Product review: Pioneer PLX 500 DJ Turntable

Pioneer have been making high quality DJ equipment for years, ranging from reasonable to astronomically priced and have a wide heritage to showcase this. Luckily if you’re someone like me who’s interested in jumping on the Pioneer bandwagon but lack massive amounts of funding to do so then the PLX500 direct drive turntable could be just for you…

Vinyl is a hot commodity nowadays but sometimes you don’t just want to listen to music: you want to be the music, which is where the Pioneer PLX500 comes in. Looking like a junior version of the established PLX1000 (which in turn emulates the design of the iconic Technics SL1200), it looks and feels as robust as you’d want this kind of unit to be, which is great as you can spend a bit less on your first foray into DJing and not worry about breaking it with clumsy scribbling as you get to grips. This does mean that it’s quite bulky so if you are looking at a turntable just for playing vinyl and are concerned with aesthetics, then this may not be what you’re after.

From an ability point of view it has everything you could need as a beginner, with a 3 phase brushless motor with electronic brake allowing for smooth transitions between 33/45/78 rpm settings, giving you a great amount of control, torque and precision when it comes to mixing and practising your technique. It has an S-shaped tone arm with a detachable head shell, giving you greater flexibility if you have a preferred needle/cartridge setup. It also has height and weight adjustments via the counter weight that when combined with the anti-skating dial means you can set this turntable up to match any style of DJing. Rounding off the physical abilities is the +8/-8 tempo control, and a built in light that allows you to see the record’s speed at a glance in low light settings.

It not only has a multitude of physical abilities, but it also has a pretty decent presence when it comes to software that it can be linked up to. Like many other turntables, it has a USB out so you can hook it directly into your computer and digitise your collection of records in case anything should ever happen to them or if you want to transfer the audio into a more portable device.  You can also use this functionality to take your records and add them into Pioneer’s own Rekordbox software which allows you to satisfy all your PC DJ needs and has an excellent cross compatibility with Pioneer’s line of CDJs and digital players. The multi-faceted nature of the software when used with the deck is an excellent addition.

Connection wise, it’s pretty standard with the aforementioned USB out and a hardwired RCA cable for running into whichever amp or mixer you may find yourself with. It also a phono stage built into it, so there’s no need for an external pre-amp. However, if you do find yourself with a better external pre-amp or phono stage built into your amp/mixer you can always turn off the internal phono stage.

In conclusion, the Pioneer PLX500 may not be the greatest and grandest of the DJ decks, but when you consider how much capability you get for the price, then it’s definitely something to consider if you’re looking to get into the world of DJing. It’s also great for established DJs looking for reasonably priced kit that’ll suit their needs, or just someone who wants a nice turntable for the house and isn’t fussed that it’s a bit bigger than some others.

Click to find out more about the Pioneer PLX500.

Author: Hal, Plymouth store

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