I won’t lie; you can get a turntable with better data by investing a couple hundred bucks. This motor provides >1.6 kgf・cm of torque, which may not be enough for professional use, but it’s enough for entry-level use. This is not bad data. For the speed at 33⅓ rpm, the acceleration is 1 second.

You have 3 spin speeds, so you can choose any records in the store. It’s great for mixing too. The tonearm is equipped with a silver PC-HS01-S headset (cartridge and stylus included). This is one of those parts that makes a big difference in the sound level, so I would change it. In its original state, the sound isn’t as good as it could be.

A Tempo slider with a pitch range of +/- 8, 16 or 50%. Very easy to operate, smooth, and no clicking at zero. The pitch can be reset with a button. There is also an electronic brake, and changing speeds is also done with buttons.


Pioneer PLX-500 sound

No offense. With the built-in preamplifier, the turntable sounds rather muddy and a bit smeared. You can be satisfied with this sound if you are an inexperienced user. But for the future – replace the cartridge and buy an external phono stage. Just by comparing, you will understand what I mean. Such an upgrade (requiring cost) will give you the detail and layering that you need and that the author had in mind.

Still, the Pioneer PLX-500 is a good start for a budget model. At the beginning of the review, I said that I see it as a great device for your mixing-crazed teenager. But it’s also good for home use if you’re not too picky. Play around with its features, and maybe it will change your life.

Key specs

  • Drive type: direct.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45, 78.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: yes.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: yes.
  • Aux input: no.

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